In the textile arts
is a process used to create a strong, balanced yarn
. It is done by taking two or more strands of yarn that each have a twist to them and putting them together. The strands are twisted together, in the opposite direction than that in which they were spun
. When just the right amount of twist is added, this creates a balanced yarn, which is a yarn with no tendency to twist upon itself. Almost all store bought yarns are balanced, plied yarns.
A two-ply is thus a yarn plied from two strands, a six-ply is one from six strands, and so on. Most commercial yarns are more than a two ply. Embroidery floss
is generally a six ply yarn, for example.
The creation of two-ply yarn requires two separate spools of singles and either a lazy kate
or something to hold the spools in place. On a wheel, two-ply is created by taking two spools of singles, placing them on a lazy kate, tying the ends together onto the spool attached to the wheel, and spinning the wheel in the opposite direction that the singles were spun in while also feeding it onto the spool on the wheel. On a drop spindle, two-ply is created by placing the spools on a lazy kate, tying the ends together onto the drop spindle, holding equal lengths of singles together and dropping the spindle. The weight of the drop spindle combined with the twist in the singles, causes the drop spindle to turn in the opposite direction that the singles were twisted in until the two singles are plied together.