I love the alpaca seconds I was gifted with.
Due to the time consuming nature of cleaning these bags of alpaca I have decided to give Tour De Fleece a miss this year. This is an event that lasts as long as the Tour de France and involves challenges, rest days, and more just as the bicycling event. More than that it involves spinning everyday. While that is an overarching goal of mine, I would also like to focus on ensuring that I have this alpaca clean and ready to spin for the fall and winter. During these warm days as well as these rainy days I hope to take advantage of the weather, setting the fleece out on my brand new sweater racks while it is raining to wash them in a natural way, as well as setting them out in the sun to make sure that they are as dry as possible before I begin the next step in processing them. I am also hoping to comb or card out the fleeces before the snow comes, this will allow me to dispose of the fluff I cannot use in an eco-friendly way. Putting it out to be used as lining for animal homes or to decompose as mulch.
Flicking open the locks where I am able to and carding what does not flick is a time consuming process. For some of the coarsest seconds I attempted to turn the fur into batts, I managed to get three batts done, but I do not know if they will spin up very well. I plan on trying to spin them in a regular manner and if that does not seem to work, core spinning them. If it turns out that I hate spinning these batts, I do plan on gifting them to whomever wants them from my Guild. I hope to do this before my next batch of fleece is dry, that way I will know if this is a viable option for preparation.
That may have to wait though, I am currently spinning my June Box from Paradise Fibers, I am spinning the last third of those singles. The first two are pictured below.
My original intention was to ply the three bobbins together, however it is possible that they will be too muddy when I am done. Because of this concerns I will probably do a test sample to knit up, once I decide if I like that or not I will either ply all of them together or spin up a white single to ply with these.
Whew, that will keep me busy for a while!
Using my Brother Drum Carder and my Howard Hand Cards I managed to create a really amazing set of fiber preparations. The rolags at the left are from my handcards, I really like how they turned out. The middle was carded as a striped batt on my drum carder, I put it through the carder once and added a lot of sparkle that is not showing up here.
The single color batts were put through the drum carder once, again with a lot of sparkle added. The final batt looks red on one side, purple on the other, and has every color in between (along with a ton of sparkle). I tried to show the colors using the spots where I ‘nibbled’ it off of my drum carder, but they don’t show too well.
I am really looking forward to spinning each of these yarns and then plying them to make an amazing 3 ply yarn.
There are a lot of resources out there for learning how best to use a drum carder, these past three articles are a great resource for introducing a lot of the concepts involved in drum carding. This blog is probably a good one to follow also.
With this article, I especially liked the tip where the author says to hand card some of your smaller bits of fiber first to spread it out a bit more. I had never thought of that before, but it makes perfect sense to keep things thin and even.
Again this is a great article!
I had a similar experience recently with a beautiful hand dyed top I picked up from a local dyer. I wanted to create a striped batt by separating out the yellow from orange from red. The colors blended a bit more than I thought I wanted, but the end result is two fantastic batts, with sparkle (I like sparkle so I added sparkle), that I plan on spinning separately and then plying together. As soon as I am done enjoying the fluffiness that is their batt form.
Happy Crafting, and read this article. Short but sweet!
I love the newsletters I get from Strauch Fiber Equipment. They always lead me to such wonderful places. In this case the article points out, in a very quick way, a method of adding in extra materials into a batt, that goes through a drum carder, without getting extra things stuck in the drum carder. Great article!