Friday, 5 June 2009

Caramel Alpaca

The whole recent spinning thing was instigated by a random conversation with a friend of my in-laws 18 months ago. She has five alpacas of varying colours that she keeps and I asked where she sold their fleeces onto when they were sheared. 'Nowhere' came the reply 'we just throw them away'. I was really surprised by this and explained that alpaca is a lovely fibre to knit with and that surely some small-scale spinner would use them...

...skip forward a few months and the in-laws came to visit. My FIL handed me a large sturdy carrier bag full of caramel coloured alpaca fluff. They'd been sheared and could I use some?

At that time, I didn't know how to spin and wasn't sure that I really wanted to learn (there's only so much time and another fibre-related obsession would detract from knitting time). The idea must have grown on me though, as, a couple of months later I bought a drop spindle at Woolfest, then recently I learned to use it and bought the hand carders needed to card the fleece.

I've been combing raw, unwashed fleece into these light and airy rolags...

Which spin up into a fairly fine single.

I then navajo-plied them and washed the yarn in the skein.

The finished product is a little underspun so I'm going to work on that in the next batch, but for now, I have about 100m of caramel coloured 100% alpaca yarn processed entirely from the raw fleece by hand.

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