So Soft – Just Don’t Pet Him!


Grumpy closer

 

Look at that face! Isn’t he the cutest darn thing?

He hates being petted, which is just TOO bad because he’s SO SOFT! Last winter I’d corner him in the stall and pet his neck and he’d scream “Ewwww!” and stamp his little bitty feet. I’d laugh at him. “Too bad, Grumpy. Get over it! You’re just SO soft!”

I’ve spent most of the afternoon on the back porch, playing with Grumpy’s fleece. I’ve picked it. Carded it. Spun it and plied it.

It’s just so soft!

I don’t know what I’m going to make with it. It’s very fine and a soft creamy white.

Digital Camera

Look, you can just grab a handful and spin it just as fine as froghair, with a drop spindle. My wheel makes it into yarn so fast, the stuff just flies onto the bobbins. The yarn I plied an hour ago needs to be measured and weighed so I know about where I’m at with it.

I’ve discovered how to wash it – just soak it in water for a week. Change the water every day. Use soap and hot water the first day, leave it in the sun the rest of the week. This is a very slow process, but the fleece is just as soft and clean as it can be…after a week. If I go any faster, I get FELT. You can’t agitate this stuff. Even spinning it in the washer felts it.

Now the sad part is that Grumpy appears to have the coarsest hair of the three alpacas. But his is the longest, and the cleanest. I bag it up an ounce per bag – soak it and forget it.

I’ve got more fleece from Atlanta, but I haven’t tried to wash it up yet. I’ve washed one ounce of black llama and an ounce of mouse-colored llama.

Last weekend we went to Wampum Stompup farm. I saw the most beatiful alpacas. Fawns, red-browns and blacks that had some really dreamy looking fleece. There was one red-brown that I’d really like to buy. If he were fixed, which he isn’t.

She breeds her males. I just want geldings. No females, no babies – though her babies are adorable. They are just so hard to keep up. She’s got to deworm hers every 10 days because of some weird worm that comes from the deer.

I deworm mine twice a year. The chickens have developed a taste for Alpaca Poop that defies logic. They like it more than they like horse manure.

Well, the tractor repairman is here, gotta go!

**********

Had to make the picture bigger so you can get the full squee from that cute little face.

More Spun Fun


Digital Camera

Digital Camera

This is a photo of the lovely wool I’ve been working on for a couple months.

It’s a three ply yarn. There’s a Charcoal gray, an Antique Red, a Silver and a Dusty Rose. For some reason it reminds me of Good and Plenty candy.

It was not easy to 3-ply, for some reason it kept getting tangled in my fingers. There must have been too much twist. It washed out just fine. Lovely stuff, though.

It’s funny. Once I spin a yarn, I have nothing to say about it. My mind is blank, except for the knowledge that’s it’s done and I really enjoyed spinning it.

 

Spinning By Candlelight?


I can't believe it's really mine.

I can’t believe it’s really mine.

A really bad storm blew through last night, around 10 pm the lights went out.

I wandered through the house, pulling out a few candles and two oil lamps. I can light up the house with seven candles. I was bored enough to try spinning in by candle light. It worked out okay, though I quit after a few minutes. The alpaca I’m spinning is too pretty to play around with.

Today hubby and I carded the black llama fiber I need to finish up the last of my Christmas projects. We put quite a bit of blue firestar in it. Both a navy blue and a bright blue. There’s a really nice sparkle to it now.

Hubby also called his son to let him know his present will be late. I finished carding the chocolate llama fiber for the new hat last night. But it’s still gonna take me a couple of days to get around to it.

Merry Christmas, Bright Yule, Happy Holidays and so forth from all of us at Jordan’s Croft.

Cottage Industry – Fiber Anyone?


Digital Camera

I’ve been browsing Etsy.com and ebay.com, looking at fiber offerings.

This is quite a cottage industry – isn’t it? I’ve seen hundreds of offers from dozens of vendors. That’s a whole lot more than I thought I’d find.

The prices are pretty high, which is good for the vendors. I don’t know all the places to look for fiber/fleece/wool, but I’m learning a lot from just bouncing around the interwebz. I’m very, very glad that I was able to get Tonka and Sabre – because I’m really into alpaca fiber.

I bought a Kitten carding machine from Fancy Kitty of Missouri. They have a terrific sale going on, 5% off orders that ship in the next few days. Mine shipped today, I should see it next week. Not in time to get all the Christmas gifts out, but I’ll have it for the other bags of fiber.

I’m going to NEED it for all that fiber. There are still 5 bags I haven’t touched, and half a crate each of black, appalousa and chocolate, plus a bag of washed Jacob. That’s a heck of a lot of fiber to card by hand.

The appalousa, even after a good washing, is still dirty. I’m puzzled, because I’m not sure how much this affects my ability to spin it. If I don’t put a LOT of twist in this fiber, it falls apart.

The black needs even more twist!

It’s a challenge, a challenge to my short spinning experience.

Big Batty Day


Went to Shoppes at Otter Creek again to use the carding machine.

This time, we only got one batt of chocolate llama done. It takes forever to pick out most of the guard hairs. This fleece is about half processed, maybe 4 skeins spun.

So I switched to the appalousa llama, no guard hair, so it’s a dream to card. The locks are thick and twisted, so I had to open them up with hand cards. Still, we got four batts in just a couple of hours, instead of a couple hours to get one batt.

Last night I bought several colors of firestar to jazz up the llama yarn. The photo is Milk Chocolate Firestar which should look spectacular in the chocolate llama. There is also a navy blue for the black fleece and a Redwood shade for the mohogany fleeces.

Three Batts of Llama

Since we had the machine right there, I carded all my green and brown Jacob into one big, huge batt. It’s a super looking batt, very ocean green, perfect for seashells and beads. I was surprized to find the stuff I thought was a bunch of pale blue rolags was really just junky short cuts. It needs to go into my ‘junk’ bag so I don’t make the mistake of trying to card it again.

I want to add, because I keep forgetting, that I’ve made a modification to my spinning wheel. In order to use the jumbo bobbins to ply, I’ve left the jumbo flyer in place. This means I’m working with the larger orifice and different ratios. I’m now using faster speeds, more twist and need to draft accordingly. So now instead of getting laceweight singles, which I didn’t want, I’m getting a better size yarn! More like what I get in the store, instead of fussing with froghair, I’m getting some really nice wieght and a bit of thick and thin!

I have to draft faster or the single is overtwisted! It keeps me on my toes, not in dreamland.

BTW – I found out that Windows 7 has voice recognition built in. I don’t need to buy Dragon software, I just need to switch to a newer laptop. (Sigh) The things I learn on the interwebz!

On a final note, the alpacas were very easy to catch again tonight. I didn’t get spit on! As a reward, I took off their halters. Hopefully, putting the halters back on won’t be a major production. If I can teach a freaked out horse to put on a halter, I should be able to teach an alpaca.

We’ll see!

Shetland Alpaca Revisited


The beaded Shetland/Alpaca beret

The beaded Shetland/Alpaca beret

The lovely yellow hat found a home with a new friend. However she wants a scarf or a cowl to go with it.

I’ve dyed the fiber and am in the process of spinning the singles. I’ll get to add beads to the clear thread and have a great time watching it become yarn in my hands.

This is a milestone for me, because someone has ordered this yarn. I’m not intending to be a professional spinner, but it’s really cool to have someone want what I make. (Especially since my book sales are languishing.)