A Review of PLY Magazine

Filed in Point of View by on October 8, 2015 6 Comments

Hello, happy knitters! Jess here, your friendly neighborhood Virtual Assistant! Gwen’s letting me take over her blog post today with a review of one of my favorite yarn-related resources: PLY Magazine*!

Review of PLY Magazine

In case you’re not familiar with PLY, this is a magazine dedicated to spinning yarn and the people who love to do that. Much like EduKnit is for the knitting community, PLY serves as a source of reliable education related to the topic of spinning. In every full-color issue, you get 112 pages of articles, tutorials, and patterns – all about spinning, fiber, and handspun yarn.

Each issue of PLY centers around a theme (also like EduKnit content!). The most recent issue, for instance, was the Texture issue; before that was Fine and coming up next is Singles. The content in each issue focuses on an in-depth exploration of this particular topic. There are some sections which appear in almost every issue, too. For instance, the “Guilded” section introduces readers to a fiber arts guild and its members, and the “Tip Jar” feature allows readers an opportunity to share their spinning knowledge with one another.

PLY is a family company; the magazine itself is produced by just a handful of people. Jacey Boggs Faulkner is at its head; she’s the creative force behind the publication. She has long been considered an expert in the spinning world, and has taught numerous online and in-person classes on spinning and has also published books and articles on the subject. She works with her husband, her ex-husband, and her best friend to produce the magazine – that’s it! Then there are just a few more of us who do some of the behind-the-scenes work for things like customer communications, copy editing, and advertising. PLY stands out from other publications in large part because of its lack of advertising – PLY only uses approximately 15% of the space from each issue for advertising, compared to 50-75% in other similar publications. PLY also believes in paying a fair wage to its contributors, so they tend to pay about three times what other publications do for articles and patterns.

One of the things I love about PLY is that reading it is like taking a workshop on spinning. From the Woolen issue I learned to convert my short forward draw to a backwards long-draw spinning method (for those of you who aren’t spinners, it’s just the difference between worsted and woolen spinning but it makes a big difference in the yardage you can produce in your handspun). The Texture issue was like a refresher course in the art yarn techniques I loved when I first started spinning, and a brush-up on some of the more complicated techniques for art yarn spinning.

Each issue has full-color tutorial photos to walk you through techniques, like this one which examines the amount of twist in handspun:

PLY tutorial image

The issues also contain a couple of patterns each – they are usually knitting patterns, but often you’ll find weaving or crochet patterns as well. I love this feature, because so often it can be difficult to find patterns that work well with handspun yarns. For the PLY issues, you not only get an explanation of how to knit the pattern but also an explanation of how to spin yarn for that pattern. So there’s never a worry that the yarn and pattern aren’t going to cooperate! Here’s an example of one of the amazing patterns from a previous issue:

PLY pattern photo

If you’re a spinner as well as a knitter, I encourage you to check out PLY. The magazine is truly a wonderful resource to have on your shelf! And of course, keep following along here on the blog as Kellie posts about her own adventures of spinning for a Spinzilla team this year!

Have you tried PLY? If you have any questions or comments, we’d love to hear about them! Just leave a comment!


*In the interest of full disclosure, I should say that I also work for PLY Magazine’s creator, Jacey Boggs Faulkner. But I truly do believe it’s a fantastic publication, so this is my honest opinion! I’m not at ALL being paid to tell you about this.

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