I spun six samples of yarn for the Wolkig Cowl, and each time I was wrong about what I wanted.
First I spun four singles, I was sure the yarn I wanted would be one of these. I spun two with a worsted draft and two with a woolen draft. For each set I spun the top in two directions vertically from the end and from the fold.
In the first photo, the singles top to bottom are worsted drafted from the end, worsted drafted from the fold, woolen drafted from the end, and woolen drafted from the fold.
The singles did what I thought they would, the worsted was sleek and dark and the woolen was lighter and showed more fluctuation in color. The yarns spun from the end looked marled and those spun from the fold, speckled and had variation in where the colors landed. They were fine, albeit a little overspun for a stand-alone single, but I just didn't like them.
The worsted drafted yarns swallowed up a lot of the subtleness of colors, and the woolens just didn't do it for me. I really thought the worsted from the fold was going to be my yarn, smooth yet with a air and a speckled color due to spinning from the fold. It does that, but I don't much like it. I will knit a wee sample to be sure.
Here's where being a spinning is the best. Those four singles yarns are what the pattern calls for, they are the most like the commercial yarn the designer used, but I don't want to use them. I don't much like how they look, they don't show off the fiber enough - I can't even see the sparkle! I'm also concerned about instant pilling with the woolen singles. Since I spin, I can take the parts I like about those four yarns, as well as match the gauge of the project and come up with a yarn that I do want to use, something that highlights the fiber and might protect the yarn a little from pilling.
Based on the singles above I knew I wanted a woolen drafted yarn, with an additional ply. I spun two, one from the end (woolen draft on worsted prep) and one from the fold (woolen draft on woolen prep). Yes, this is much more of what I wanted! I couldn't catch the sparkle in the photos, but it's there. Again I was surprised, I thought the yarn spun from the fold was going to be my yarn, I almost didn't sample the yarn spun from the end.
In the second photo, the top yarn is drafted woolen from the end and the bottom yarn is drafted woolen from the fold.
It's the 2-ply yarn, drafted woolen from the end that I like the most.
Next, I'm going to knit small samples to check gauge and measure all of the bits of my yarn before I start spinning for the project.
This amount of sampling took an afternoon and used just over an ounce of fiber, not much time or fiber.