Spinzilla Series: Alternate bobbin storage, alternate kate options

Spinzilla is upon us.

And this ‘monster’ of a spinning event has an gigantic appetite — for bobbins.

Teams competing in Spinzilla have one major goal in mind — to spin as many yards of singles as possible in one week. That leaves little time for plying. And that leaves a lot of fibre on our bobbins.

Or maybe you are spinning on a spindle? In that case, there is no way for you to just ‘replace a bobbin’.

So where can we put all these singles? Here are a few simple storage ideas:

Tennis balls

Tennis Balls & Felted Wool Balls (photo by Grace Verhagen)

Tennis Balls & Felted Wool Balls (photo by Grace Verhagen)

These can be purchased in a variety of sizes from any large pet store. They are very light, so they will not put a strain on your single while you are plying from them. Their felted surface holds the fibre in place quite well while you are transfering your single from bobbin to the ball.

To use: Loosen the tension from your bobbin (if it is still in place on your wheel). Then start wrapping your single around the ball. Easy as pie!

Felted balls

These can be used exactly the same as a tennis ball, but they have a nice homemade touch.

To make: Take a handful of non—superwash wool fibre, and dampen it with soapy hot water. Roll it between your palms for a few minutes until it starts to form a ball. Add more fibre and/or soapy water until it is the size and shape you desire!

Paper tubes

Storage bobbin idea, an empty toilet paper roll (photo by Grace Verhagen)

Storage bobbin idea, an empty toilet paper roll (photo by Grace Verhagen)

These can be made of any cardboard tube you have around house, such as from the inside of a roll of wrapping paper or toilet paper.

To make: Cut a small slit into one end of the tube, about a half inch long. To use: Place one end of you single into this slit, and continue to wrap your single around the tube. Do not overfill; you may have to use several of these paper tubes to hold one bobbin’s worth of single. The upside to using this technique instead of a tennis or felt ball is you can place this tube on a lazy kate instead of having it ‘roam free’ while you are plying.

Plastic straws

Paper tubes and straws on spindle shaft (photo by Grace Verhagen)

Paper tubes and straws on spindle shaft (photo by Grace Verhagen)

If you are spinning on a spindle, try to find plastic straws that are the right size to place on the shaft of your spindle before you start spinning (If your spindle shaft is thick, consider using the larger straws meant for slushy drinks or bubble tea). Then when your spindle becomes full, you can simply remove the straw with singles from the shaft. You are now free to continue spinning, and you can put that straw on a lazy kate for future plying! If you can’t find straws that are the right size for your spindle, you also create paper tubes to fit over your spindle shaft.

Storage bobbins

These commercially—made options are not to be forgotten about either! Weavers use small plastic storage bobbins to hold little amounts of yarn while they work, but you can purchase bigger ones for holding larger amounts of fibre. If you are planning on spinning for large projects in the future, such as sweaters, or have a speciality wheel with a limited amount of real bobbins, making the investment in these real bobbins might be a more logical option for you.

So we have created all these singles and we are ready to ply… but what if we don’t have a lazy kate?

Shoebox and Sticks

Make-shift lazy kate from a shoebox and knitting needles (photo by Grace Verhagen)

Make-shift lazy kate from a shoebox and knitting needles (photo by Grace Verhagen)

An old shoebox can be converted to an lazy kate with the help of a few knitting needles! Punch matching holes into either side of shoe box (see photo above). Insert knitting needles into the holes of your shoebox and place your “bobbins” on them.

Yarn bowl

This is a great remedy to keep your single—wrapped tennis balls from escaping from you! Simply place them in a large bowl, a sturdy bag or basket (with smooth edges). They can bounce around freely, but they will not roll around the room. If you are plying from more than one ball, place each ball in it’s own container to ensure they do not tangle together.

Do you know of other creative ways of storing your singles? Have you discovered another innovative way to create a lazy kate! Please share it with us!

  • Jenn Wisbeck

    For the paper tubes, I often find I can wind my singles on my ball winder, then slip them off right on to a paper tube.

    (not a good idea for very delicate singles though)

    • http://blog.sweetgeorgiayarns.com/ SweetGeorgia

      Good idea! Or you can also wrap paper around the core of the ball winder before you wind your ball, then the paper tube comes off together with your freshly wound ball!

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