Anyone spun alpaca? The reason I'm asking.....

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Christine
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Anyone spun alpaca? The reason I'm asking.....

Postby Christine » Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:56 pm

is because I've just bought 150g of brown raw alpaca fleece on ebay for 99p +£2 P&P. The fleece apparently came from an alpaca by the name of Bramble :lol:

A friend of mine's daughter is mad about alpacas, so I thought it would be nice to make her a scarf or cowl from some and then thought maybe I'd have a go at spinning the yarn for it myself, so as I've never spun alpaca before, this will be a bit of a try-out for me.

Any tips (other than keep away from eBay?) :D
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Re: Anyone spun alpaca? The reason I'm asking.....

Postby Blackdog » Fri Aug 27, 2010 12:19 pm

Alpaca is lovely to wear but can be a real so & so to spin, it's much more slippery than wool.

Is it clean first of all? Alpacas love to dust roll & some can be really filthy. What I'd suggest is put it into one of the zip up laundry bags, take it outside, pin it well to your washing line & either leave it to be blown around in the breeze or give it a bit of thumping, great for getting the aggression out :lol: You can of course wash it, but again be very careful if you want to maintain the lock structure, put it into a mesh laundry bag & gently lower it into warm soapy water, use a mild soap suitable for wool. It doesn't need to be hot as it's got not lanolin to take out. Rinse well & let it dry

As for prep, you can either card or comb or if you keep the lock structure intact then you can spin straight from the lock. If you want soft & fluffy then card & spin woollen from rolags. You can of course also card it with some wool to make it a bit easier to spin, Alpaca & Merino makes the most wonderful soft & squooshy yarn
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Re: Anyone spun alpaca? The reason I'm asking.....

Postby Fluzz » Fri Aug 27, 2010 1:28 pm

I've spun from the tops, it is slippy and also a lot shorter than I was used to. Also expect to find a small nest on your lap afterwards :lol: I dropped the odd fibre every time I rearranged.
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Christine
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Re: Anyone spun alpaca? The reason I'm asking.....

Postby Christine » Fri Aug 27, 2010 4:38 pm

Thanks ladies - I'll see what the fleece is like when it gets here :) Maybe a fibre to be spun with an old towel or pillowcase across the lap then? I nearly went to work the other day with a bit of BFL fibre stuck to my bum because a bit had dropped onto the bed when I was spinning earlier that day (I keep my wheel in the bedroom). Fortunately, hubby noticed just before I went out of the door :D
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Re: Anyone spun alpaca? The reason I'm asking.....

Postby Blackdog » Sat Aug 28, 2010 3:17 pm

I keep an old cotton apron for spinning, even if I wear old clothes otherwise I spend half my life going round covered in fibre. If it's not wool then it's dog hairs :lol:
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Romola
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Re: Anyone spun alpaca? The reason I'm asking.....

Postby Romola » Tue Sep 14, 2010 2:59 pm

I just started on some alpaca today - was a little disappointed as it isn't as soft as I had hoped - but I intend to ply it with some merino, silk, cashmere mixture - so we will see how it goes.

Any tips welcome - but am just flicking the ends with a dog comb to prepare it - plus using the trusty old towel over my lap.

This is my first post here - so hello everyone.

Romola

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Re: Anyone spun alpaca? The reason I'm asking.....

Postby divadoll_1 » Tue Sep 14, 2010 4:55 pm

Our spinning group has just found a source of Alpaca and as luck would have it one of the guys was actually spinning it last night. He was spinning it straight from the bag, unwashed and uncarded and it was coming up like a dream. One of the girls said she tried washing it first and found it matted VERY easily and lost integrity, but his two ply looked and felt so soft even before he had washed it, I think I will be using that method myself and then worry about cleaning it when it gets to a yarn stage.

He did say that it was the nicest stuff he had ever worked with and it did seem to be flying on the bobbin nicely.

My new year project is to get my fleece on my back by way of a cabled cardi of some sort

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Re: Anyone spun alpaca? The reason I'm asking.....

Postby Blackdog » Wed Sep 15, 2010 3:36 pm

I hand carded some of the alpaca I've got with merino & it's quite lovely, although I was spinning it at a craft fair so it might prove to be a little over twisted, I can't talk & spin very well it would seem :lol:

However I do find that alpaca needs a little bit of over twist to keep it together otherwise when it's plied it tends to come apart very easily.

Romola, not all alpaca is soft, some of it can be quite harsh & kempy & welcome to the forum.
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Re: Anyone spun alpaca? The reason I'm asking.....

Postby smallpond » Thu Sep 20, 2012 10:34 am

The blog in my sig touches upon spinning and other alpaca-related subjects.

:)


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