Saturday, October 8, 2011

Navajo plying on a spindle - Tutorial

Here is the promised photo tutorial of Navajo-plying or chain-plying on a drop spindle. Its very easy to learn this technique and you can make a 3-ply yarn without the hassle of making a 3-ply plying ball or wrangling yarn from 3 separate plying balls. All you need is one single stranded plying ball , a spindle and a few inches of leader yarn. This is a photo tutorial and I have tried to capture the steps involved. If any step is unclear, please feel free to let me know.. I'll try to get better pics of it.

Disclaimer: There is no spinning police and there is no single way to skin a cat. This is how I do it and I do not take credit for the method. I learnt it from various youtube videos and from the stellar book, Respect the spindle by Abby Franquemont.

Navajo-plying or Chain-plying on a drop spindle - A Photo tutorial

 A plying ball is easier to manage and keeps your singles under tension, avoiding tangles and unnecessary swearing! For this tutorial, I used a 2-ply lace weight yarn as I didn't have spun singles lying idle. I keep the plying ball in my left hand for easier control. This method is easier to visualize/understand if you already know how to make a foundation chain in crochet.

Attach the leader yarn to your spindle and thread your single from the plying ball through the loop in the leader yarn.

Make a simple loop of the single by tying a knot in it. Make this loop big enough for your fingers to enter.


 Now, put your fingers through the loop in the single and pull some more single to make a new loop.. just like making loops in a foundation chain in crochet.

Now, reach through this new loop and pull some more single to make another loop. Keep doing this till you have about an arm's length or a length that you can manage to spin on the spindle.

Once you have the length you can manage, move the live loop on to the index finger of your left hand (the hand that holds the plying ball).  You have made a length of 3-ply yarn but without any twist in it, out of a single-ply plying ball.

Pinch the junction where the 3 strands end and only the live loop is left. I have circled the junction in the pic below.

I pinch this place together with the plying ball like this.

Now, give the spindle a spin in the plying direction which will be the one opposite to the direction in which the singles were spun. Once the entire length is plied, wind the plied yarn onto the shaft leaving a few inches free. Make a half-hitch or use the spindle's hook and free the pinched live loop. Move this loop onto your right hand and make some more chained loops and continue the process as described above.

Ta da! you are making Navajo-plied yarn! And, you thought this was rocket science?! ;-) I find it easier to sit or stand and park the spindle between my knees and then make the chained loops. It gives a bit of tension when you make the loops which avoid tangles and kinks in the singles.

 One other way to make this even more easier is to make a plying ball entirely of chained singles. So, just grab one end of the single cop that comes off the spindle, make a loop by tying a simple knot and chain big loops with your fingers. Wind this chained singled into another plying ball and then ply this plying ball in the plying direction just like any other plying ball. Did I make any sense at all?!  I prefer to ply as I chain the singles as it becomes one single process rather than make another plying ball and then ply it.

I hope my text and pictures made sense and helped you in some way to master this plying technique. Let me know if it helped or not. I'll be glad to hear from you.


1 comment:

  1. I couldn't refrain from commenting. Well written!

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