YouTube Channel and Submissions for SCENE

YouTube Channel

Did you know that PLY has a YouTube channel? We’re posting videos from the vlog, the Ask Jacey column, and videos that go along with some of the articles in the magazine.

Be sure to check out the two videos that go along with articles from the most recent Electric issue. Watch Amelia Garripoli demonstrate the power plying method and see a time lapse video of carding on an electric carder.

Submissions for SCENE

Have or know of a new product, event, fiber, or tool you think the community should know about? Let us know about it here, and we’ll try to fit it in SCENE, the newsletter, or the blog!

Check this out!

Have you seen @rightchoiceshearing on TikTok and Instagram? Their description is “two chicks traveling and shearing animals” or “shorn porn stars.” Make sure to take a look!

Did you know we also have a monthly PLY newsletter? Sign up here!

PLY Magazine believes that Black lives matter, as well as LBGTQI+ lives. Those most vulnerable and persecuted in our communities deserve our love and support. Please be good to each other.

Check Out Fiber Artist Market

As fiber festivals and livestock shows across the United States and many other countries have been canceled, fiber artists and businesses have seen their sales plummet. And festival goers aren’t able to see all of these fiber artists in one place. Fiber Artist Market is a new online marketplace for fiber producers and fiber artists, created shortly before the COVID-19 closures and is currently free for vendors.

Mary, the organizer behind the website, has been involved in the fiber community since she started knitting 30 years ago and has been working with shepherds in her local area and has sponsored FFA/4H kids with fiber animals. Her town has a K-12 Montessori farm school, where she volunteers to teach a “sheep to shawl” every year: the kids raise their own sheep and take classes on everything from animal husbandry to labor law and economics. Then the fleeces from shearing are made into products that are sold at the weekly farmer’s market. Mary’s studio has a micro mill, and they process about 50 fleeces a year and hold classes on spinning, dyeing, felting, weaving, etc. They are the Inland Empire Fibershed SoCal.

Here’s the story of how Mary decided to start Fiber Artist Market, in her words:

I go to a lot of fiber festivals and livestock shows, and over the years I have been impressed with the number of farmers who have sheep and a huge backlog of fleeces in their barns. I frequently buy them and have them processed into yarn, which we then sell at the local fiber festivals, or I try to buy and resell fleeces. Finally it occurred to me that we need an online site to cater to these small hold farmers and independent fiber artists. I found a few friends who were willing to pitch in some start-up money with me, and we got the website started. Our goal was to have it pay us back the start-up cost and then if it made any money we would be able to do FFA/4H grants, internships, scholarships, herd funds, contribute to Livestock Conservancy, things like that.

It took some time as we made lots of mistakes and missteps along the way finding a multivendor platform and all the other things that go into making a website work. Fortunately a local IT guy is willing to work with us for a pittance! We launched it in September with the goal of getting FFA and 4H students’ fleeces online and helping them with some income. Then some local shepherd(esses) asked to be on it and then some of my friends from Black Sheep and Oregon Flock and Fiber, so we said “okay, we can open to the public and see what happens.” We set our prices so they would be affordable for everyone and had subscription packs that would work just for shearing season, a month at a time, whatever anyone wanted to do.

Then came COVID-19 and this whole crisis. Our fiber festival, our farmer’s market outlet, WEFF, Maryland Sheep and Wool all started canceling and suddenly numerous fiber producers and independent fiber artists were locked out of their usual outlets. Because we are small, self-funded, and do not rely on income from the site, we were quickly able to agree to make the website completely free to fiber producers and independent fiber artists. We project we can continue to underwrite the costs of the website, IT, licensing, etc. for about 6 months and then re-evaluate what we need to do. That should take us through the fall shearing season and hopefully the viral crisis will be abated by then.

Since that decision we have just been working on how to get this out to people who might be vendors or buyers and give them the opportunity to sign up and set up their own store. The site is a secure site, SSL covered, with secure payment pathways to the vendors, and privacy is protected as stated in our privacy statement. We are very concerned about getting any spam postings so are keeping a close eye on that and will remove any immediately. We have some great vendors already but have essentially unlimited space for more.

