Made from scrap

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Sunday, 28 April 2013

Happy To Be In A Spin

Not only did last week zoom past in a blur, I can not believe it was two years ago since we had our Alpaca Adventure.  My concept of time is all over the place.  Does it happen like this for anyone else or is it just me?  It has been far too long since I have had some quality time with my spinning wheel, literally months.  Yesterday I had a rare couple of hours to myself and I ignored the housework piling up around me (crafters are good at turning a blind eye to the trivial stuff in favour of expressing our creative genius)!  I do not think it is a good idea to store my spinning wheel next to Bob the Budgie for long periods of time, I had to blow lots of little blue feathers away.
When we win the Lottery Euan and I would like to become farmers...we would specialise in Free Range Poultry (eggs only of course).  We would also like alpaca, pygmy goats and pigs.  Any other cute critters would be a bonus.   There is just one problem with this plan, I never buy Lottery tickets! 
  I bought a gorgeous black alpaca fleece from the farm on the day of our visit and it has sat patiently waiting for my time and attention.  I already had a white fleece.  Then somebody gave me several sacks of alpaca fleece in beautiful shades of copper and brown.  The shed is bulging at the seams with fleece as I also have several sheep varieties!  It's ok, it really is, I do not have a stash hoarding problem!  Do I?  Short of finding Rumpelstiltskin it aint gonna spin itself.  I do not believe in saving the best until last.  Life is too short.  So yesterday I chose to start spinning with the best fleece I have.  The fleece belonged to a handsome male alpaca called Ace.  Ace is sadly no more and I see it as a fine tribute to him if I can turn his fleece into something beautiful.  I have a preference for using locally sourced fleece where possible.
 This is 'raw' fleece, unwashed.  You can see it has a good crimp.  We spinners admire such things as 'crimp'. I really am no expert but I know this fleece is a beauty and I have spun some beasts!  My very first fleece was a Hebridean that looked like it came of a sasquatch and I knitted Bullet Proof Socks.  You can wash and card your alpaca fleece if you prefer but I am spinning it in the raw, unwashed state.  Individual spinners each have their own preference, there is no right or wrong way to do it it my humble opinion.  Alpaca fleece has no lanolin like wool, it has no grease and no smell, alpaca are much cleaner than sheep.  Alpaca do not get mucky but they do like a dust bath and there is a very small amount of grass seeds and vegetable matter in the fleece but I just take it out as I spin.  It feels very natural and organic to spin this way.
 Slowly but surely this bobbin will fill up.  Then I will fill another bobbin and ply the two together.  I have Navaho plied alpaca before for peg loom weaving and I had a very chunky yarn.  Some of you may remember my 'Trouble with Tribbles'.   Navajo plying creates a 3 ply yarn.  I am aiming for something finer and will two ply this.  This is a long slow process and this fleece will keep me busy for months.  I have delusions of grandeur that I will be wearing a beautiful, hand knit or crochet, alpaca cardigan.  I may be waiting a few years.  It is a good job I am in no rush.
          Alpaca fleece has some amazing qualities over wool I blogged about it Here last year and there is a photograph too of my fleece mountain!   Come the 'Alpacalips' this fleece mountain of mine will be a real asset.
XXX 

24 comments:

  1. Gorgeous - I think spinning will always be a mystery to me:)

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  2. Hello Lucy

    Keep in mind I am a total ignoramus where spinning is concerned but a few thoughts are coursing through my mind as I look at this wonderful black fleece:
    first the instant impression:
    gorgeous
    lovely and warm
    authentic natural colour black not boosted up with a dye
    and now the queries
    What is it like to use as a yarn for knitting or crochet (I've never worked with a real natural fibre straight off the wheel) ?
    How much yarn will you actually get out of that bagful?

    and in all the whole experience of spinning your own yarn and later making a smashing garment with it and even more wearing it sounds super great to me :-)

    keep well

    Amanda xx

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    1. I think you would be a natural spinner...your first impressions tell me you have a radar for fine fleece and yarn! lol Alpaca is a very warm fibre, scientifically the structure of the fibres make it one of the warmest. Many spinners blend alpaca with wool. I have spoken to people who have made 100% alpaca garments and they have said they are too warm. Alpaca does not have the elasticity of wool that is why many people blend fibres. I find it easier to knit with handspun than crochet but I can do both. I would like to crochet more handspun. I have not weighed the whole fleece so I really can't predict how much yarn I will get I am thinking well over 1kg. Natural fibres and acrylic are very different to work with...you know me though I like both. You can't beat a selection of brightly coloured acrylic! You really should treat yourself to some 'natural fibre' yarn for the experience. It is perfect for hats and gloves and small garments. Why not go all out and get a spinning wheel, or drop spindle. Do you need me to lead you astray any more? xxx

