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Here's how I ply 4+ plys. I started plying lots of plying because I have gotten used to spinning lace weight yarn and it takes too much attention for me to spin heavier.

Once I started plying lots of plys I noticed that most patterns are marked like worsted weight (10 ply). This makes it incredibly easy to spin a weight of yarn that you need. (Take apart commercial yarn and look at the weight of singles and that's what you need).

When doing more than 4 plys you need to take the yarn off the bobbin and wind into balls. In the photos I am working on a 6 ply in two colors for contrast.

1) Arrange your balls for spinning. I usually have 3 balls in my lap and split the remaining on one or both sides. For the photos I have 3 in my lap and 3 on the left side.


2) pick up the ends and hold them in your hand.

and tie them onto the leader with a square knot.
 

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3) In this case I have 2 sets of balls (3 in lap and 3 on left side) and I will spin as if I was doing a 2 ply (I know but stay with me). It will look like this:


but if you had three sets of balls it would look like this


I really don't like to have more than three strands working together and two is better because it the strands don't tend to lay as smoothly and so you get a looser product.

4) Knot the end and then unwind and undo the square knot and knot the other end. Once it is set the yarn will stay plyed.
 

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To do this you really need to be able to ply with one hand. You need one (and sometimes two or three) to wrangle balls and keep them from going all over. A yarn bowl or two helps.

Also watch and make sure that you have all the strands you are working with still attached. I usually count from by my wrist since they are spread out there and you can see.

Remember to this looks harder than it actually is.
 

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This is soo cool LRCute .... bowls (or oatmeal boxes!!!) work great for wrangling the balls (unless you have a couple of lazy kates)

it seems though that even when I spin lace/cob weight & then Navajo (chain) ply them, once is wash them I end up with DK - Worsted weight.

I couldn't imagine doing 4-6 plies of my cob weight only to have it POOF into bulky on me (then I'd have to take it to my brother, FR to work into one of his creations.)
 

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I think its always great to see how other people knit, ply, spin, etc -how cool!

I can remember my first attempts at plying my first overspun singles from centerpull balls - this did NOT work for me - and I found myself all tangled up and frantically treadling and ripping the singles off the ball. :eek: :sob:

Balls do NOT work for me - but I see that YOU have mastered the chaos. :clap: :clap: :clap:

I discovered Judith McCuin MacKenzie and "The Gentle Art of Plying" and now I do it her way - with the help of a Lazy Kate.

This video is horribly out of focus :( - but stick with it a second or two and you will see how I use my left (resting/gentle) hand to "tension" my singles as the come off the Lazy Kate and how I use my right hand to control where the ply occurs as the singles meet. If I come to a slubby thick spot, you will see me spend a little more time there allowing twist to enter that spot of thickness. (Twist always accumulates the MOST in a thin spot unless coaxed to do otherwise.)

With JMM's help, my plying has now become RESTFUL, PEACEFUL, and GENTLE - not the frantic war it was before. :)

I also agree with JMM and Alden Amos regarding "distance plying" - in that, the further away you can place your bobbin/ball from your wheel will allow twist to even out along that length and twist will balance itself in the single BEFORE it gets to the point where you are plying.

When asked how far away you should place your Lazy Kate for plying, Alden Amos said "The next room". And he meant it. :hysterical:

click on the image below to open the video





I would love to hear other's plying methods, tricks, and suggestions! Great thread, LAC!
 
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