Sunday, 6 May 2012

First attempt at preparing Alpaca

Being the kind of person that I am, in that if I am going to learn to do something I want to have a full understanding of the process from start to finish, I purchased some raw Alpaca fleece from a local Alpaca Farm called Aston Alpacas, just across the county border in Leicestershire, whom I first came into contact with at The Whitacres and Shustoke Show in the summer.

I chose three different colour fleeces that appealed to me and here are the alpacas that the fleeces came from.

First up is gorgeous girl Giselle...

next we have pretty Amorcita...

and bringing up the rear is this lovely chap, Orlando.

Don't you just want to run your hands through their lovely coats!

Before doing anything with the fleeces I watched lots of know-how videos on You Tube and then I prepared Giselle's fleece.  I started by "picking it out", this is basically pulling it apart finely, which allows most of the dirt to fall out, so best do this over a bin or some newspaper and removing any large pieces of organic matter (hay, grass etc) and any really short knarly bits.  Next I placed some of the fleece in one of those "delicate garment wash bags" and plunged it into hot soapy water and pushed it down without agitating it, to avoid it felting, and let it soak for about an hour.  I then lifted the bag out, emptied the water and refilled the sink with more hot soapy water and done the same again.  The final soak was in plain hot water.  The next stage is to allow it to dry naturally before hand carding the fibre ready for spinning.

The raw fleece

 after being picked out

being soaked

 out to dry

close up of drying


ready to spin

This is the resulting yarn.  I added a tiny amount of Mulberry Silk as I spun so this is 97% Alpaca, 3% Mulberry Silk.  There is 169g/193m of 2ply yarn.  I realise my spinning is not very good yet, I haven't been spinning long.

I will prepare the other two fleeces later in the year when the weather warms up.

I hope you have found this blog post interesting, informative, educational or maybe it has inspired you to learn something new...

click to discover more about Alpaca

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Spinning of pre-dyed Teeswater locks

Following on from my post regarding the preparation of the pre-dyed Teeswater locks that I got off Ebay, I had to decide what I wanted to do with my little piles of different coloured combed locks.    I spun all of the red/pink and the red/white into a single, mixing the colours up as I went.  I then spun all of the red/yellow and the red/green into a second single, again mixing the colours up as I went.  

I then plied these two singles together to create a 2-ply yarn which weighed 123g and was approx 106m long.  I made a simple scarf with a button fastening with the finished yarn.

I had a bit of left over on the red/pink and red/white bobbin and so plied this back on itself to create a little skein of yarn which weighed 16g and measured 15m.  I donated this little skein to my kids school for their craft work.

With the blue/green combed locks I made a pretty single ply yarn which weighed 20g and measured approx 59m.  I made a beaded lace headband with this yarn.

Click to discover more about Teeswater sheep