Thursday, June 28, 2012

An Ode to Plying

O Plying! How wonderful you are in the process of spinning!
To at last see the wonderful colors blend together as they endlessly wrap around each other in fibrous union.
To feel the wooly thickness of the two strands of yarn as they are drawn through your fingers and onto the spindle.
How simple this is and yet, it is the most enjoyable, for...

...okay, so I definitely didn't win first place in the poetry contest, but you get the idea that I love plying! The process of taking multiple strands and twisting them together is my favorite part because this is where you decide how your yarn will turn out! Especially with multicolored roving, you decide whether you want to ply it on itself in sections so each color is separate (such as with self striping yarn) (see left) or whether you want to have it all blended together (my more favorite option) (see right): 

* Note: Both of these were made from the same roving

Now one often hears how many ply a yarn is. The one on the left is 3 ply and was plied in the Navajo method in order to keep all the colors together where as the one on the right is 2 ply and was was plied just on itself in a random color order. I personally like how the colors are all blended together in the second one and that's why I most often choose this way of plying when plying yarn on itself.

You can also ply yarn with other threads such as my fairy pond yarn I made a few weeks ago. For that one (in case you haven't read it) I plied the spun strand with a metallic thread that I had also strung beads on:

 This is also a great way to play, however it does take longer and is a little more tedious than the carefree plying mentioned in my ode.

And now after my short plying tangent, I have some pictures of the little project I was working on this past week. When I visited the fiber shop last, I got a batt to spin. Normally these are sheets of fiber that have been mixed with different colors, fiber types, and sometimes sparkly extras and are often used in felting, but can make great yarns when spun too! The batt I had was blue, white, purple, a little green, with some sparkly strings carded in.

(Okay, for another tangent to distract from my work this week, The device that creates these wonderfully mixed batts are known as drum carders and are totally awesome):

*Photo from the Ashford companies website

(Anyway, back to the featured project of the week...) ;)

The first step after you spin the fiber is taking it off the bobbin and winding it into a ball so you can have access to both ends, thus the genius of a ball winder: 

**See the end for notes on the cat!

This awesome contraption winds a ball very quickly and then the whole thing slides off the top so there is a ball that has a center and outside string open (much like the skeins at the store, only the inside one is much easier to find!!)

And now, a picture to illustrate the fun of plying!

I love watching the different color combinations wrap around each other as I ply like the dark blue and light blue... Something so visually pleasing about all the colors! Maybe that is why I have such a fascination with spinning... that or its just really awesome to take a pile of fluff and turn it into string you can knit into a scarf!

Anyway, here is the finished yarn!

I have not yet come up with a name, but if you have any suggestions feel free to comment below! What is your favorite part of your craft? Is there a certain step that is more enjoyable than the others? Tell me your story in the comments! :)

**The cat seen in the picture above is one of my four rescue cats that we have! This one, Biscuit, is the first and he is the most friendly and sociable cat I have ever had! He loves to watch any of us knit, crochet, or spin and has incredible self control when around yarn and wool compared to the other cats... Since he is so friendly, he is often the recipient of little knitted or crochet items such as this fez:


  1. I just got a Ladybug! Your yarn looks beautiful, can't wait to see what else you create.
    xo Julie
    ♥Julie Rose Sews♥

  2. Oh my gosh, a cat in a fez. Hahahah this made my day!

  3. Thank you Julie Rose! And Biscuit is glad you enjoy his fez,Amanda! (because he sure doesn't!) :)