First batt, uneven spinning, first cabled yarn, success.

The finished product.
Months ago I fell head over heels for a blue-purple-red "Kitchen Sink Batt" at Downtown Yarns. I was super excited to spin it. But I was also less attached to an idea of what I wanted it to be than I am to some of the other fiber in my stash. This made it a good option for experimenting since, although I am not unskilled, the reality is that I am a novice spinner.

Two-fourths of my batt. I flipped one strip to show the colors of the underside.

I decided to try making a cabled yarn. To do this I divided the batt into fourths and spun four singles. I then plied two and two together (in the opposite direction) so that I had two 2-plies, which I then plied together (in the same direction as the singles) to make a 4-ply cabled yarn.

A cross-section of the batt.

I was lucky to have chosen this way of plying because it served to make my yarn much more even then it would have been otherwise. Although I'm sure a more experienced spinner could have spun lovely even singles out if this batt, the preparation of the batt combined with the wide variety of lengths of fiber and abundance of neps made me decide not to fight its desire to become a sort of thick and thin yarn. The batt contained alpaca, cashmere, merino, BFL, and silk, and they did not appear to be evenly mixed which lead to me occasionally letting a whole clump of fiber through at once (the "thick" part). The fiber was also not well aligned. Now, I like to spin from the fold and have so far preferred less processed, "crunchy", wooly fibers, so perhaps the problem was a combination of the preparation and the slickness and softness of the fibers. But, there were definitely clumps of "U" shaped fibers leading to other unavoidable lumps. 

The finished bobbin of two-ply.

Despite the thick and thin quality of my singles, the finished yarn is surprisingly even. Plying hides imperfections well, and the fact that the last plying tightened my singles slightly meant that the thickest parts were not allowed to expand as much as they otherwise would have. 

My four-ply cabled yarn.

I will say though that the singles themselves were incredibly beautiful. The unevenness seemed to suit it. However, given the fiber content I thought plying was the right option to make it more durable. And now the question that remains is what will I knit out of it? 

The finished product, ready for knitting.