Tensioning with the TravelKate

Tiger Maple TravelKate ready for plying with two bobbins.

Tiger Maple TravelKate ready for plying with two bobbins.

Many spinners prefer to have a little tension while plying yarn to provide more consistent results and less chance of tangling. Tensioning with the TravelKate is simple and provides control for any combination of bobbins, whether you are using just one bobbin, two, three or all four.

Two tension pegs are included with your TravelKate and there are two corresponding tensioning holes for them near the upper edge of the lid*. These are positioned between pairs of spindle holes as the most controllable results come from tensioning just one or two bobbins per peg. If you are plying from three or four bobbins, two tensioning loops will allow more consistency than one longer loop following a serpentine path.

The following photos detail how to tension your bobbins with the TravelKate and the included tensioning pegs. You will need some scrap yarn and some thread. Click to enlarge any image.
 

* TravelKates compatible with the larger Hansen bobbins have the tension pegs located near the hinge.
An example is shown at the bottom of the Available Woods page in Hickory.
 

Use  some light twine to help thread your tensioning yarn.

Use some light twine to help thread your tensioning yarn.

Tension yarn pulled through the peg

Tension yarn pulled through a tension peg.

To set the tension, first pass a loop of yarn through the hole in one of the tension pegs. The holes in the pegs are sized to provide a smooth but snug fit for two strands of yarn so the tension peg does not accidentally slip. Because of this, it is easiest to use a crochet hook or a loop of heavy thread or light twine to help pull the heavier yarn through the hole.

Pull a moderate sized loop through the tension peg.

Pull a moderate sized loop through the tension peg.

Wrap the yarn around your bobbins.

Wrap the yarn around your bobbins.

Once you have threaded the yarn through the peg, pull a loop approximately 10~12 inches long to pass around your bobbins. Now loop the yarn around the tension groove of one or two bobbins on the spindles and slide the peg to give some slack. Holding both ends of the tensioning loop and sliding the peg to approximately the position shown in the right image above is a good place to start.

Twist the yarn around the peg ...

Twist the yarn a few times around the peg …

... then insert lightly into the hole.

… and then insert lightly into the tensioning hole.

Put a couple wraps of yarn on the peg then lightly press it into the tension hole nearest your bobbins. Very little friction is required. Pushing the pegs in too hard will prematurely wear both the pegs and their holes, making adjustments more difficult. We also recommend first loosening the peg in the hole before adjusting the tension to give a finer touch.


Click on any of these images for a larger view to clarify any questions you might have.

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