How to Spin Yarn: Part 4, Plying | Ancestral Evolution | Skillshare

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (37m)
    • 1. Introduction

    • 2. Materials and Project

    • 3. Plying from a Center-Pull Ball

    • 4. Plying 2 Different Yarns

    • 5. Chain or Navajo Plying

    • 6. Final Thoughts

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About This Class

Welcome to "Plying"! This is the fourth class in my series on spinning. Prior to taking this class, I recommend watching part one, part two, and part three of the series which cover basic principles of spinning, spinning on a drop spindle, and spinning singles on a wheel. These classes will give you a good foundation before sitting down to ply. This class is geared towards beginning spinners, but may be helpful and interesting to more advanced spinners as well! This class will cover the following topics:

  • Plying from a center-pull ball (2-ply)
  • Plying 2 different yarns together
  • Chain (or Navajo) plying (3-ply)

These are the things you are going to need for this class:

  • a spinning wheel
  • singles you have already spun (ideally still on the bobbin)
  • a yarn winder
  • a lazy kate (watch the video for tips on making your own)
  • a niddy-noddy

Hope you join us for this class. Let's get plying!

Music Credit: "Ponte de Abril" by Steve Adams

Meet Your Teacher

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Ancestral Evolution

Traditional skills for the modern world


Hello, we are Eliza and Dave! Join us on our adventures with homesteading, the ketogenic diet, and science of natural living. We run a small farm with a flock of fiber animals made up of several different kinds of sheep and a guard llama named "Banjo." We look forward to sharing what we've learned along the way with the Skillshare community. Whether you are thinking about starting a small farm or just embarking on a journey into fiber, we hope to have something for you!

