Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Processing Alpaca Fiber...ooooooh

Just about a year ago, I blogged about going to Alpaca on the Rocks, where I enjoyed myself immensely: petting the animals, talking to the breeders, fondling the fibers and yarn, and dropping a few $$. One of the fibers: the Suri Alpaca raw fiber was a generous gift from a breeder when I told her I had no experience with Suri. It went from this:

to this after washing, carding, and spinning:

A second fiber I purchased was Huacaya Alpaca fiber in black. This was washed, but still unprocessed in any other way. I thought I would show the steps I took finally this week, to bring this fiber from its very natural state to spun.
Straight out of the bag, this is what it looked like. You could see the original curls and feel the softness. But it would be necessary to fluff out the fibers and line them up somewhat for even spinning. On Ravelry last year, I purchased from another Raveler a pair of Ashford Handcards and began to work this fiber. It is almost like brushing out a dog for smoothness.
Several passes on the cards is followed by rolling the batt into a rolag

From this stage, I spun on my wheel and these are how nice the singles look!

So, that is the process from start to finish. Of course, if you have raw DIRTY fiber, then there are the added steps of washing, rinsing, and drying the fiber to get to the point where you can begin to card it. I plan on making the singles into two ply fiber and then maybe knitting a black and white hat with the white alpaca above. I was bound and determined to finished this fiber up before this weekend because guess what.....Alpaca on the Rocks is here again and with all that I have learned this year, I may invest in lots more fiber!

Start to finish: right to left, without the live animal which did not fit on the ironing board!


Iron Needles said...

Love the black! Can you link me the Alpaca on the Rocks info? I actually have a free weekend, and may make it down there.

lunaticraft said...

Oooo.... Yummy. It all looks so delightfully soft and squishy!