So, you have to love an enabler. I went to a local fiber store that happened to have Ashford bobbins for only $8 apiece, which is less than you can get them anywhere online. I decided to take a spin through the roving she had, and picked out a lovely brown and blue roving. The blue is dyed merino, the brown is natural alpaca. The owner said it would be a very nice starting fiber. I was thinking I'd get just enough to get started, and wanted about 4-5 ounces. She weighed it and said it'd only be about $18 for the whole thing, 11.5 ounces. So I bought it all. Got to love commercializm and enterprizing. I did stay within budget, however!
Here's the pic of my lovely purchase, next to my less-than-lovely computer. I'll post more as I get it spun up.
I'm actually planning on starting spinning by taking apart some of the Joanne Sensations "Licorice" yarn. It actually starts off looking like some plied handspun, and when the plies are taken apart, it drafts much like roving, in the places where it it lumpy. This way, I'm practicing on 3.5 ounces I paid a dollar for (gotta love Joanne's sales). Here's the before pic. Hopefully this evening I'll be able to post an after pic. Wish me luck!