Saturday, April 20, 2013

Suri Alpaca is on the wheel

My fiber fascination continues with spinning Suri Alpaca.  This isn't your typical alpaca. There are two varieties of alpaca, the huacaya (wooly type) and the suri (with long sleek locks).  90 to 93 percent of alpacas are huacaya and only 7 to 10 percent are suri.
Alpacas of America provides a nice description of these wonderful fiber animals.

Suri Alpaca
I purchased a blanket of suri fleece at a Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival many years ago.

I lightly carded the locks prior to spinning.  It is spinning like a dream.  The carding loosens up any VM and it falls aways.

Alpaca is heavier than wool and does not have the elasticity. It is also slipperier than wool.  I am spinning it with a bit more twist than wool and am plying it loosely to keep it soft and encourage drape.  I plan to knit  a shawl with this black alpaca and  use my handspun English Angora for an accent design.
unwashed skein

  I will wash the yarn with dish washing liquid in warm water to clean it and to set the twist. My hands turned black from the spinning of the unwashed fiber.  The rinse will also be in warm water and I may follow this up with a wash in Eucalan.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Spinning out of the zone...

comfort zone
I have a comfort zone for spinning.  I like to make a 2-ply yarn.  Most of my fibers are happy becoming this type of yarn.   And, most of my projects use this type of yarn.   

However, I like to develop new skills so

 I continue to experiment with other techniques and designs, like the corespinning and now this...

I wanted to create something completely different that will work with the other yarns in my collection.
This is what I came up with...

I spun my fave 2 ply yarn and inserted the dyed locks while plying.  The challenge being in preserving the locks and making them secure.  

I've been tugging at the locks in the knitted swatch to ensure the yarn's integrity.  It is stable, and getting a little fluffier.  This art yarn will work well in a project with the 2ply purple and with the overdyed fushisa yarn.  
overdyed yarn 

Saturday, April 6, 2013

A new beginning - overdye

With Easter and Spring come thoughts of New Beginnings.... I had this sweater that I didn't much like...the fit, the color but I loved the yarn.  I knit it from my handspun angora and wool.  It's been sitting in Area 51 for some time now waiting for me to do something with it. 
In an attempt to give it new life, I frogged it.  I spun up the rest of the angora/wool fiber matching the yarn I had spun for the cabled sweater I frogged. 
 And, into the dye pot it went....
I put three skeins in with blue acid wash dye. Not all the dye was exhausted so I added the rest of the skeins until the dye bath was clear.    This produced three blue skeins and several peach with a little blue.  I mixed up some fuchsia dye and added it to the existing dye pot.  Then added the two tone skeins until the dye bath was clear.  

This is what I ended up with. 

I like the colors better than the peach.  The yarn is so soft with a little halo.... Not sure what I'll make of it.  I'm thinking of weaving with it.   

I'll call it progress... moving a UFO and roving from Fiber Stash to Yarn Stash.  

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Save that blowing coat...the dog hair brushings

Its that time of year when our loving canines (and other pets) blow their coat... Why not turn it into a keepsake?  

Start by saving the brushings....
Chow Chow brushings
Pyrenees brushings

 Meet a few of the loving animals that  I've spun the fur of
Jersey Woolie

Chow Chow

English Angora

  See the yarns produced....
Jersey Woolie
English Angora

 And a few of the treasured keepsakes that have been made....

Chow Chow afghan

Chow Chow scarf

Chow Chow throw

Malamute mittens
  If you have any questions, please contact me or visit my shop for the custom spinning listing.

For Frequently Asked Questions about Chiengora (dog hair yarn) see this blog entry.