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Jul 01

Default Yarn Challenge

by Gail Matthews

I was happy when the office staff decided on the “spin your default yarn” challenge because I conveniently had a full bobbin of my default singles waiting (for a year or more) for me to do something with it.

Navajo Plied yarn on the Bobbin

Navajo Plied on the Bobbin

Not long after I started working at Schacht, I learned to spin from Maggie Casey of Shuttles, Spindles and Skeins. Maggie teaches how to Navajo ply, but it didn’t really take with me. I’ve happily been making 2-ply yarns ever since, and not thinking much about other ways of plying. Because my singles was all on one bobbin, and I hadn’t really done anything for the challenge, it seemed like a good time to re-learn Navajo plying.

The lovely skein of yarn

The lovely skein of yarn

Maggie’s book Start Spinning doesn’t cover Navajo plying, so I searched the web and found several videos on plying. I ended up looking at a Sarah Anderson video posted by Interweave. The video doesn’t mention which direction to ply – if it does, I missed it – but a little more searching provided the information that the plying should be opposite the way the singles was spun. I suspected that was the case, but as a Navajo novice, I needed confirmation. After several minutes and careful examination of what Sarah does with her hands in the video, I was plying. Woohoo!

Swatch of Navajo ply yarn woven on the Zoom Loom

Swatch woven on the Zoom Loom

The information about this fiber is lost in the mists of time. I’m fairly certain it’s a wool/Tencel or wool/silk blend, since the yarn has a lovely sheen. The finished yarn has 11 wraps per inch, making it roughly a DK weight, though there is some variation. The skein weighs just under 4 ounces, and there’s about 160 yards. I love the roundness of the yarn, and I will definitely do more Navajo plying in the future.