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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 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

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 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.

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