About TravelKate

The TravelKate is a new spin on the traditional lazy kate. Ply your hand-spun yarn from one to four bobbins using this unique fiber arts accessory. The TravelKate folds for compact storage and travel, and sets up quickly for use in a few seconds. With enough heft for stability while plying, the TravelKate is also compact and light enough to take with you.

TravelKate in American Cherry

TravelKate in American Cherry


Each TravelKate is handmade by Thayer Syme from carefully selected hardwood and finished with traditional hand-rubbed tung oil to bring out its natural beauty and luster.

The innovative TravelKate latches closed, securing its contents and accessories. Releasing the latches allows you to unfold your TravelKate for use, revealing four hand-polished, solid brass spindles individually cradled to prevent scarring.

A larger recessed compartment provides storage for the included hardwood tension pegs, along with other notions of your choosing such as a favorite pair of folding scissors or spare orifice hook.

The spindle angle allows plying without tension and many users find that to their liking. If you prefer additional resistance, the tension pegs allow you to quickly and easily set any tension you desire. Low friction nylon washers protect your TravelKate and bobbins from undue wear in use.

Once through plying, your TravelKate quickly packs until your next session.

The TravelKate Story

Inspiration for the TravelKate came as gift suggestion from my wife Anne several years ago, exactly one month before Christmas Eve. She is an avid knitter but was new to spinning at the time and needed a lazy kate for plying yarn. Naturally I wanted to create a unique gift for her that was both functional and more appealing than just a simple piece of wood drilled for the spindles.

Annie's Original Oak TravelKate

Annie’s Original TravelKate in Red Oak

I made a few sketches over the next several days before adjourning to the workshop for an effort I could only hope would be well received. It’s a big risk, the self-designed Christmas present. You never know if you have met with success until it is much too late to save the day.

I did finish her present “well” before Santa came to visit, despite waiting a little late in the game. We boarded a plane on Christmas Eve to be with Anne’s family that year and just the day before I had overnighted her gift to prevent its premature reveal during our TSA screening.

As per usual, FedEx delivered on their promise and Christmas morning met Anne with polished brass, glowing red oak and the faint essence of hand rubbed tung oil. Much to her delight and my relief, that very first TravelKate exceeded all her expectations. And yes it did shed its piquant bouquet within a day or two.

The original TravelKate has since provided years of reliable service and is now available to the rest of the spinning community.

~Thayer

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