Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cria Alpaca

Alpaca is something I have never worked with in it's raw state.  I have seen it in roving or blended with other fibers all nice and clean waiting to be spun.  You can imagine the trepidation I felt when a poultry friend of mine wanted me to process and spin up a couple of fleeces she had from some alpacas that she had owned for a very short time.

It took me over a year to pick the fleece up from her, and another 6 months before I was brave enough to take a look.  In the meantime I had asked around the various shows I had been to, and heard some horror stories of felted fleeces, especially tricky were the baby fleeces, or the Cria fleeces.  Great, I thought, I am going to ruin them!

I began with the white Suri fleece. This fleece is more like fine Mohair, with no crimp and a lot of shine.  Can you say slippery!  I began washing very carefully a few handfuls, and using various modes of preparation, combing, carding and the drum carder.  I found that the hand carding with very fine cotton cards was the best, though I may try to spin from the combs, and not diz it off as the Top just will not hold together!

This is the raw fleece in the bag.
Clean locks!

Combed Top on the bottom.

It is spinning up really well, I will Navajo 3- Ply this yarn mostly because I know she is going to be knitting with it.

The black fleece is Huacaya, which is more like Cashmere,very fine, not as shiny as the Suri, but still slippery!  This fleece is not as dirty as the white was, and I think I am going to treat it a little differently.  I think I am going to first do a sample skein spinning directly from the locks, before I wash them!  I will flick the ends with a dog brush and spin either from the fold (middle) of the lock or from the butt end (the cut end).  I will then soak it and see how it comes out. There is a little vegetable matter, but that should come out easily.

So far things are going well, I just hope they continue that way!

I am also busy weaving up napkins for wedding presents and Mothers Day presents, they weave up quickly and easily, but you still have to do it! White on White is stunning, and I have done some using a tan weft that are equally as nice.  I will post about that on Friday on Loomy Tunes, the blog of the Tuesday Weavers of the Appalachian Arts Craft Center of Norris Tn.

Dear One is out of town this week, and my calendar is stuffed, with the Weaving and Spinning, it is glorious, I couldn't ask for more!

Until next time, Happy Weaving and Spinning, Tina


  1. A spinning experiment!!! I'm looking forward to seeing how it spins up...very interesting. That lace will make lovely napkins!

  2. Sounds very interesting. It will be fun to see how that spins up.