Four Plying Out Loud!


A certain someone gave me a wonderful little book recently on spinning.

This is a book one can read in a day but I have a feeling I'll be reading it a few times more, to really absorb what's inside. There are two techniques in particular that I've been meaning to try but haven't. The first, is the spinning of the spindle up or down one's thigh. It's not a particularly hard or scary prospect, I just never bothered trying.

Well, I'm here to tell you that if you feel hampered and slowed by spindle spinning, this is the way to go. I haven't spun much because I've been frustrated that I can't get as much spin as I can draft before the spindle hits the floor. Instead, I would spin, draft, spin again to get enough twist in my yarn. That bores me. It's probably why I find plying a bit of a bore too. It's a lot of spinning the spindle, but not much else.

Launching the spindle off my thigh, though, allows me to get more spin than a flick of the wrist has ever afforded me. I have had to get my bearings, though. Too much spin and the spindle goes a bit out of control, too little and the spindle goes off balance. But, like Goldilocks, I think I've found the right method for my little 0.9 ounce Golding.

This leads me to the second technique I've wanted to try; this one for an entirely different reason. Since starting the whole spinning endeavor, I've been using a standard Andean ply which gives me a nice little two ply yarn. This has worked great and since I prefer a rather fine weight yarn and I'm not a huge fan of singles, I get most of what I need out of this method. However, I'd always wondered if I couldn't just use the same method to ply the two ply against itself. I'd been meaning to try, but never had, because I worried that with all the time spent spinning my singles and plying them, I might bungle the whole thing and be left with garbage.

Well, take a gander:

It's a four ply, approximately worsted weight yarn, spun with some of my Almost Solid samples from Spunky Eclectic. If you are wondering, that colorway is "Redwood."

The technique is outlined in the book and it gave me the confidence to proceed with gusto.

This probably won't replace my usual two ply yarn, but it's a nice change. The four plies means that small inconsistencies in spinning, don't really show and the texture is delightful.

As a side note, I've been plying my hair for years. I used to wind my hair in the same way and then throw it into a bun which produced the most gorgeous woven effect.
If you have very long hair, you might want to give it a try. Put your hair into a ponytail, separate into 4 even sections. Take two adjacent sections, twist both in one direction and around each other in the other direction. Make sure you twist them around each other much more than you twist them individually so you have an over twisted ply. Secure with a small elastic. Repeat with the other two sections making sure to match the twists so they are both going in the same direction. Secure with a small elastic. Now twist the two plies together, remove both small elastics and replace with a single elastic over all the ends. Twist into a coil around the base of the ponytail and secure with a few bobby pins. You won’t need many because all the plies hold themselves in place so the bobby pins are more to secure the shape of the bun.

Panda wants to know when this turned into a beauty advice column.


i didn't use a spindle for that long before i got a wheel but i started out rolling it down my thigh. i never drafted it while it was spinning, i'd just park it between my feet and let the spin travel up to as high as my arms could reach before wrapping it onto the spindle and repeating. its cool you've got new techniques to try out. that 4 ply looks awesome!

I think anytime Panda is involved, it could be considered a beauty advice column. ;)

I'm so glad you like the book. I'd been coveting it since I started spinning and Nonnahs gifted me a copy on my birthday. I just knew you had to have one, too. I think Nonnahs will need a copy herself when she's ready to spin...

I love the beauty advice, but, true to form, I'm not sure I get it completely. I can hypotenize, but when it comes to hair and makeup, I'm lost. You'll have to help me out. Well, maybe not. Last time you did my hair we ended up doing Das Monstermash.

This post makes me want to learn to spin! Spinning along your thigh is also the way many beginners are taught to spin, right?

I think you should show us a picture of your plied hair. Panda looks so content. :)

Ah, cabled yarn! It looks fabulous. As does Panda.

Sure Panda, easy for you to say. You are the most gorgeous pookie ever!

Every time you post a photo of that Redwood stuff, I am so tempted to buy some... *sigh* as if I didn't have enough fiber already.

Cabled yarns are great for textured knits. They feel so wonderful and crisp.

PS I loved the pictorial flashback!

That's only because Panda is such a cutie she doesn't need beauty advice.

Must. Have. That. Book.

Wow :-)

Tell Panda that with her in it, it couldn't help but be a beauty column! ;)

Gee thanks. Just a few months after I cut my hair I get this great beauty advice!

But your 4-ply yarn is so nice. I have been working (slowly) at the spinning thing and I find that it's a nice thing to do when I don't feel like knitting...I hope I can be as good as you someday soon!

I'm so curious as to this technique. I just started learning to spin this summer on a drop spindle. Can you explain? Plus, your four ply yarns looks great. You spin so evenly.

That looks great. The mind boggles at the thigh flip thing.

Your handspun yarn looks really good! (even and in yummy colors!)

You mentioned you use the 'Andean' method to ply.. I'm wondering if you meant the method where the single is wound into a ball, and plied from both ends? I've been trying to find out what is 'Andean plying' but all I can find is 'navajo(?) plying' online..

Will definitely try the 'hair-plying' someday soon. ;)

You are definitely creative girl, right up to your hairstyle. I like the idea of braiding hair like that and will definitely try it with my own hairstyle. I suppose it's more of a wrapping of the hair, rather than a braid. Whatever the case, it sounds beautiful, and having seen pictures before of your hairstyle, I do think it's a great style creator.

p.s. Panda is always adorable.

*hugs* to you both.

That yarn is gorgeous!! At first I thought you had done a cable ply (until I continued reading). I'm going to have to try the "plying" technique with my hair.

Just posting for the first time, I love your 4 ply! Beautiful colors! I just did my first 4 ply as well, and I've been spinning for about 5 years now!

I'm loving following your progress with the spinning, and though I have a wheel (with another on the way) I do most of my spinning on my spindles as well.

Thanks for sharing!


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This page contains a single entry by Marnie published on June 21, 2006 3:45 AM.

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