So, if you are a fiber artist, please take some time to see if Fiber Artist Market might be a good fit for you. And if you are a buyer, please check out the offerings on Fiber Artist Market (and check back frequently as new vendors and items are added). Finally, please spread the word about this marketplace. Thank you for your help.

Show Off Your PLY Support!

Although we’d love to see you in person to give you your PLYAway shirts, you can still get one by ordering through our website.

You can also show off your PLY spirit with an awesome PLY shirt.

Thank you so much for all the support you have shown for PLY and PLYAway. We truly could not do this without you!

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Can We Feature You!?

One of the things we’d like to do on the PLY blog is feature you, our readers. We’d love to hear about how an article or issue of PLY has helped you in your spinning journey. Maybe you’ve made a project from one of the issues or maybe you’ve tried a new technique based upon one of the articles. Maybe you had an ah ha! moment while reading an article that solved an issue in your spinning. Whatever it might be, we want to hear about it and share it on the blog.

We’ll do a short interview (over email) with you about your experience and if you have pictures you can share as well, that would be great. If you’d like to find out more about this new blog featurette, fill out this form. Karen will contact you for more information and to set up your short interview. Thank you!

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Ply Magazine: Now Hiring

Want to work for a great fiber magazine? PLY Magazine has 2 openings! We are looking for a layout/design person and an illustrator.


This is a freelance, satellite position that is ongoing and includes 4 issues per year. It pays a flat fee per issue, and experience has shown us that, depending on your work style and speed, each issue takes between 45–75 hours over a 2.5-month period (so between 4.5 and 7.5 hours each week, on average). You’ll be responsible for taking the copy, photos, illustrations, ads, and well, just every single thing that’s going to be inside the issue of PLY and format it in a pleasing and creative way! PLY is a small team consisting of the editor in chief, managing editor/copy editor, photographer, customer service, developmental editor, illustrator, and you. That’s it. Among all of us, we get everything done.

You’ll be responsible for the following (while meeting the deadlines given):

  • Creating a cohesive look for each issue that builds on the look of the overall canon of PLY.
  • Creating a half-page mood board for each issue using copy provided and then using those colors in the respective issue.
  • Working with the editor in chief and managing editor to create a list of needed illustrations for the illustrator.
  • Using InDesign to design and lay out each issue, cover to cover, using the copy, photographs, illustrations, and ads in the allotted time (between 6–8 weeks).
  • Delivering pdfs to editor in chief, managing editor, and developmental editor and then implementing any changes requested.
  • Uploading final pages to printer, approving and finalizing pages.
  • Creating an image (usually just a crop) from each article for the authors to use to promote and tantalize.
  • Uploading final digital issue to server.

You should:

  • Have at least 2 years of magazine design/layout (or comparable) experience.
  • Be comfortable and well-versed in InDesign and the Adobe Creative Suite on a Mac platform.
  • Be organized and pay close attention to details.
  • Work and deliver on firm deadlines.
  • Work independently and be self-motivated.
  • Have strong communication skills and not be afraid to speak your mind and give your opinion.
  • Work well with others (or at least a small staff).
  • Have a clean and creative design aesthetic.
  • Be able to implement changes in your design without hurt feelings.
  • Have some experience with fiber arts.

The Process:

Please submit (to your portfolio and/or examples of your work , your past experience with layout/design, the programs you’re comfortable using, your work history as it applies, and 3 references by January 15, 2020. You’ll hear from us by February 1. Our plan is to pick a few people we really like and ask them to do a small mock-up of the magazine (a couple articles, a cover, masthead, project), going through an abbreviated version of our process. We’ll pay each designer we ask to go through this process a stipend for their time and work. For those who aren’t among our choices, if you want to go through the mock-up process too, you can, but we won’t be offering the stipend. The final decision should be made by February 1!


This is a freelance, satellite position that is ongoing and includes 4 issues per year. It pays a flat fee per issue, and experience has shown us each issue falls between 10–20 illustrations and over time averages out at 15/issue. At the beginning of each issue cycle, you’ll be given a list of between 10–20 illustrations ranging from very small and simple to more complex, and you’ll be responsible for asking for any clarification needed, creating and digitally delivering the illustrations to PLY. Turn-around on these illustrations should be fairly quick, 2–3 weeks, and may include some edits. PLY is a small team consisting of the editor in chief, managing editor/copy editor, photographer, customer service, developmental editor, layout/design, and you. That’s it. Among all of us, we get everything done.

