[red "Heinz57" fiber]
Plying thin, wriggly singles is challenging to do really evenly, most especially if they are hairy like these were. My usual technique is to put the bobbins far away from me and run the singles through the rails of a chair, to keep them evenly tensioned. Yesterday I had an insight that it would be even easier if I "wove" the singles through the rails to really keep them from coming into contact, thusly:
[weaving singles through the chair back]
Oh man, what a difference! Now, I find I don't even have to keep the singles separated in my fingers - I can just grab the by-now-evened bundle of singles from the end of the chair, and straight into the orofice of the wheel. Woohoo!
The result: a beautiful, evenly plied skein.
[very happy with my new plying unvention]
I notice now the difference between spinning commercial "top" or machine-combed roving, and carded rovings. The latter are harder to spin fine and produce much hairier singles, which grip each other like crazy. The final yarn is quite fuzzy. Combed top is much easier to spin fine and produces smooth singles, is easier to get thin and is easier to ply.
This makes me think that at some point, I might have to invest in some combs, so that I can process at least some of the stash of carded rovings I have into real 4-ply sock yarn.