My very own alpaca


No, I did not come home from the Rare Breeds show with a new furry friend; just the fur.

1 rawI’ve been trying to work out the status of all this fleece; it isn’t greasy like raw sheep, and is beautifully soft and fluffy, but nevertheless is leaving a slightly grubby deposit on my hands as I work it.  Perhaps someone brushed and hosed down the alpaca before shearing?  It would be easier than trying to wash all these short curls afterwards.

To card or not to card?  I’m sure you’re meant to.  For the test piece, however, this was decided by impatience and not owning any hand carders (which by the way cost significant money).

2 plyingI spun a thinnish but irregular and fluffy single, plying it from an Andean bracelet which miraculously did not tangle.  I think the staple must vary somewhat in length, as I found some handfuls much easier to spin than others, which broke persistently and frustratingly.

3 skeinEventually I produced a tiny skein, washed it, tangled its fluffy bits, dried it, cursed it, and wound it off to a ball.  The sample square is knitted on tens (3.25 mm to the young).  If I say it myself, the gently speckled fabric feels lovely – light, flexible, and obviously would be as warm as toast.

4 fabricSo back to my problem:  carding will cost in cash and time.  To card, or not to card?


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