Jillian’s Spinning: Yardage – Chain Vs. 3 Ply

When I’m spinning I constantly have questioning flying into my brain – why is it that way? How can I make it another way? If I change these things what would happen to my yarn?

I was happily spinning samples this weekend and I thought – How much does chain plying shorten a color run in a variegated yarn? It would shorten it more than 2 ply, but what about 3 ply? It sat there knocking and would not get out of my brain. So I spun to answer the question for myself.

I’m not a technical spinner. I didn’t measure the fiber in grams, I didn’t measure WPI or TPI, grist or count treadles. I am happy with an ish answer almost always.

When I have a spinning question I spin with the exuberance of the perpetually curious. I want my answers fast. If I’m not satisfied, I may do it again.

I lined up the color run in the fiber – it was a ABC-CBA (blue, green, dark fuchsia- dark fuchia, green, blue) repeat. I divided it in half width-wise, rechecked that the color run lined up, then divided each piece length-wise by how I would ply it. Then I spun.

2-ply, 3-ply, chain ply. cjkodesigns BFL, Theresa coloway.

2-ply, 3-ply, chain ply.
cjkodesigns BFL, Romina coloway.

Each of these is 2 ounces of fiber, spun heavy worsted to chunky. I decided, in my Quick and Dirty scientific method™ to just measure the dark fuchsia color in all three, since there was the most of that color in a chunk. See, quick and dirty .

chain vs 3ply pink

Just the pink.

I don’t even have to measure to know that the 2 ply has the most yardage. But the 3 ply and the chain ply looked close. So I measured with a measuring tape. The 3 ply is 5.14 yards, the chain ply is 4.67 yards – the 3 ply is a littler chunkier than the chain ply, so if it were spun with more attention to the technical as opposed to the Q&D method, it would have more yardage. Even more yardage for both the 2 and 3 ply becasue I did some splicing in my plying to keep the colors matched up. The two ply has 8 yards.

This answer satisfies me. I’ve always thought that chain plying eats up yardage, but it’s so easy to keep colors together. Now I know if I want clear color runs and yardage, I’ll be plying to match color instead of chain plying.

 Do you chain ply or match colors in a 2 or 3 ply?

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3 thoughts on “Jillian’s Spinning: Yardage – Chain Vs. 3 Ply

  1. Karrie

    If I want to maintain the colour changes I chain ply. I find it harder to 2/3 ply and get the same effect.

  2. Michelle

    I’m even more of a “quick and dirty spinner” than you are, so the only time I try to maintain color changes rather than willy-nilly barberpole results, I Navajo-ply.

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