You’ll be responsible for the following (while meeting the deadlines given):

  • Creating illustrations that are original and distinct to PLY but fit into the cohesive look for each issue and build on the look of the overall canon of PLY.
  • Working with the editor in chief, managing editor, and layout/design person to clarify the look and content of the illustrations.
  • Delivering illustrations to PLY by set deadline and then implementing any changes requested.

You should:

  • Have at least 2 years of illustration experience.
  • Have a range of illustration styles.
  • Be creative and have confidence in your work.
  • Be comfortable with line drawings, pattern sketching, repeating designs, renderings of fiber tools, spinning wheels, hands, spindles, people (shown with diversity), animals, etc.
  • Be organized and pay close attention to details.
  • Work and deliver on firm deadlines.
  • Work independently and be self-motivated.
  • Have strong communications skills and not be afraid to ask for clarification.
  • Work well with others (or at least a small staff).
  • Be able to implement changes in your illustrations without hurt feelings.
  • Have some experience with fiber arts.

The Process:

Please submit (to your portfolio and/or examples of your work your past experience with illustrations, your work history as it applies, and 3 references by January 15, 2020. You’ll hear from us by February 1. Our plan is to pick a few people we really like and ask them to do a small mock-up of an issue (we’ll give you a list of 5–7 illustrations), going through an abbreviated version of our process. We’ll pay each illustrator we ask to go through this process a stipend for their time and work (which we won’t use or keep; you retain all rights). For those who aren’t among our choices, if you want to go through the mock-up process too, you can, but we won’t be offering the stipend. The final decision should be made by February 1!

PLYAway Wants (and needs) you!

There are still great classes available. Check them out here!

And if you’re a small business that makes something fiber lovers would love, consider donating to PLY Away’s goodie bag, silent auction, or door prizes! It’s almost time to wow and tempt the devoted 500 fiber aficionados that attend PLYAway, but we’d love to have you join and your goods represented. If you’re interested, email me ( and I’ll hook you up! Here are the deets:
Goodie bags: Every single person registered for a class gets a goodie bag, and trust me, they have always been stellar! We want this year to be the same. You can send 100, 150, or 300 items and we’ll stuff those sacks full! We’ll also give you a thank you in our 2020 program and a shout out on social media (FB and IG along with a photo). We’ve had everything from a single lock from a shepherd for each bag to artisan teabags to tiny samples of balms to mini-batts, colorful rolags, tape measures sporting business names, small batch chocolates, printed patterns, 1 oz mini braids, and on and on. We’d love to include you and for us to support each other.
Door prizes: If you don’t have the time or energy (or if your product isn’t suited for goodie bag parsing), a door prize or a silent auction item might be just the thing! We like to punctuate our nightly spin ins and/or banquets with loud, squeal-inducing giveaways and we’d love to give away your stuff. Please include details about your item so we can make sure and holler them out to the crowd!
Silent Auction: Finally, the silent auction is one of the ways we help spinners come to PLY Away, and we’d like to build our scholarship fund even more so we can continue to bring talented spinners who couldn’t otherwise attend PLY Away. We hope to bring 2 at a time, even 3! ALL the proceeds from the silent auction go to the scholarship fund. The silent auction items and signage will be set up in public for several days (secured at night), and towards the end of the event, we’ll see who won. We think a range of items is ideal, some small and some large, so people of several budgets can participate.
Send everything here: Whether you’re in for the goodie bags, the door prizes, or the silent auction, let me know so I can make sure your info gets into the 2020 program. February 15th is the due date (so we have time to pack all those bags) to PLY Magazine, PO Box 3329, Kansas City, KS 66103.

Power Cover - strand of yarn hanging over a rusted piece of metal

Trying harder to support BIPOC

Many of you are aware of the talks happening on racism in the fiber community. If you’re not aware, please make yourself aware now. It’s important stuff, some of the most important stuff, in fact. And it does impact you, even if you think it doesn’t. Especially if you think it doesn’t. I know it’s hard to be called out. I know we’re all fragile beings that, I hope, go through life trying to do our best to be good people. And if that’s true about you, like it’s true about me, this is gonna be hard. Yes, it’s hard, but realize it’s the right thing and the company you’re in is huge. HUGE. If we all try, we can make a difference.