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    2. Thank you Lucy for this very interesting reply. I found it so interesting I've been looking on Google Spain to see where I can buy a spinning wheel but then I thought perhaps I was jumping the gun a little and I should really see if there are any spinning workshops in this area. I haven't bee successful on google the nearest one is Valencia ....too far away. However, walking to work I saw a lady in her patio lacemaking and I was cheeky enough to ask her if she knew of a crafts centre in Alicante. She didn't but her sister did and she is going to ask her to get the address and I'm to go back and get it...how about that for networking.
      I agree with you I'm going to see if I can buy some natural fibre yarn and get the feel of working with it. This is all quite exciting really shame I have to work too. :-)

      keep well

      Amanda xx

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  3. Hi There, Interesting!!!! You should show us a lot more!!! I don't know anything about this craft!!! It sounds amazing!!!
    Love
    AMarie

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    1. I have a page that links to other spinning projects I have done. It does need updating though. I have had fun making handspun beaded yarns. I handspun and crocheted the Solar system...ok my moon looked like a banana but we can get past that and it won a prize, I think based on the comedy factor. I have also spun different fibres and blogged about it, including silk, nettle, several sheep breeds (the fleece all have different qalities) camel, yak, rabbit, dog...I look at most furry creatures now and wonder 'Hmmm could I spin you?'. It is a lovely, relaxing and organic craft...you should find someone with a wheel and have a go. xxx

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  4. aww it sound so amazing..
    lots of love for you x

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  5. amazing post lucy have you got your mojo back ? love it , going over to check out your link to your alpaccas fleece , oh and if we win the lottery I will share that farm with you , If you will have me that is

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    1. Joan I am sure we would have amazing fun! You can take the early mornings...the cold, wet weather and any poorly animals...I am only good at all the happy bits! I do tend to view 'farming' through my rose tinted 'townie' specs! xxx

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    2. Sorry I don,t do mornings , perhaps we could hire an andy sudden type person , while we have a lay in

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    3. Oops I mean andy sugden eg emmerdale

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    4. That sounds like a fantastic plan. . . we can delegate all the nasty bits! lol

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  6. Love the fleece. When I win the lotto I will get a bigger garden with room for my allotment and chickens. We all have to have our dreams.

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    1. :) you gotta keep dreaming. Chickens are such good fun and make hilarious pets. They don't take up much room at all. . .just saying. . . xxx

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  7. Gorgeous black alpaca! Your spinning is very fine and uniform. I can't wait to see it 2 plied! I'm happy to see you happier! ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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    1. I think this is particularly black alpaca. You can get different shades of black. I am trying hard to get this yarn even but it is taking a while. Is your spinning wheel busy at the moment? (((Hugs))) back at ya. xxx

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  8. Love Alpaca's and your spinning looks very neat. Never tried it myself as hate to think the mess I
    would make lol. Have just posted a grand tea swap to a cousin of mine who I know will be surprised.

    wendy in oz

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    1. You would love spinning...and well done for keeping the tea flowing, I am going to get around to posting to everyone on the list, if it kills me. . . which I am sure it won't. :) x

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  9. Beautiful spinning, Lucy! The only alpaca fiber spinning I have done has resulted in thick, lumpy, yarn. You inspire me to try again someday. Until then I will enjoy watching your creativity :-) My daughters and I long to raise chickens, and rabbits and miniature sheep and goats...we are kindred spirits with you and Euan...hmmm we don't buy lottery tickets either....
    xx,
    Gracie

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    1. I think the fact that I am spinning a fine yarn like this is down to the quality of the fleece. I can't quite believe that without washing or prepping it is spinning so smoothly and easily. I love thick, lumpy yarn...it is a good job too as it is a specialism of mine! I think owning 'critters' is like having children, you conveniently remember all the good bits and forget all the bad bits. My chickens were much more fun to keep during the Spring and Summer. It was not so fun when everything was freezing and it was blowing a gale. xxx

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  10. Ahhh, you sound like me.....I would have a large(ish) ranch with all the rescue dogs....pygmy goats and pigs...maybe a miniature horse or two also.....but like you, I say "when I win the lottery " but I never play the lottery! LOL

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  11. The spinning looks brilliant! I have a neighbour who spins and I am hoping that she will teach me how to do it at some point.
    Now...go and buy a lottery ticket (although if I ever win, I will buy you a farm!)

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I appreciate and enjoy reading all of the feedback from your comments. Thank you for taking the time to stop by and sharing your thoughts. Sadly I have found it necessary to enable word verification, something I was trying to avoid...but I am receiving an unmanageable deluge of Spam! We don't want that do we? xxx :)