The adventure continues. (Adventure: Dangerous or, as in this case, uncertain undertaking which is much better experienced in retrospect than in real time.)
It has actually not been all that bad. I set up my antique clock reel and slipped the bobbin of mostly-unplied singles off the spindle, and rested it a nice round bowl. I fastened the end of the yarn to the little handle on one of the spokes, separated the plies, and carefully began to reel. (I see from the picture that I should have moved some of those pillows!)
The trickiest part was getting just the right tension, because the clock reel spins quite freely. Then there were about three or four places where one or the other of the plies broke. I knotted those and continued, since I had few other options at that point. I expect I will be sorry about the knots at some point! The most annoying part was untangling those fine rogue fibers that had decided to wrap around their fellow ply and didn’t want to let go. I think that behavior also contributed to the breakage, and I had to do some convincing a few times to separate them.
There were a couple of times that twirling in the bowl just wasn’t enough to undo the remaining twist, so I threw a quick half-hitch around the bobbin whorl and let it hang – sort of like a spindle in reverse.
But now I have two separate singles on the reel, and they didn’t get destroyed in the process. I am not particularly anxious to get on with the next step (reeling them back onto separate bobbins), but once I am finished with that, I can get back to normal spinning!