I know that some of you might say “but I just want to knit and be happy” or “I just came for the fiber/knitting/spinning” but that’s just not how life is. I’m sorry. I wish it could be that easy for everyone but it’s not. And until it is that easy for everyone, it can’t be that easy for anyone. Believe me, BIPOC (Black and Indigenous People/Person(s) of Color) just want to knit and be happy too, they just came for the fiber/spinning/knitting too but the color of their skin combined with a history fraught with injustice and a present rife with hate and fear, makes that an impossibility. Can you imagine? Really, can you imagine? We think we can, but the truth is, we can’t. We can’t imagine what it’s like to be different than we are, not really. We have to listen and believe when others tell us how it is for them.

It’s up to us to help make the fiber community safe and welcoming for BIPOC. Not being actively racist is not enough. You’ve got to actively be inclusive. You’ve got to actively be anti-racist. You’ve got to actively seek out BIPOC as designers, as spinners, as dyers, as companions. And I hear you again, “But why? Isn’t it more fair if I just purchase their wares when and if they appeal to me? That seems less racist, just taking race out of it.” Except that’s not actually feasible in the world we live in. It’s not. You are far less likely to see their work, their designs, their dyed fiber, their spun yarn because of our current paradigms. For now, we’ve gotta do a little work to make the world a better and safer place.

And don’t just make a change real quick because it’s being talked about in this moment. Make a change, yes, but keep doing it. We’ve gotta change ourselves, train ourselves. The world has trained us for far too long to think other and different means negative and/or invisible, we need retraining. It’s hard work and it’s ongoing work. It’s easier to settle into our comfortable lives and “just knit” or “just spin” but don’t. Work to make the world better. That’s what we’re here for, my friends. That discomfort you’re feeling about this subject, dig into that. Examine your feelings of defensiveness, your impulse to silence this conversation, your desire to have this conversation on your own terms, your need to say “you’re just here for the fiber”. LISTEN to the voices of BIPOC in our community before you brush this conversation aside.

PLY will be doing just that. The work. PLY welcomes and encourages BIPOC to write, to design, to model, but we need to do more. We don’t do enough. We made a decision on day one to actively seek and feature BIPOC models. But we are going to do more. We are going to actively seek BIPOC as writers, spinners, designers, dyers, and teachers.

I hope you’ll take this in with the love and peace with which it’s written. I’m white and I’m at fault. I try and will continue to try to be a better ally. I hope you’ll join in listening and fighting for what’s right.


PLY is going digital!

You’ve been asking us for years, and we are so excited to be able to deliver what you want: digital issues of PLY!

Since this is new, we’re going to try to answer all the questions we can, so keep reading! (Be sure to make it to the end, because we’ve got a giveaway to announce, too!)

Why digital?

Some people really love the feel of a good magazine in their hands. They like to flip through the smooth, sturdy pages and feast their eyes on all the glossy glory of a print magazine.

Other people really prefer to take their magazines in digital format. They like being able to carry all their favorite issues on one device, and to store PLY without taking up any shelf space.

We like serving both kinds of people, so we’re offering digital issues to anyone who wants them! We also know that this will be really helpful to overseas spinners, who will now be able to subscribe to PLY or pick up individual issues without the hefty cost of international shipping.


How does it work?

The digital version of PLY will work just like the print version – you can subscribe and get each new issue as it comes out, or you can pick up individual issues that strike your fancy.

If you want to subscribe to the digital version of PLY, you can click here to check out our subscription page like you’ve always done; you’ll see the option to choose digital or print. When a new issue comes out, we’ll send all current digital subscribers a link to download the digital version using a special password.

For individual back issues, you’ll find the digital version right alongside the print versions, on this page. Just pick an issue and choose “digital” in the drop-down menu. Every single issue is now available in a digital version, so pick your favorites!

We’ve also got back issue bundles! You can purchase every issue we’ve ever printed or buy them by the year, for a discounted price. You’ll find those on the back issues page as well.


What does this mean for the print version/my subscription?

