So it turns out I shouldn't have set the yarn before plying it. Anyone have any good projects involving singles yarn?
This is my very first spindle-full of yarn. It makes me hoppy-skippy-happy to look at my lovely skeins. I split the yarn in two, because there's a very clear point about halfway through the spindle-full of yarn when I suddenly 'get' the whole drafting thing, and you can see that the two skeins are very different in thickness, evenness and, shall we say, use-ability?
As this involved digging my spindle out of the Bottomless Pile of Craft Stuff, I couldn't resist starting on another yarn, this time to be plied before setting! It seems that whatever secret I suddenly discovered at that half way point has been lost because my new yarn is a bit slubby and the drop spindle keeps, well, dropping. I'm sure I can rediscover it, though! All the bloggers I read who spin say that it really comes down to practice.