First off, you know there are NO spinning police out there, and if there were, art yarn would be against the law, right? Thankfully, we as fiber minded craft folk can do just about anything we want with our creativity.
How to know if you are a plying-purist:
Do you only use the project fiber for singles to ply together? (ie, splitting your fiber in half or thirds)
Do you spin even a small batch of the same fiber and ONLY ply it with itself?
Then you are a plying-purist.
What happens when you only have a few ounces or grams of a lovely fiber to spin? Spinning it to thread-like dimensions is great, but would you still get the yardage you need to use in a project down the road?
My answer to my plying of small batch fibers is to find other sources to ply the singles with to make the fiber yardage stretch.
Here is an example of two different wool fibers I have spun as singles. Not enough yardage on those singles to ply upon itself, so I combined a merino solid green and a multi-colored dyed roving to get this lovely yarn.
In the photo below, I have just under 2 oz. of the nicest green merino/silk blend to spin, but really not enough to ply back on itself. I had a spool of 100% silk thread that would be a great ply partner to hold the single together. Oh, and the strength of that thread is amazing.
Here’s a plying demo I found on YouTube to share with you:
Finally, a project I knit from yarn that I used three different sources for the three-ply yarn.
This Lonely Tree Shawl turned out great for me by plying the hand dyed yellow/gold/brown wool with a gold cotton and a brown cotton.
So, when you have a small amount of a beautiful fiber you want to spin and ply, look through your fiber/yarn stash to find something to compliment it for your finished yarn. The plying possibilities are endless.