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1. Introduction: Hey there, I'm Eliza and I'm a homesteader in fiber artists. My husband and I together run a small fiber Farm and we have a flock of a bunch of different kinds of sheep and a guard Lama named banjo. Today I'm coming to you with part four of my series on spinning. And we're going to be talking about how to ply yarn. That is how to twist single pieces of yarn together to get a balanced y'all. We're gonna be talking about three different methods of how to apply. These are kind of the simplest, most common methods that you're going to be seeing used. This is not meant to be a comprehensive overview, but these are the most common things you're gonna see and the most useful skills. So that's what I'm going to be focusing on. If you haven't already, please check out my previous sections of this class. Part one is the basic principles of spinning. So we go over the basics of twist and what hold yarn together and all that part too is spinning on a dropped spindle. So that's the basics of how to spin UNDRIP spindle and also how to apply on address middle. Part three is spinning on a spinning wheel. And that covers the basics of how to create a single length of yarn on a spinning wheel. And today, like I said, we're going to be talking about flying on a spinning wheel without further ado, let's get started. 2. Materials and Project: There are a couple of things you're gonna need for this class. First and foremost, you're gonna need a spinning wheel and you're also gonna need some singles. So just single yarn that you've spun, ideally on a bobbin, but it doesn't have to be a yarn Winder is a very useful thing. It is very handy and saves you a lot of time. So if you don't already have one of these and you're interested in spinning and fiber in general, I would highly recommend picking them up, thirt not expensive. A mini naughty of some kind. I have a two yard committee naughty, which is nice because then like an estimate, yardage somewhat when I'm using it, but it doesn't have to be also you can make your own knitting AMI pretty easily using pieces of PVC pipe and connectors. So if you don't have one and you don't want to go out and buy one. You can make your own. And finally, a lazy Kate. Now, as you can see, my lazy Kate is a little bit DIY and that is just fine. You can make your own. You can, if you have one that you've purchased, that's awesome. But you don't have to, and in fact, you don't even have to use a lazy Kate. We're gonna be talking about some alternative methods, but I just wanted to show you this one. It's just a box that I've stuck submittal knitting needles through that fit through the inside of my bobbin pretty nicely so that my baboons can spin freely on the knitting needles. So like I said, this does not have to be expensive, but it is definitely helpful when we go to apply or yarn. Your project for this class, you guessed it is to apply some yarn. So pick one of the methods or multiple of the methods that we talked about in this video today. And use it to apply some singles. And please take a photo of the yarn that you applied and let me know what it looks like. I really look forward to seeing what you make and checking out all your cool yarn. So please post that in the Projects tab and I will take a look. Alright, lets get spinning. 3. Plying from a Center-Pull Ball: All right, so first we're gonna be talking about plying from a centre pulled bowl. So what I'm going to do, I've got my yarn on the bob in here. And I'm just going to wind it off and create a center pole bowl. So I have one end that's on the inside and one end that's on the outside. Now this method is going to be especially good if you want to create a two-ply Of the same yarn. So you want a, just a simple two-ply, but you don't want to different yarns, you just want the same yarn. All right, so here's my center pole ball here. I'm just gonna take the inside and the outside and, and tie them together. Just a simple model here. You wanna do this right when you take it off the Winder. Otherwise, sometimes you get the inside and disappears and you have to go digging and it's a pain. So we got our little end here and I'm just going to tuck it under one of these outside strands. And then we're gonna get our spinning wheel sit. Alright, so we've got our leader again here. And instead of putting it on the right side of the wheel like this, when I was spinning my singles, I'm gonna put it on the opposite side. Just like this. And by the way, I'm using a larger world for this, which means that I have a smaller ratio. And we're going to get a little bit less twist. In general, you don't need as much twist for plying as you do for spinning singles. So that's just fine. And I'm just going to feed it through the orifice just like we did for our singles. And of course, if your wheel needs a little bit of oil, skip a little bit of oil and it would be good to go. So I've just got the end of my leader here. And I'm got my ends here of what's going to be R to plot. And I'm just going to tie them together. Just like that. You can just square not if you want. That makes a little bit easier to get it off when we're done, but doesn't have to be. Alright, so we're ready to start playing. Now. Like I said, when we were doing our singles, we were applying to the right or spinning Z, a Z spin. Now when we're playing, we're going be spinning in the opposite direction. So we're going to be spinning our wheels to the left or counterclockwise. And this is what's considered S spin. So skinning get my, we'll go in here and reversing the twists and my leader. And as you can see, I'm starting to get twists to build up. And my arm. And there's, the two strands are spinning the opposite way and they're spinning against each other. And that's gonna give us our two ply yarn just like that. Now, just like when we were spinning our singles, you may have to adjust your attention because we do want this to take up on our bob in pretty nicely. So you may need a little bit more tension than you did when you were spending your singles, right? And for this, I like to hold both strands in one hand. I like to hold one strand kind of with my little fingers here, just like that. And the other strand kinda with my thumb and forefinger. So I'm kinda using one hand to control where the twist and where the twist is with these two strands. And my other hand is going to be just kind of helping straight now, any of these curly cues that you see as we go and just basically kind of straightening out this ball of yarn. Now one thing I did want to mention, this method is great for sort of like Meteor to a little bit bulkier yarns. I would not suggest this method with lace because the potential for tangles is more with lice and you're more likely to get some broken yard. So if you are spinning lice, I suggest a different method for a two-ply. But