Spindle Spinning with Interchangeable Shafts

PDXKnitterati (aka Michele) asked in the comments how I ply my yarn on my spindles. She does chain-plying, which is a great method to get a 3-ply yarn without any equipment. BTW, check out her website, she is teaching some fabulous classes at Vogue Knitting Live in Columbus, OH in November. I got to take some of her classes at a knitting guild retreat, and she is lovely and skilled, and a great listener too! But, back to her great question.

Now, I do have a “bouquet” of spindles that I have acquired over the years, from fine lace weight versions to larger wagon wheel ones:

But the ones I use the most are my KCL Woods interchangeable spindles. Ken Ledbetter creates beautiful spindles where you can screw on and off the shafts at your pleasure. I have three spindle tops and 7 shafts at the moment. I just ordered more shafts separately because you can do that now!

Why is this an advantage? Well, using these kinds of spindles means that you never have to wind off your single’s cop to another place before spinning more. You can keep going and spin all the the fiber at once! A lot of time is saved.

In this case, I used two different spindle shafts that are very close in weight, so there was no big difference in how they spun on the same spindle top. That was lucky!

I tried some makeshift lazy kate versions for the spindle shafts that did not work:

Looks are deceiving, this was a mess!

The best thing to speed every thing up was what I bought from Ken a few years ago: the portable spindle lazy kate. As you can see, it can hold as many as six spindle shafts. I’ve only done three at a time when I spun some fine sock yarn as a 3-ply. Here’s the 2-ply that I am current spinning, which is more typical for me.

Please note that the spindle I am plying on is a very very basic Schact spindle that I got when I took my very first spindle class with Brooke Sines long ago at a knitting store now closed. Definitely gotten my money’s worth out of it!

This is a way better set-up than trying to use shoe-boxes and other homemade devices. The yarn guide unscrews and the whole thing fits into a shoebox for easy packing and transport.

I don’t see any of these lazy kates listed on Ken’s website, so if you’re interested I’d email him to see if he’d do a custom order.

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