Real Man's Survivial Guide
The Stuff of Dreams

Spinning and Plying

Yesterday, 1/29/2007 in SALT LAKE CITY, UT: 31 high, 6 low (Today will be the 19th day below freezing, which is the 2nd longest period since records began.)

Mymountainviewobscurdedbypolutionandbada_1 Sunday night we were told that Salt Lake City has the WORST air in the country right now.  The cold air is trapped and can't leave, so everything, every emission from cars and industry, every breath you take, every last burp from your hubby, every-everything is still here and isn't going away.  If only we could live in the mountains...but that's a bit beyond our budget.  There could be a bit of a reprieve on Thursday and the temps could be slightly warmer by the weekend.  It must be 38 or higher for someone to win the contest, so keep your fingers crossed it will happen soon!

Credit must be given where due and I would like to thank Miriam and Susan for Kitchenering the toes of Smith’s socks.  There is a block in my brain that keeps the ability to remember, understand or do a Kitchenered toe from sinking in.  I know the mantra and have had the technique, and every trick known, explained to me over and over.  Susan has a method, she calls fool proof (she hadn't met me at the time), and I'm willing to give it a try next time.  She was able to explain how it works in such a way that I didn't hear the usual 'waa-waa-waa-waa', like a Charlie Brown character, and may have understood more of what she said than before.  We'll see. Thanks Susan, but I still don't see how you can Kitchener and carry on a conversation at the same time.   

Myblueheavenlyroving One thing I do understand is how much I love Emmylou and how much more I love the Oberon roving I bought from Anne.  The color, texture and lovely fluff of this roving is creating such a soft, lofty and luscious yarn.  It tells me it want to be a warm, three ply hat to warm my ears during long walks with Moxie.  This must be what a cloud would feel like if you could spin it. It's hard to think of anything else with something this yummy on the wheel.


Jessie, a good enabler, fiber pusher dyer and spinner, nominated me to show the difference between a three ply and plyed chained singles. I prefer 'chained singles' to Navajo Plying, as it is descriptive of the technique, and there is also a question as to the origin of this method.  Interweave has a very good article, in PDF form, by Dodie Rush and you can find more info by using Google. In my fiber stash was a beautiful wool roving, Delphinium, from Amy’s shop.

Delphiniumfromamysshop The contrast in color made it perfect to show off the different methods and how they create different effects.  I had fun spinning up a couple of samples. On the left is the three ply yarn. Three singles were spun and then plied together as one.  The color twists in the same way as a barber pole with the separate strands twisting around an  'invisible core' to create yarn.  The yarn on the right was created in the chained singles technique.  With this method you can ply a section of one color by controlling the length of the loops. You have more control over the end result and can keep colors in sections.  Both methods create a good three ply yarn.

Threeplyyarnwithplyedsinglesonright_1 click to enlarge

Plying chained singles creates a little more texture in the yarn and it is easy to over-twist (at least I found it so).  Both methods of plying could be used in one project for 'different but the same' effects.  Spinning three ply yarn uses up bobbins and all the singles must be spun before plying.  Chained plying can be executed after one bobbin is finished and the empty bobbin can be reused for the next skein.  I doubt there would be any time savings from one technique to the other and they should both create the same amount of yardage from the roving.


I feel like such an inexperienced 'expert', but it was fun to spin in both methods and share with you the results.


Absolutely drop-dead handspun, as always.

I use the waste-yarn cheat method of Kitchenering: when ready to Kitchener, knit one more row in a garishly contrasting waste yarn, then just follow the path of the waste sts (but be careful not to snag them), leaving the needles in and going back and forth across their tops. When done, remove needles and waste yarn and tighten Kitchener yarn. This works for me, but I prefer to avoid the whole thing by knitting socks toe up. (I did it on a mitten the other day, being unable to figure out how to do a top-down gusseted mitten, although I'm sure it can be done.)

I so much enjoy learning about spinning along with you, although you are much further along than I am with everything. And I didn't know Kitchenering was supposed to be so hard; by the second sock I did, it felt just fine. I guess ignorance really is bliss.

Sorry about your inversion. All last week we had blue shy and sunshine even though it was cold. Its overcast today so not as pretty. Oberon reminds me of a roving from Lois in Bountiful she had called Sky Pilot and it was such a blast to spin. It fun to see all the wonderful things you've been spinning.

You're spinning and plying looks fantastic.

I guess it's not good advice to say "don't breathe?" Hope the weather clears soon for you. Your yarn is lovely!

My sinuses twinged in sympathy for your and the crunchy air you're experiencing! In Portland we had air quality advisories almost all last week, but it was nothing compared to SLC!

Mmmm! Lovely blue yarn. :)

Finally delurking here (hi!) to say that I love it when a blog post gives me ideas and generates inspiration. That's what you just did with your comparison of the three ply and plyed chained singles, simply by saying that "both methods of plying could be used in one project for 'different but the same' effects". Many images instantly came to my mind... I'm a very new spindle spinner, so I still have a lot to learn, but this idea will stay with me and I'll certainly make good use of it one day.

I love to see how the talent of each individual compliments the other. Carole is intimidated by cables but is a whiz with Kitchener. You're the opposite. It's too bad we can't snip your SnB group out of a magazine and paste it into our own lives so that everybody can enjoy a fellowship with others that share similar interests. I know Carole isn't in your SnB group which I guess is the answer to our lack of magic - the magic of our blogs bringing us together in a fellowship with others that share imilar interests. Ahhh thank you Margene for this great post. And the beautiful photos of your spinning projects. :)

Your spinning is coming along so beautifully! I love the blue yarn.

The spinning is beautiful, I love the blues.

You have learned so much about spinning so quickly! Glad you are spinning for a warm accessory, since the temp just won't rise yet. The inversion is just terrible. As for Kitchener, I have tried, with ugly results and am turning to drawstring toes... maybe someday, with all these good suggestions, I will "get it".

Your spinning looks wonderful! I'm glad you are enjoying that roving with contributions from the bunny boys. A hat sounds like the perfect ticket!

eewww, that burp line really drove the "what is an inversion?" lesson home!

hope it ends soon!

Hmmm. I learned to Navajo ply this past weekend, and I love it. But my yarn doesn't look nearly as lovely as yours. Mine is still full of lumps and bumps. Arrrrrrgh.

Plying chained singles? I'm not sure I get the process. You're just going to have to show me IN PERSON. Mwuhahahaha....

A great comparison, Margene! I really need to stop thinking I can't "ruin" some of my fiber and give the chained singles technique a fairer chance.

You crack me up with the whole avoidance of kitchenering. It's really not that bad. I'm sure that Susan can teach you. But I can understand not wanting to do it.

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