like I said, this is what would you say maybe it a decay or worse, did something like that. That's going to be perfect for this kind of a method. So let's get flung. Now, you are going to notice if you stop your wheel along the way here, that whenever twists that you see building up in your yarn, it's going to look, if you look at the same yarn once it's wound onto your real, it's going to look like it has less twist in it. And that is correct. Because when the yarn lines onto the spinning wheel, it's going to lose a little bit of twist. And that is normal, perfectly fine. So you do want to add maybe a little bit more when you're flying, then you think you need. All right. So one thing I just want to just going to pause for a minute and show you. So as you see, my one hand is still controlling this two strands. This hand is kinda untangling things now because I'm working from Assemble pull ball. And I have an outside stranded inside strand, and the outside strand is going around the inside strand. We're generating some twists in our yarn down below where this hand is. So every once in a while, I'm going to have to readjust this hand and incorporate these twists into the twists in my hand. So I'll show you the way I do that. I just kinda get underneath down at the bottom where the ball is and kind of straighten things out. And then when I get things going again, even this out here, you see these twists in between my hands. I'm just gonna let those transfer just like that. So this may take a little bit of practice to kind of get the hang of and like how often you need to do that to increase my tangent speaking up. But like I said, it just, it just takes a little bit of getting fuel for here we go again. You and if you just do that periodically, you're gonna save yourself from getting into a tangled mess. We're just gonna keep going. You're gonna notice that plying does go a lot quicker than spinning your single cell. That is the nice thing. I E, It doesn't need as much twist and B, you have half the length of yarn that you're working with. So see here I got some curly cues. I just use my left hand and it kind of smooths out as I go up. As you get more experienced with plying, you're going to be able to kind of feel when something is balanced and when something is not. And also you're going to be able to tell kind of how much twist to add to the fly. And also in working with your yarn, you can choose how much twists you want really yarn. Some people like working with yarn that has been a little bit over plied, meaning it's twisted a little bit more tightly. Some people like working with yarn that's a little bit looser. And the more tightly spun and ply yarn is going to be a little bit, a little bit stronger, a little bit more compact. It's not gonna be as fluffy. It's not going to be quite as warm. So it just, it depends kind of what you're gonna use your yarn for. And you kind of, there's a little bit of an aesthetic to it, to how do you want your yarn from look, how do you want it to feel? That's the beautiful thing about creating your own yarn is you can make all those choices yourself. And you can do, you can make exactly the yarn that you wanna make. Don't have to by anybody else, anybody else's version of perfect TR. And also as your bobbin fills up, like I mentioned in the spinning singles segment, your bobbin gets heavier. And when it gets heavier, you may find that you need to adjust your attention. In this case, increase the tension so that you still get good take up onto the mob. And as you get down to the last little bit here, I'd just like to, again, keep my left hand in-between two strands at all times here. And you're gonna find as we go, the little ball in my hand is going to get smaller and smaller. Until here we go. Here's our last a loop here. Alright, so when I'm done, I just take this loop and winded on here and just tuck it under one of these strands. And now we're ready to take it off the spinning wheel. Now to do this, I use my mini naughty and just take the end and tie it onto the one at the ends of NAT naughty here. Kinda want it loosely on there because you want to be able to get it off pretty easily. And we're just going to line it onto the nitty naughty. Now if you're wondering at this point how to sort of quantify this yarn, how to know like what white of your illnesses and how many yards that you spun. Watch my class on how to knit or crochet with hand spun. And that class goes through sort of how to quantify your hand spun yard. But right now I am just creating a stain on my midi naughty. If you have NAD N80 that has a given garbage, for instance, mine is a two yard maybe naughty. I can guesstimate yardage by just counting how many times I wanted this around. But if you don't, there are other ways to do it too. And that class goes through all of that. So let me get through with this. One thing I forgot to mention, which I wanted to mention is that when I am winding the yarn, either onto the yarn Winder or onto the Navy naughty, I take the drive band off. So it takes the tension off this wheel and it can spin much more easily. And that way I don't have to pull on the aren't nearly as much. All right. When you get to the end here, we're just going to untie where you're tying your two ends together. And then I just take this end and I kind of put it around the scheme that I just created and just do a little loop, loop, loop not there. And then I'm going to untie this loose nought that I tied around the Navy naughty. And do the same thing on this side. So our scheme is secure it in two places. Some people prefer to secure their scans in more places, especially if you plan on dying your yarn after you spun it, or if you're gonna be blocking your yarn and more vigorous way. And if you do that, what you wanna do is just take a length of usually cotton yarn and split your scaling and just make like a figure eight in your skin of yarn and just take it, tie a loose not there, just so that you don't want it real tight. You just want the yarn to yield, to kinda move. But it will secure the scheme in place so you don't get your skin all tangled up or in a miss. So you take this off and show you this. So as you can see here, this yarn is not twisting up on itself, which means that we have a balanced two-ply here. And that's what we're going for. Now, if you find that you have a little bit of twist in your gain after you get done playing. Like it kind of twists up on itself like little bit like that. That is okay because some of that will relax when you are finishing your yarn. But in general, you want something that doesn't have too much twist after it's applied. So anyway, that is our escape. And to make it look nice and tidy, you can just stick your hands in either end and just kinda twist it and double back on itself. And there we have. And that is where I'm going to keep this gain while we're working on are others. And then like I said, there'll be another class probably next week or the week after on how to finish yarn. So we're gonna talk about how to block and how to finish this gain of yarn that we've spun. All right, let's move on to our next method. 