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