Yarn Profile: Navajo Ply

What is a Navajo-ply yarn? A Navajo ply (or chain ply) is a 3-ply yarn spun from one singles. If the singles was Z-spun, then you will Navajo ply S, and if the singles was S-spun, then you will Navajo ply Z. The plying is done by creating a loop and drawing through a new loop in a manner similar to making a crochet chain.

Why Navajo ply?

Pro:

Easy to spin a self-striping or gradient yarn. Requires fewer bobbins to ply. No leftovers at the end of one bobbin of singles.

Con:

Not as strong as a true 3-ply. If one strand of the yarn wears or breaks, the whole chain-ply yarn may be in jeopardy.

Tip:

Chain plying starts with a few wheel adjustments. Patsy Zawistoski recommends setting the drive band on your spinning wheel to the whorl with the slowest ratio, changing the take-up so that the yarn draws in a bit faster, and treadling slowly.

—Elizabeth


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