4. Plying 2 Different Yarns: Alright, so next we're gonna talk about how to apply to different yarns together to make a two-ply. Now like I said, I have these on, I've got these two different yarns on the Brahmins. You do not have to have them on Bob wins. You can wind them off into balls and do it that way. But I think it is easier, especially if you're working with a large bit of yarn. And it also saves a step. You don't have to wind it into a ball and then apply it. You can just keep it on the bottom if you haven't abundance. So this is actually some of our Lama fiber that I spun. And then this is some Shetland which is spun pretty fine. So these are kind of two different weights of yarn. So they shouldn't create kind of a nice effects when we apply them together. So for this, I'm going to use my DIY lady k here. I'm just gonna put one bomb in on each of the little spots I've got here. Just like that. And like I said, these globins can spin pretty freely if you have one of the fancy lazy Kate so that our weighted and have a little bit of resistance to them. That's awesome. I wish I had one. But like I said, this works just fine. Or if you don't feel like making one of these which takes five minutes, but if you don't feel like it, you can do it with balls. So I'm just gonna put this on the floor. I'm gonna put it on my right side because I like using my right hand to control the twist between these two. And I'm going to get the ends out from each of these. I'm just going to tie these two together, just like I tied the inside and outside of the sender pool ball. And same thing here with the leader. Just feed it through. And we're just going to tie my ends here to the leader. Alright, now we're ready to get planning. Now similarly to the center pole ball, like I said, I use my right hand in-between these two to keep them apart and to keep the twist from traveling up too far, it gets twisted. And my left hand just kinda smooths out, provides a little bit of tension in smooths out some of these curlicues you've got here. The thicker Lama yarn ply to kinda the thinner Shetland yarn makes for kind of a nice effect. You can see kind of like almost like a spiral yarn. Look to it. So in this way, you can create some kinda cool effects with different weights of yarn and also different colors of yarn you can play with. For instance, if you have like a variegated yarn that you spawn with colour repeats or something you can play with plying that two different colors and seeing what you get are different weights. You can also use this same method. So you apply a strand single of yarn that you have spoken with, like a commercial thread or something like that. And that can also create a really nice effect. So this kind of basic technique, you can create a lot of cool yarn. It's like I said, my right hand is controlling those two strands. Scott, I'm pinched pretty tight here and then my left hand just provides some tension. Smooths out curly cues. And you just kinda keep guy like this. Like I said, you will kind of get a feel for how much twist you need and your ply yarn. Whether it's balance and also giving you kinda look of yarn that you want. The nice thing about this method is that you can apply pretty thin strands of yarn very easily. So if you are working with the least weight yarn, I suggest you use this method instead of the center pole vault method. It's not going to, and you don't have as much sort of twisting and curly cues and tangled potential as you do with a center pool ball. So this is the message that's preferred by many. For making a simple two pi. You can see my bobbin is pretty much full to the brim here and into our leader here. All right, so here's our leader from the llama. And it just actually pulled right off as untwisted. And I'm just going to break the other yarn and around the same place. And I'm just going to give this a little bit more twist. We're going to tie a knot to hold these two ends together. And then I'm just gonna do what I did with the last game and just tuck this under one of these ends here. And now we're ready to make us gain out of this yarn with our guinea knotty, just like we did before. Now, if you notice, we still have a lot of this left, which is just fine. But that is one disadvantage of this method over doing the center pull ball is that inevitably, even if you try your best to have two bombings that have the exact as close to the same amount of fiber or the same amount of yardage. It's not gonna be perfect and you're going to end up with a little bit of waste. Now, this is not going to be wasted. I'm going to use this for something else. But if you are applying to different yarns, you may end up with a significant amount on one Bob and that you ran out of yarn to apply it with. So keep that in mind when you're doing this method using a lazy Kate or something like that, is you may have uneven amounts of yarn. All right, we'll get this on an ND naughty and we'll show you our third method. 5. Chain or Navajo Plying: Next let's talk about Navajo applying or chain plying. Now, I'm Navajo apply or chain ply is essentially a three ply. And the reason that you would usually want to use a Navajo plot or a chain fly is if you want to keep colour repeats in the same area. For instance, like this yarn, I spun a singles and I just did repeating strips of the different colors. So blue, yellow, and red. And I want those strips to stay relatively in the same area so that I get repeating stripes in my yard when I'm done. As opposed to the barberpole, look, if I were to just take this off on the ball winder and apply it inside and outside strand of a center pool ball. I would get kind of a barberpole look. You'd get different colors wrapping around each other and you wouldn't get the stripes kind of preserved in the same way. So in principle, the Navajo client is actually very simple. And I'm just want to show you. So if you are familiar at all with crocheting, that's basically what you're going to be doing, but you're gonna be doing it with your hands and your fingers instead of a hook. So I'm going to start with kind of a loop like this. And I'm gonna pull it through just like this. You see I have 123 strands. Those twisting together are what make my three pi. And then I pull another loop through here. And again we get another 3-5. So I'm just pulling loops through loops. I'm just basically doing a, a chain of crochet loops with my fingers. Before we get started with your single, you may just want to take a piece of commercial yarn that's not all twisty and just kinda practice pulling loops through each other, kinda like this. And that gives you kind of the feel