If you’re already subscribing to the print version of PLY, nothing is going to change! You’ll have the option at renewal to switch over to digital if that’s your preference, but you can keep on getting that print edition for as long as you’d like. We really love printing this magazine, and we take a lot of pride to make it a high quality publication that feels as good in your hands as it looks! So don’t worry – we won’t be giving up on our print edition any time soon! We are, first and foremost, a print magazine. Going digital is simply a way for us to serve more spinners, which is what we aim to do with everything we create. It’s an add-on, not a replacement!

If you’d like to change your remaining subscription to digital instead of print, we can do that. We can also ADD digital issues to your remaining print subscription, if you’d like to get both! Just send us an e-mail ( AT Plymagazine DOT com) and we will hook that up for you!


How much will it cost?

A digital subscription will be $36/year, which allows us to produce the same quality you’ve come to expect from PLY‘s print version, and continue to pay our contributors fairly, but also offer a price break to those folks who can’t afford the international shipping prices for the print edition. Individual digital issues will be $10.

Just like with the print version, we’ll be offering a discount on bundled issues! You’ll be able to buy a full year of issues (a calendar year containing 4 issues, spring-winter) for $30, and you’ll score a big discount if you buy the full bundle of all back issues (that’s 17 digital issues of PLY!) for $85 (a 50% savings off the regular price). We’ll update this price with each issue but buying the whole lot will always be 50% off.


How will I get my issues?

You’ll purchase an individual issue from our shop or a digital subscription just the same way you would with the print version, on our subscription page. Then you’ll be directed to a page with your download link and we’ll also send you a link via e-mail with a personal password unique to you (and on record with us) to download the PDF of your issue(s), which you can read in your browser, Adobe reader, iPad, phone, or your favorite way to read – both in single page or 2-page view. Your password is attached to the PDF and the PDF can’t be opened without entering your personal password. These issues are copyrighted so please don’t distribute or share.


After you Buy: Digital FAQs

If you don’t get an email with the download code:
Please just be patient! The system sometimes isn’t able to respond immediately, but you should get your e-mail from us within about 24 hours. If you don’t have it, please search your email: it should have a subject line of “Your PLY Magazine purchase of DATE”. Still don’t have it? Email to get your download links!

If you don’t know your password:
For subscriptions, we’ll send you the password when we send you the link to download the newest issue. For back issues, the password you’ll need is the e-mail address you used when you bought the issue(s).

If you’re getting an error message or can’t open your magazine:

You should be downloading your issues to your own device, not using the link we give you to access it over and over. You are purchasing it and it’s yours! If you use the link we give you, you won’t be able to access it anywhere anytime (and it bogs down our servers and causes the craziness of the last few days). I didn’t figure out that this was happening until just now. The link we give you is just to download it and you should just use it once per device (like, once for your computer and once for your ipad, or once for your phone etc).
If you are unsure about how to download, read on!
When you have the magazine opened up from the link we give you, put in your password and it will open. Now in the upper right corner (run your mouse over that area if you don’t see it), there will be 3 icons, the middle one with the arrow pointing down is what you want to click on — that’s the download button. It will ask you where you want to download it, choose somewhere you can remember, maybe your desktop for now. You can move it anywhere any time.
Once it downloads (will take a minute or so), open it up, put in your password, and now it’s yours and will always open!

If you still have questions or something isn’t working right, please get in touch!

The making of a prehistoric IKEA bag, Part 1

Ever wonder how people survived before the invention of those giant bags from IKEA? Apparently the answer is, they made their own! Christina Pappas shows us how it was done in this two-part post, starting today!

One of the bags we’re studying for replication. This was a large tote-style bag, much like the kind you can find at Ikea! Image courtesy the William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology, University of Kentucky.

When we last met, we took a long look at the slippers I’ll be replicating for this project. This week, we’ll be getting to know the bags. Have a look at my last couple of posts to learn about this project and the slippers I’m making:


Pop culture likes to show archaeology with artifacts that are intact and spectacular. Man, I wish that was how it really worked. I don’t think the Indiana Jones franchise would have been as successful if they showed Indy and his students during their summer field school carefully mapping individual pieces of stone tool debris. No, golden statues and gigantic rolling boulders are far more fun.

Braided warps give us both strength and flexibility for carrying bags. Image courtesy the William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology, University of Kentucky.

