Sunday, 6 May 2012

First attempt at preparing Alpaca

Being the kind of person that I am, in that if I am going to learn to do something I want to have a full understanding of the process from start to finish, I purchased some raw Alpaca fleece from a local Alpaca Farm called Aston Alpacas, just across the county border in Leicestershire, whom I first came into contact with at The Whitacres and Shustoke Show in the summer.

I chose three different colour fleeces that appealed to me and here are the alpacas that the fleeces came from.

First up is gorgeous girl Giselle...

next we have pretty Amorcita...

and bringing up the rear is this lovely chap, Orlando.

Don't you just want to run your hands through their lovely coats!

Before doing anything with the fleeces I watched lots of know-how videos on You Tube and then I prepared Giselle's fleece.  I started by "picking it out", this is basically pulling it apart finely, which allows most of the dirt to fall out, so best do this over a bin or some newspaper and removing any large pieces of organic matter (hay, grass etc) and any really short knarly bits.  Next I placed some of the fleece in one of those "delicate garment wash bags" and plunged it into hot soapy water and pushed it down without agitating it, to avoid it felting, and let it soak for about an hour.  I then lifted the bag out, emptied the water and refilled the sink with more hot soapy water and done the same again.  The final soak was in plain hot water.  The next stage is to allow it to dry naturally before hand carding the fibre ready for spinning.

The raw fleece

 after being picked out

being soaked

 out to dry

close up of drying


ready to spin

This is the resulting yarn.  I added a tiny amount of Mulberry Silk as I spun so this is 97% Alpaca, 3% Mulberry Silk.  There is 169g/193m of 2ply yarn.  I realise my spinning is not very good yet, I haven't been spinning long.

I will prepare the other two fleeces later in the year when the weather warms up.

I hope you have found this blog post interesting, informative, educational or maybe it has inspired you to learn something new...

click to discover more about Alpaca

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