for what we're going to be doing with our singles. Now of course, the difference with our singles is that our singles have a lot of twists in them. And so it's going to be a little bit trickier to keep our loops open and I'll show you what I mean. But it's actually very easy to do. And it's really not that complicated. So like I said, I'm gonna chain fly these singles that I spawn. And for this I'm gonna use my laser Kate here. And I'm actually going to put this on the floor on my left-hand side. And then just feed my leader through the same way we did before. Alright, here we go. And now I'm just going to kind of tie a little slipknot loop here in my single. I'm just going to tie my leader kinda at the base of that slipknot. We want to start with a loop because we're drawing loops through loops. Alright, there we go. Well at all do you can see it's twists enough. I mean, alright. So you want something big enough to get your fingers coming in it like that. Bigger, bigger is fine. You just don't want it too small. And what we're gonna do is just pull this strand through here as we get going. So I like to have my right hand as the one that holds open loop. And then I grab it. I have my strand and my left hand. And that's pulling from my bobbin with my single line. Let's go in here and I'll show you how it works. I'm going to pull loop through and then this logo together. I recommend you go slow and you first start doing this because it's very easy to kinda get going with your feet. And then you end up with a really overplay the Arne. But don't worry too much about that when you're first starting. You just want to make sure that you are pulling your loop through and you pull it through. Pull a nice big long loop. You can pull really as far as your arm can reach. The bigger, the better and the less work here, hands have to do. So. And you also wanna get your next loop going a little bit before you think you might need to. So you can see now I'm into my blue and my first strike was yellow. And it mostly stayed together. So pull another through. Keep going. Like I said, nice big loops. And your right hand, it's kinda keeping that loop nice and open so it doesn't close up on you. Now, as you make your next loop, your previous loop is gonna have a little closing right here. I'm gonna show you right here when it closes, there's gonna be just a little bit of a bump there. That's, that's normal, that's supposed to be there. And if your loops are really big, the fever of those you're going to have, but you really don't notice those very much in your finished yarn. So don't worry too much about that. I like to use my left hand to kind of smooth everything down. And if I have curly cues and my singles, that's kinda my left hands job to to undo them. Just like that. Pull it for you. And you can see, you know. And now we start to get a little bit of red in here. Just like that. So you see my colors are staying together, which is the whole point of this exercise. So this is great for sort of variegated or self striping yarn, something like that that you're trying to do. Also because you are creating a three ply, your yarn is going to be a little bit stronger than you would with like a chief lie. So this is great for like socks or things. They get a little bit more where? To them. All right. So I'm just going to keep going. Pause the video if you want to practice this. Get a feel for what your hands are doing and how much twist your generating Back to the yellow again. Back when I get done. So when you get to the end here, you can see this and came off of my leader. You're just gonna get enough twists to get this nice and twisted. And I like to just tear off that extra here and just tie a knot, keep everything where I wanted to. And then just kind of tuck this in like we did before. On your bomb it. Alright, so let's take this off and see what it looks like on the nitty naughty. And one other new, I mean, it's, it may seem obvious, but of course, because you are working with a three ply whenever length of single that you spun, you're going to end up with a third of that for your final yardage. So just keep that in mind. When you're kinda figuring out how much of the single You need to span to get you where you want to be with your final yarn. Like I said, this makes really nice striping yarn. If you're working from like a hand dyed, some hand dyed roving that's died in kind of stripes or it's variegated in some way. This is a really nice way to spin it. So there you can kind of get a better sense of the stripe Venus of this yarn and see the different coloured stripes that we've gotten going on. You can make your stripes really however long you want to, depending on how long of a strip of color or how many repeats you do of your, of your color patterns in your yarn. So and now mapply is a really great tool to get that to work and also to create a three pi from one single, which is also very nice. You don't have to have three different ones spun to get a 3pi. Give it a try and see what you think. It's really pretty simple and it's really not hard at all. It's just a little bit of coordination. And with a little practice, you'll be chained, plying in no time. 6. Final Thoughts: Congratulations, you made it through to the end of the class. Now you have three different plying techniques in your real house. First, we talked about how to do a two-ply from a center pool ball. Remember, this technique is best when you want a two-ply of this same yarn. And you are working with yarn that is not too thin. You don't want to be doing this with lace weight yarn. Next, we learned how to do a two-ply with two different yarns using a lazy Kate to hold those Robins while we're applying them together. This is a great way if you want to fly lightweight yarn or yarn that's a little more delicate. You can also really play around with textures and thicknesses and colors, doing using this technique. Finally, we talked about how to do a Navajo apply or a chain fly to create a three ply yarn from one single. This technique is great if you're wanting to preserve colour repeats from your singles in your final yarn and you're not looking for a barberpole. Look. Also because the Navajo apply is a three ply, it's a little bit stronger than the other two ply arms. Alright, I hope this class is really helpful to you. If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to post them and I'll do my best to answer them. Also, please take a picture of the yarn that you spun, applied and put it in the project tab. And I'll take a look. Now, be sure to stay tuned because I have another class coming up probably in a week or two that's going to be on finishing yarn. So keep a hold of this gains that you just fly. And I'm wearing me talking about how to block your yarn and how to finish it and make it look perfect. So stay tuned for that and I look forward to seeing you all to take it.