A lot of times I’ll be at a guild meeting or on a spinning forum and someone will show a singles they’ve spun and ask, “Should I ply this?”
Each time I cringe a little bit inside. Why? Because the time to decide whether you want to ply your yarn is before you start spinning your singles.
The singles I spin for plying is not the same singles I spin to stand on its own as a singles.
Behold. Here are three skeins I spun. Each one started as 4oz of 75% BFL/25% tussah silk combed top in the Kandinsky colorway. (Just to remind you that you have options! You can get completely different looking yarn depending on how you spin and ply!)
These two bobbins both hold singles. But the one on the right is the singles I spun to be a singles. The one on the left is the one I spun to be Navajo plied. Each bobbin contains 4oz, but the one on the right is much loftier.
When I spin my singles, I’m spinning with intention. Not like some people who know exactly what project the yarn will be used in and how many wraps per inch the yarn should have, and several other details, since for me the yarn is often the finished product, but I’m thinking about what I want the yarn to be like from the beginning. Do I want it to be a singles? A 2 ply? A Navajo ply? So I spin the singles accordingly.
At its very simplest, here’s how I spin and ply:
- Singles: spin using largest whorl
- 2 ply: spin and ply using smallest whorl
- Navajo ply: spin using smallest whorl, ply using largest whorl
Here are the same two bobbins after I Navajo plied. You can see the yarn on the left got loftier after Navajo plying, but it’s still not as lofty as the singles on the right.
If you’re doing Spinzilla this year, you can count your extra spinning involved in plying. For example, 100 yards of a 2 ply yarn counts as 300 yards (200 yards of singles + 100 yards of plying). 100 yards of a Navajo ply yarn counts as 400 yards (300 yards of singles + 100 yards of plying). So you can spin spin spin and ply to your heart’s content, and it will all count!
Just a reminder, Spinzilla team registration is open until September 22, and it’s September already! (I blinked and missed August. Did you too?) I hope you’ll join us in Team Happy Fuzzy Yarn Spinners!