Plying yarn ... I'm an ignoramus

I’m totally ignorant about spinning, I mostly knit and crochet. I’ve got some single ply silk yarn in fingering weight…much too fine for my knitting preferences. So I thought I’d double it, and rather than just work two yarns together I thought it would be better to ply it. Maybe I’m wrong? Would that be the best thing to do? But being a spinning ignoramus I figured it would be best to ask for help, instead of buying the wrong equipment and eventually messing up my expensive silk yarn. A top whorl drop spindle? Is that where I should start? Anything else I’d need? Any hints or tips on how to go about this would be greatly appreciated.

Welcome to the forum!
That’s an interesting question (which also means, I have no idea). I would have just used the strand doubled.
Let’s ask @mullerslanefarm for advice.


You would probably be better off carrying the two yarns together and knitting/crocheting with them that way.

When you spin singles in preparation to ply them, you put a bit more twist into the single because when you ply, you twist the singles in the opposite direction and this takes the extra twist out of the singles.

If your single yarns do not have the over twist in them, you could possibly un-spin the singles as you ply them.

Are your singles 100% silk or are they combined with another fiber? Are they hand spun or commercial spun?

Silk is a very strong yarn so would still be strong even if when ‘unspun’, although you may have problems catching your needle or hook in the yarn giving your fabric a frayed look.

Most hand spun yarns are spun clockwise giving them a Z-twist, then plied counter-clockwise so the finished yarn has a S-twist. “S and Z Twist Demystified”

Before you begin to ply, you will want to determine if your singles have a Z-twist or an S-twist.

Be aware that if you over ply, your yarn will be ‘energized’ causing the fabric to be skewed.

By all means, give it a try though!!

Either a top or bottom spindle works. I started with a bottom whorl spindle but have both top and bottom whorl spindles now.

You will want a light to medium weight spindle to ply.

Have fun with it! Be sure to get some roving so you can enjoy spinning your own yarn also!!

@mullerslanefarm … Many thanks for the info! I have a Z twist yarn that is 100% silk…except for the sparkly thread spun in with it, so I guess that makes it not 100% silk, technically. I’ve got an inexpensive top whorl spindle on order. I’ll try a bit and see how it goes. I’ve got 4 tiny little hanks so I can actually try it both ways, knitted together and spun together, for small swatches and see if I really hate one or the other.

A couple of youtube videos I highly recommend you watch.

Abbey Franquemont’s Drop Spindle Basics

Abbey is the Queen of Drop Spindles! Her book Respect the Spindle published by Interweave Press is a must have for spindles. Her youtube channel is great.

Andean Plying Technique

This is presented by Andrea from Mielke’s Fiber Arts. I’ve taken a couple classes from Andrea Years ago. She is very knowledgeable and her teaching technique is very understandable. The Andean Ply is the one I recommend you use.

Please show us your yarn when you’re finished!!!