Ok, guys, I think I have a few answers. Note that the emphasis here is on "a few"! First, Artis-Anne confirmed my own experience. If you have a roving where the different colors run vertically down the roving rather than horizontally across, you get a generic color when you draft it all together. If you separate the individual colors to varying extents, then you get lengths of single in those tones. The degree to which you do that and to which you allow some of the base color in the strips of other color---or not---determines the extent to which you end up with mud, barber-pole, or something in between. I didn't get mud, but I did get a variety of everything else. :-)
The color here is washed out and doesn't do the finished yarn justice; it's much richer green. But at least you see what I mean about the different hues. In this case, I split the roving into strips of deep green, yellows, and reds, but kept a bit of the base green in each of the red and yellow strips. In the final tally, I rather like what it turned out to be. The colors aren't so distinctive that they would disrupt a lace pattern, I think?
Spindles. I can't answer much about that one, Em. I've only tried the three I have: a Bosworth .7 ounce mini, a Cascabeles 1.8 ounce, and a special plying spindle from Tracy at Woolly Designs. I improvised a CD spindle when I was trying to find a large enough surface for plying, and tested it as a Navajo-style spindle and found myself uncomfortable with it. I've not tried a bottom whorl of any sort, and I'm a hair away from trying one of you-know-who's Turkish spindles. All three of those I have are a bit different. The Bossie spins quickly and easily with a thumb flick, the Cascabeles is beautiful using a thigh roll. Of those two, I find the Cascabeles is easiest for me and spins most evenly, even though it's too heavy for me to do a laceweight. Interestingly, it's the plying spindle which has one feature I like best, and I can only attribute it to Tracy's handle on ratios. The WD spindle pauses before it begins a back spin. I don't mean that it hesitates. Rather, the thing actually stops when it finishes the forward spin, and there is an incredibly long pause before it begins a backspin. Of those, the WD cost the least; you really don't need to spend 50usd to get an excellent spindle. It just depends on what you want, I think, and what you plan to use it with or for.