I’ve been having a lovely time spinning alpaca given to me by a generous friend. She gave me samples of three different fleeces, white, black and what she rather fetchingly calls ‘champagne’. I’ve been combing it and spinning it two ply and I’m very happy with the results.
I told my friend how lovely I thought the alpaca was, and she gave me more! I have spun alpaca before, sometimes in quite a large quantity, but this has the longest staple I have ever seen, about 90 mm (these are the 90 mm matches I use to light to the dye pots–extra long.
I have to confess I have never washed alpaca, and it is always filthy, since alpacas roll and dust bathe. My chooks dust bathe too, and watching them, it’s no wonder that sand falls out of this fleece any time I move it! This fleece had so much dust in it that combing it was an outside activity that gave me hayfever. I spun a lot of the white fleece rinsed and combed (that stopped the hayfever at least). Then, I decided to brace myself and washed the rest of it. And that led to dyeing the unspun fibre, as it turned out. I have been working my dyepots hard experimenting toward red and…
I am getting more interesting colours on silk thread (wrapped around the cards at left) than ever before. My friends agree that the alpaca on the left, first through the dye bath, is red, then there is grey corriedale (second pass, same dye bath), more alpaca (third pass, still the same dyebath) and some still damp alpaca (fourth pass). Three cheers for the potential to spin alpaca of many colours!