What led to you becoming a yarn producer?
Plied Yarns is Karida Collins and Ann Weaver, two friends from Baltimore. Karida is the founder and president of Neighborhood Fiber Co., and Ann has been teaching knitting workshops and designing handknits since 2007. Because they are always looking for a new adventure, creating a yarn line seemed like a natural progression from their work in the fiber industry.
Where do you create? Do you have a team?
Plied is a product of Baltimore, MD, where we share studio space with Neighborhood Fiber Co. After the fiber is spun into singles by the mill in New Hampshire, the team dyes them and pairs them up to create each of our colors. The dyed singles travel back to the mill for plying and coning.
Plied is created in two locations: the Harrisville Mill in Harrisville, NH, and the Neighborhood Fiber Co./Plied studio in Baltimore, MD. The team at Harrisville sources our wool from New Zealand, spins our singles, and plies our yarn. The team in Baltimore dyes the singles and winds, twists, and tags the final skeins. So Plied yarn travels up and down the east coast a few times during production!
What inspires you?
We love this yarn and love making it. Seeing others excited to work with the yarn is even more motivation to keep doing it.
For Ann, joys of fall include the crispness of the air, the quality of the light, the smell of the leaves, being able to wear boots and sweaters. Putting the blanket on the bed. Apples. Happy big dogs able to take long walks in the cooler weather.
Karida loves cowls, scarves, and casseroles. However, at heart she is a summer gal and gets cranky when the temperature drops below 40 degrees.
Can you walk us through one of your yarns from start to finish?
We conceived of the yarn while touring the Harrisville Mill as a part of a weaving workshop. As we watched the machines working, we looked at each other and said: We want to get in on this!
After that moment of revelation, we spent over a year in conversation with Harrisville, figuring out the technical details of how to create the woolen-spun, hand-dyed yarn we envisioned. It was a two-year process, but we think it was worth it—and we hope you agree!
Plied starts as fleece from New Zealand sheep. There, wool brokers for Harrisville purchase fleeces that are then shipped to New Hampshire for spinning. Our blend is a mix of fine and coarser wools, which we’ve chosen to be strong enough to stand up to the steps of production; white enough to take rich, saturated colors; and soft enough for next-to-skin wear.
At Harrisville, the mill team spins the fleece into singles (that is, unplied/single-ply, laceweight skeins of yarn) and sends these to the Baltimore studio, where we kettle dye them. After dyeing, we return the singles to Harrisville, where the mill team plies the singles, creating our two-ply marled yarn. Finally, Harrisville ships the cones of two-ply yarn back to Baltimore, where we skein, twist, and tag the yarn—and it’s ready to send to makers!