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Ply, Ply Again

posted Apr 5, 2010, 10:14 AM by Mary Powell   [ updated Apr 5, 2010, 10:28 AM ]
Once the bobbin is full, I spin another. While this seems obvious at first, I do actually need two threads. Because the next step is to spin them again.
   Plying is the process of twisting two already spun threads together in the opposite direction. So if you spun clockwise, you ply counterclockwise. This makes the thread stronger and more stable, as neither thread can untwist because its neighbor is blocking its path. Also, if one strand breaks, the other remains. Some weavers work with singles, but I'm not that brave.
I use this wheel for plying because it has a bobbin with exactly twice the capacity of my little wheel.

   That means I can ply up two whole bobbins without any leftovers.

     Here you can see the two strands of yarns running through my fingers.

 I just put a little tension on both and let the wheel twist enough before letting it feed onto the bobbin. How much is enough? The thread should look and feel firm but not hard, and it should just barely twist up on itself when relaxed. Ultimately, it should be strong.
It will take about 4 hours to ply up two bobbins into one big bobbin.

It's not hard work, just mind-numbingly dull. Fortunately, I can hold a book in my other hand and read. I have also fallen asleep, but I don't recommend that.