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Navajo Ply is a very simple method of creating a three ply yarn from one single strand.  It is achieved by making large loops, through which the yarn is fed as it is plied.  It’s like making a large crochet chain and for this reason is also known as chain plying.

In my work as a teacher, I need to move quickly and easily from one project to another.  I often find that projects are delayed because I have no spare bobbins or the required wheel is in use.

I have been core spinning mega rug yarns for a while, but working on today’s project, I recalled the joys and benefits of Navajo Ply, which is plied from a single strand rather than two or more as is the usual requirement.

There are many reasons to choose Navajo ply:

  • No need for multiple bobbins
  • No need for a niddy-noddy
  • Navajo ply being a three ply yarn gives roundness
  • Colour sequences stay in order
  • A spinning project can be completed very quickly without changing tools or moving from your wheel
  • You can ply on a spinning wheel or a spindle.
  • Joining a new length of yarn in knitting or weaving is very simple.

After spinning the fibre, wind the yarn straight from the machine into a ball.  Without leaving your seat, the ball is then plied and then taken from the machine by winding loosely into a ball for immediate use, or into a skein if this is how you prefer to store yarns.

I love the roundness of the resulting yarn, which is, after all, a three ply yarn. Navajo ply enables you to keep colour sequences in order, unlike the resulting yarn from plying three different coloured strands.

One of the greatest advantages is the ease of joining new yarns to old, during knitting or weaving.  In Mega Knitting, the very thick yarns do not lend themselves to being knotted or worked in.  Feeding the first loop of the new yarn through the last loop of the old yarn before passing the new ball through results in an apparently continuous yarn.  The join is invisible, yet strong, leaving no ends to be finished. If you are spinning a yarn for Mega knitting, make sure that you make your first and last loops big enough to enable a mega ball to be passed through.  You can see how to join Navajo plied yarn in our series Fibre Arts BootCamp Mega Knitting tutorials.

I am currently using this technique to spin workable lengths of yarn for Salish weaving without the need for a fringe and no ends to finish, so look out for that video!

If, like me you find dealing with ends a tedious chore when it comes to the finishing of knitting or weaving projects, then give Navajo Ply a try.  I think you’ll enjoy it.

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