11 January, 2010
In the Spin Off article, "Two heads are better than one, or A story with a good twist," by Lee Kirschner, December 1984, p 42-44, the author mentions a plying template: "It looked like a 5" donut with three holes evenly spaced around the resulting wooden ring."
You run three singles through and attach them to a leader, you poke fingers through to hold the template and keep a little tension on the singles, and you let the singles meet to form three-ply yarn.
The author based the template on an old rope-making tool.
I made one out of plastic.
I discovered that holding the plying template did not allow me to stop and pinch the yarn in order to wind the yarn onto the spindle.
For about a yard, the plying template did allow the singles to meet well in a balanced yarn.
Then the tension was lost when I went to wind on. The yarn snarled badly and I concluded that a plying template needs continuous wind on as provided by a spinning wheel with a flyer.
I could have cut the singles, removed the template, and done my plying without it. However, when I looked at the yarn, I found that the dyed single looked diminished and uninteresting combined with two natural singles. I think the dyed single would look much better by itself in two ply.