Over the last few months I have been filling every bobbin the house with beautifully spun singles. My plying paranoia has come to a head. It's not like I can't ply. And I love knitting with my handspun yarn, but the process of plying had been all arms and legs, knots, snags, and tangles. I've read books, watched DVDs, tried various kate and wheel positions, and put bobbins in bowls half was across the room; before arriving at the conclusion that I was just a clutts. Plying was always going to be painful, and needed to be put off as long as possible.
Last week I decided to treat myself to a Anything But Lazy Kate. It was a last ditch thing. The Kate is made out of untreated maple, so I spent a few days oiling the thing to make it pretty and durable. Then yesterday we went for a test drive with some beautiful Romney. Oh my word, the whole process was actually fun. There were no twist backs or tangles. The yarn fed off the bobbins evenly, and didn't jump about or spin back. And it was easy to pop on a new bobbin and thread up with one hand. Phew!
The difference between this Kate and the others, is that there are three methods for tensioning the bobbins, and you can choose which ever one works best for you at the time. it also packs up into a handy dandy little box. There is an excellent explaination of all the workings over at the Nancy's Knit Knacks website if you are interested.
Meanwhile, I'm off the herd all those disperate bobbins together. And contemplate what to do with the wheel I bought especially to make plying easier ...