The blue merino is being spun up using the quick and dirty rolag method I found on Southern Cross Fiber's blog. I did not begin preparing the wool this way until I was about halfway through the first skein. As a result, I've stumbled upon a side effect that, while it makes perfect sense in hindsight, wasn't something I'd considered before beginning.
I had started by just pulling off an end of the roving and spinning that tuft with the fibers all aligned. It resulted in excellent color preservation. Very small areas of sharply different color were preserved in the single. After I started preparing the “rolags” before spinning, I noticed that my color variations were being muted and smeared. Gradations from one color to another are more gradual and more subtle.
These rolags are formed by taking a tuft from the end of the roving and gently pull the individual fibers apart width-wise forming a sheet. Then I place the sheet of fibers on my work surface (leg, table, whatever) and roll it from one end of the fiber to the other.
As a result these two small skeins will be ever so slight different: one with sharper, faster contrasts and the other more subtle and muted. Both of which I love and only I (and you) will know the difference.