These simple-looking spools are part of a larger tool – a spinning wheel – used to spin sheep, alpaca, rabbit and other natural fiber (more experienced folks can even spin dog and cat hair!) into yarn. Despite its simple design, a spinning wheel has many moving parts. The bobbin, which collects single strands of twisted fiber, is especially key to the yarn-making process.

If you’re making double-ply yarn, you’ll need three bobbins. The first two each fill up with a single strand of twisted fiber (like thread being twisted around a spool). The third twists those single-strand bobbins into a double-ply yarn.

For this Louet wheel, a “Lazy Kate” is an extra wooden attachment with a rod that holds extra bobbins and allows them to spin easily. The Kate allows the person spinning to pull the strands through the wheel onto the third bobbin to complete a double-ply yarn.