These are the swatches from experiment #2. I had aimed for fingering weight across the yarns and succeeded, for the most part. There were slight variations, but they were all mostly consistent. This singles yarn looked to be energised in the skein even after washing, but as you can see from the swatch, turned out to be reasonably balanced after all.
This is the singles swatch. My suspicions were correct, attenuating the piece of the batt blended the colours somewhat. I used the same needle as for previous swatches (3 mm), and the same number of stitches cast on (30). I knitted until I ran out of yarn.
This is the swatch from 2-ply. Same needles, same amount of stitches, there is a small amount of yarn left.
This is the swatch from 3-ply. Same needles, same amount of stitches, did not use up all the yarn. I need to figure out what to do with all the tufts of yarn left over. Knit into another swatch, maybe?
Clockwise from the top left: 3-ply, 2-ply, singles, and a sample card. Like this, side by side, it is easy to see how blended the single yarn is, and how there is no difference between 2-ply and 3-ply. Which means that this method of prepping the batt is out of running for the method of spinning my original black/orange batt.
For the next experiment, I'm thinking that I'll skip the Z-stripped method. The reason being that it is a combination of experiments #1 and #2, so the resulting blending of colours would be somewhere between them as well. Since my goal is to find the method that gives me black strips interspersed with orange flecks/strips, Z-stripped is out of running too. Any attenuation will blend the colours, and that is the effect I do not want.
Next up will be 'From the fold' or 'Fauxlags', I haven't quite decided yet.