Well, here we are – the polworth I showed you in Spinning Polworth to Navajo Ply is all spun and wound on my idea of a bobbin – an empty toilet paper roll that’s skewered on a chopstick and hung in a box. The poor girl’s Lazy Kate. Next time, however, I’ll wind on a paper towel roll rather than a toilet paper roll and cut it to about the size of the box. When the roll is so much smaller, the singles fall off the side and wrap tightly around the chopstick. Then they don’t feed freely. Grrrr.
Navajo Plying is also sometimes called chain plying, which makes sense since it’s nothing more than pulling your singles through a loop to make a new loop, just like making a large crochet chain with your fingers, then plying the loop and the free singles together to make a 3 ply yarn. Here’s how I do it:
Attach the end of the loop (the part shown at the bottom of the above photo), to your spindle by winding it onto the shaft from the whorl down several twists, then wind back up over it to secure in place:
Again keeping loop open with fingers and holding free end of singles to be plyed in same hand, spin in the opposite direction you originally spun the singles. (Sorry you can’t see my spindle in this photo – it’s challenging to take pictures of yourself in action!):
I did have my problems in the beginning. Without some sort of tension on your singles, you are fighting corkscrews while you’re trying to make loops, which can be challenging. Also, I broke my singles several times at first by dragging the singles through the loop too carelessly. Try to avoid the friction of the singles rubbing against one another as they’re looped. It didn’t take long to get the hang of it, though – the usual trial and error.
Repeat the last three steps until plying is complete. If you stop in the middle – be sure to find a way to keep your loop open. I hang mine on my curtain tieback bar.
I call navajo plying a successful technique I’ll use again and again. I’m thrilled with the result.
Polworth, 128 yards worsted, 10 wpi