By and large, I got this question the most while we were in Pagosa. So the last couple of days, I’ve been experimenting to show much better that it’s all in how you spin it. So I started with this roving: 4 oz of canyon shadows. Link goes to the actual item in my etsy shop. This is 4 oz of superwash roving, photographed during unbraiding.
I split this into 4 equal pieces of equal color repeats.
I spun up a singles after splitting one of the pieces into four and spinning in sequence:
Then I spun up a 2-ply after splitting the yarn into 8 pieces, spinning in sequence, and plying with itself:
Then I split it into 12 equal parts and chain-plied the yarn to make a 3-ply.
For the final yarn, I decided to go an entirely different direction. I split the roving into individual colors and spun them individually, plied it with itself, and captured mohair locks in between the plies.
Here are all 4 skeins together. You can see how different they look in the skein:
Then I knit swatches. Not traditional swatches, but corner to corner diagonal ‘swatches’ knit like the dishcloth pattern, in garter stitch. All four swatches were knit on the same needles.
First, the singles. They knit up soft and smooshy, and definitely striped.
Then the 2-ply. The colors blend together a little more, but they’re all still there.
Now, the chain-plied 3-ply. You can see how defined the stitches are, and you can tell I (mostly) kept the colors together when I plied, as the swatch is still definitely striped.
Now for the really fun one. The mohair yarn. The swatch didn’t even go through half of the yarn, so I only got a little color difference, but that’s not the main attraction, because the mohair is fluffy and silky.
Here are all four swatches together. All spun from the same exact roving, the same exact colors.
So when I say ‘it depends’ when you ask “What will this roving look like spun up?”, this is what I mean. We braid our roving to put all of the colors next to the other colors, so you can see what’s going on, and what the colors look like next to each other. It’s all up to you as to what your finished item will look like. That’s the fun of spinning, you get to decide what your yarn will look like, you get to knit or crochet or weave your yarn, and you have full control over the project from beginning to end.