Kat’s last post explained a bit about what happens to the fiber once we send it off to the mill. If you missed that post, you can find it here. She also mentioned how much she loves two-ply yarns and that is what is used for all our farm to needle yarns. I thought I’d talk a little more about ply this week.
If you are a spinner, you probably know quite a bit about ply. If not, chances are you’ve never thought about it at all. Traditionally, 2-ply yarn was fingering weight and, the more plies added, the thicker the yarn weight. However, there are no rules that say 2-ply yarn must be fingering weight.
Regardless of the yarn weight, the amount of plies (how many strands are twisted together to make up the yarn) has some affect on how the yarn knits up. Single-ply yarns tend to be quite soft and somewhat easy to pull apart. They lay very flat and are quick to pill. Three-ply yarns pull each other together, and that makes the yarn rounder and the fabric quite smooth.
But we are talking about 2-ply yarns. Each ply is spun in the same direction. Then the plies are twisted together in the opposite direction, which pulls the plies apart a bit. This pulling apart of the plies causes the stitches to have movement and creates texture, like the stitches are having a wild party even in stockinette stitch. This makes 2-ply yarn a great choice for our farm to needle yarns; that wild party results in a more rustic look to the knit fabric.
There is no right or wrong, good or bad ply. However, if you have ever made the same project twice, with different yarns, and they end up looking differently,take a look at the plies.
Why Knot Fibers Shetlandia in Sugar Maple