That’s sometimes how it feels when you’re a textile archaeologist. People imagine ancient Egyptian tombs or Chinese silks, but that’s rarely the case. The southeastern US, where I work, is not suited to preserving organic materials like fabric. When we find the fragments of ancient culture we must work to carefully piece them together to tell the story of our distant ancestors. It’s hard work, and finding a complete object is rare.

For the bag we’re going to try to replicate, we have to look at multiple different bags to figure out how to make one. That’s because we don’t have a complete bag and we need to piece together the different parts. All the objects we’ll be looking at today are in the collection of the William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology at the University of Kentucky.

The Webb Museum has several prehistoric bags from Kentucky. They are in varying degrees of completeness, but combined can help show us how a bag was constructed. We’re going to look specifically at two bags from one rockshelter, Newt Kash Hollow. We think they’re close in age to one another, and were made in a similar way to one another.

Rattlesnake Master plant – once the plant starts to die back for the winter, it’s time to harvest the leaves for fiber. Image from

The first thing I notice when looking at these bags is that their warps aren’t spun – they’re braided! These bags appear to be made from a native grass called Rattlesnake Master (Eryngium yuccifolium). This grass makes for a hard-wearing yarn, but when processed into a 3-ply braid, it seems to be more flexible yet able to retain its strength. Perhaps that’s why the ancient Native peoples choose to braid their warp rather than spin it? They could make a strong yet flexible warp for a bag that could bend and support a heavy load. These warps are pretty thick, averaging about 1 ½ warps per centimeter and each about 0.6 cm (0.23 in) in diameter. The grass was well shredded before it was braided.


This knot is where the weaving ended. The twining was begun at the outter edge of the bag and twined around till you reached the bottom. Image courtesy the William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology, University of Kentucky.

The wefts are made from a plied yarn, two Z-spun singles S-plied together. It’s much thinner than the braided warps, averaging about 0.3 cm (0.11 in) in diameter. I’m not sure if the wefts are also made of Rattlesnake Master. They are much thinner and more finely shredded than our braided warps. I will probably need to experiment with the Rattlesnake Master to see if I can make a yarn that fine. The weft rows are pretty far apart so measuring wefts/centimeter won’t help us much here. Each weft row is made up of two yarns twining around the warps. The wefts twine around individual warps near the edges and bottom of the bag but around pairs of warps in the body. This is probably to give additional strength and stability to the edge and bottom of the bag while keeping the sides flexible.


The tops of the bags are a bit different from one another. The edge of one bag was made by folding and twisting pairs of braided warps around a cord which then became a drawstring for closing the bag. The other bag had individual warps folding and twisting around a cord, but the cord was a part of a finished edge, almost like knitted i-cord, that went around the entire edge. Thickly twisted 2-ply yarns were tied along the edge to act as handles. The handles on this bag would have allowed it act much like the large tote bags you can get at Ikea. It was probably just a big – the warps each measured over a meter in length.

The top of our drawstring bag and a close-up showing how the cord was looped through the top of the bag. Images courtesy the William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology, University of Kentucky.


The top edge of the our tote bag. See how the finished edge acts like i-cord for knitting? Image courtesy the William S. Webb Museum of Anthropology, University of Kentucky.

So what do we know so far?

I’ll need to find some Rattlesnake Master and process it so I can make 3-ply braids for the warps. My bag will be much smaller than either of these bags to keep this project manageable and to make sure I can find enough Rattlesnake Master. I will also need to make the 2-ply yarn for the weft and for the edging. I’m not sure those were made from Rattlesnake Master so I’ll have to do some additional research and experimentation.

Practicing my thigh spinning. It has been a long time since I tried to make yarn this way and I’ll need the practice for this project. Rafia grass, readily available at most craft stores, is the prefect material for practice.

Our next step in this journey is to collect and process our plants for fiber and then the real fun begins: spinning and weaving! I’ve been experimenting with two different ways to spin my fiber – thigh spinning and finger twisting. It seems like there’s always something new and different to learn.

Till next time!









Chris Pappas is an archaeologist by day and a fiber fanatic by night who is happiest when she can be both at the same time. She lives in Kentucky with her husband, adorable baby girl, and two crazy beagles.