I'm still working on the beautiful merino roving I bought in Asheville. It is so soft, I just love it. I was starting to get a little grumpy about the colors, though. There was a patch or two that had some green, which just looked weird in the midst of the mostly pinkish beige background. Here's what the roving looked like.
When all that's showing is the purples and grays, it's gorgeous, but where the green is, the beige looks sickly pink and weird. I almost didn't want to work on it, but I had a little bit left over on one bobbin, so I decided to spin some more. It turned out that the rest of the wool is mostly beige with purple and gray, much prettier than the green part, so I was rewarded. I split off two almost equal pieces--the goal was to add on to the little leftover bit on one bobbin, start with nothing on the other, and end up with it all matching up when I plied. It was a good plan, but I forgot about it halfway through and started each half on an empty bobbin. So now all three of my bobbins contain singles of this yarn and I need to get one empty before I can ply. Sigh. The leftover bit is very little, though. I'm going to try to join it to one of the others before plying. We'll see if I guess correctly as to which is the shorter one. Last time I tried this, I just ended up with twice as much leftover as I started with!
Anyway, I was making some more attempts at long-draw last night, with some better success. I still need to read up on how you're actually supposed to do this, but going from memory of watching others plus some inspiration from a post on Spin, Knit, and Life about spinning from the fold, I'm starting to get it to work. Also, something finally clicked in my mind: the big fat rope phenomenon I was getting happens when the twist works its way over to the end and starts pulling the fibers lengthwise instead of pulling from the side of the roving. The twist had been kind of travelling around and spontaneously grabbing from wherever. Once I broke the roving into short pieces and insisted that it grab from the side, this worked very smoothly. I still had to intervene occasionally with a little inchworm when I got to a weird bit of fiber, but mostly it was just working.
The yarn came out pretty even--certainly better than last time I tried!--and the spinning was free of frustration. It was so exhilarating! I've seen others do this, and it looks like magic. Last night I was the one working the magic. It rocked!