Part Two: Plying

Plying consists of spinning two or more strands together.  It’s important to ply in the opposite direction that the fiber was spun.  This lets the spun singles untwist slightly and helps them grab onto each other.  I like to ply three strands together.  Think back to your high school geometry.  Remember…three points equal a plane.  Irregularities in the width of the singles disappear and the result is a nice round strand.

Plying
Plying
This is what happens if you ply in the same direction you spun!  What a mess!
This is what happens if you ply in the same direction you spun! What a mess!
Yeah!  Three bobbins full of 3-ply yarn.
Yeah! Three bobbins full of 3-ply yarn.

But wait!  The yarn is not ready to use yet.  You have to set the twist so it won’t try to untwist.

First I wind the plyed yarn onto the swift.
First I wind the plyed yarn onto the swift.
Then I tie the yarn in several places with string in a figure eight. This keeps the yarn in a big hank for the next step.
Here’s the 3-ply yarn off the swift.  The amount of active twist is almost neutral.
Here’s the 3-ply yarn off the swift. The amount of active twist is almost neutral.
This hank of single ply yarn has a lot of active twist!
This hank of single ply yarn has a lot of active twist!

Part three of this post will show you the secrets of getting the yarn to behave!

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