Spinning Alpaca!!!

A couple of years ago when I went to Woolfest I bought some Alpaca fibre to have a go at spinning a more luxurious and softer fibre than the Welsh Ewe fibre I had.

As the Alpaca was a bit smelly and dusty I washed it straight away and hand carded it. As I wasn’t very experienced at spinning I decided to keep it until I was a bit better.

I have tried spinning Zwartbles fleece and of course the Welsh Ewe fleece which I had dyed in all sorts of colours and finally decided to have a go at the Alpaca.

I had already hand carded the Alpaca so weighed it and separated it into 4 bundles. This is one bundle. Isn’t it a gorgeous bundle of softness!!!

carded

The first thing I had to do was of course spin the Alpaca into single yarns so that I could 2-ply it. I had heard that with Alpaca you need to over-spin it a bit as it will lose the twist once spun up.

I used the smallest whorl I had on the Kromski Symphony Spinning Wheel and set to spinning a bobbin full.

single

I was reasonably pleased with how the first bobbin of singles came out so continued with the other 3 bobbins. It came out quite fine but was still a bit bumpy in places and not very even, but not bad for my first attempt at spinning Alpaca.

singles

Once all 4 bobbins were spun up I 2-plied it with extra twist. I was really worried that I had over-spun the Alpaca at this stage.

2-ply

I was reasonably happy with how it was going so continued with the other bobbin.

2-ply b

2 ply c

The next step was to wind the bobbins into skeins with my niddy noddy (this is one stage I forgot to take pics of).

Once they were skeined up I soaked the skeins in the sink and then hung them up to dry with a small bit of tension by using 2 clothes hangers.

blocking

I was really surprised with how the skeins of Alpaca came out. I had thought I had over-spun them but it turned out that I had not put enough twist into them in the end.

skeined

skeined b

All in all I enjoyed my experience at spinning the Alpaca up and will definitely be doing it again. It came out really light, soft and fluffy and I am looking forward to knitting with it.

The one tip I would give is to add the extra twist…if you think you have put enough in put some more as a lot of it does come out. The next time I spin Alpaca it will be via batts as I will be using my Ashford Drumcarder so will let you know of any differences I find between the 2 different fibre preparations.

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2 thoughts on “Spinning Alpaca!!!

  1. wow! The spinning looks really impressive. We found alpaca near impossible to do anything with unless mixed with a bit of smelly old sheep. But then, it was our first attempt -two of us complete novice spinners on a borrowed spinning wheel under the instruction of someone more expert. Actually my 8 yr old son was the best of all of us. Got the technique straight away!
    p.s. Just found your blog. It’s fab.

    Like

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