The frustrations I outlined in my previous posts got the better of me and I took a holiday from fiber for a while. That means a holiday from blogging as well. But recently I have at least picked up the baby cable socks - and am finally past the toes! - and am spinning again.
Much as I enjoy spinning, I hate, hate, hate plying. That is because I find it awkward, plus I am never very satisfied with the result. In October, I went to a spin-in at my enabler's shop and brought along some yarn I had spun from BFL top to be critiqued. Betty confirmed that the ply could be tighter, but otherwise thought it was a fine skein of yarn.
At this same spin-in, I was spinning a fine thread of some unknown roving. Another spinner commented on the fineness and suggested I move the drive belt on my wheel a notch, to achieve a tighter twist. This made a big difference! About a week later (I'm a little slow), it occurred to me that I could do the same when plying - move the belt a notch to put more twist into the yarn when plying without having to change my already awkward technique.
Since I had more BFL singles, I tested this idea. And it worked! Previously, I was getting 3.5 to 4 twists per inch, now it is more like 5 to 6. That doesn't sound like a big difference, but I could see right away that the yarn looked "smarter" (if that makes any sense).
I still have a ways to go before I achieve better consistency in both spinning and plying, but I feel like I am finally making some progress.