Chain Plying (Navajo Plying)

knitted swatch of a navajo plied yarn
Knitted swatch of a 3-ply Navajo plied yarn.

Hi! This post is all about Navajo plying, also called Chain plying.

I’ve been on a break from blogging for quite a while, but I’m back and will try my best to keep up with it. I’ve been really getting in to spinning lately, so I want to keep some notes that have helped me and hopefully they will help others as well.

What is Navajo Ply?

It’s a way to make a 3 ply yarn out of one single by plying it onto itself. You make a loop with the single, pull a length through it, which forms a new loop and repeat.  Since it is plying onto itself, the colors stay together to instead of getting single plies that make a “barber pole” effect with different color singles plied together. It’s great for making gradient yarn which is one of my current obsessions.

The Best How to Video on Navajo Plying

Sarah Anderson has a very easy-to-follow video of chain plying. One hand stays close to her body keeping the loop open, while the other hand controls where the twist goes in and feeds the wheel.  I fumbled with chain plying until I watched this video. It’s the best video I’ve found on Navajo ply.

What to do when your single breaks?

Since I’m a beginner there are some spots in my singles that were just not strong enough to hold together. When this happens, you hold your loop open, and feed the broken end of the single in between the two sides of the loop where the twist is entering. Then you have the three plies and then (after the twist has sufficiently grabbed the broken single) you can pull the middle single through the end of the loop to create the next chain in that ply.



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