Plies and Whys: Plied Yarns

30 March 2022

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This is the second in a three-part series exploring yarn structure and how the ways in which yarn is plied can impact the finished cloth. Read the first part here.

In the first part of this series, I described the process of spinning yarn into singles, and the pros and cons of working with a singles yarn. Most of the time, spun singles are twisted together to make yarns that we refer to as “plied.” The word ply comes from the French plié, which means “to fold,” and that is what we do when we ply yarn: we fold (and twist) two or more singles together. There will always be variation in how yarns perform, based on their fibre content and the amount of twist used in both the singles and the plying, but there are some general principles that apply to all plied yarns.

All images by Michelle Boyd.

Copyright © Michelle Boyd except as indicated.

About Michelle Boyd

Michelle Boyd is a Master Spinner, weaver, and writer who lives in Olds, Alberta, located in Treaty 7 Territory, the ancestral lands of the peoples of the Blackfoot Confederacy. Michelle learned to spin in 1995 when her local yarn shop closed, and she became obsessed with the art and science of making yarn. She has taught workshops across North America and instructed for the Olds College Master Spinner Program for fifteen years. She is also a frequent contributor to both PLY Magazine and Digits & Threads and is currently completing her first book about spinning.

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