Grumpy’s Fleece


Shearing photos

So I made the skirting table out of bird netting and PVC pipe. It’s a nice, large surface, and half the fleece fit on it. I shook a lot of dirt out of the fleece before I washed a small part of it.

Three changes of water with soap, two rinses and a stint in the spin cycle later. Well, it was okay, fairly clean, and of course, matted.

I ran it through the picker and got a soft cloud of lovely fluff. I carded some of it.

Tomorrow I start spinning this fluff into yarn.

There will be pictures, I promise.

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Got Fleece? Oh Yes!


Shearing photos

Half of Grumpy’s fleece.

The deed is done for the year. I have 4 bags of fleece, my back is completely trashed, but I couldn’t be happier with the yield.

I was really worried about Grumpy. I knew the weather was going to get hot and I knew he was carrying 3 inches of fleece all over his body. I also knew he wasn’t going to go down quietly. Poor little guy had been handled very little until he came here. So he’s little more than a wild animal.

The photo above is half of Grumpy’s fleece.

I had to make up a skirting table in a hurry. I had originally thought to use something else, something removable, but it was too much work. This way we used plastic pipe and bird netting I already had. It’s worked perfectly, so far. The fleece is a bit damp, so it’s going to sit outside for the night. By afternoon it should be ready to re-bag or wash.

Likely I’ll wash a big batch of it. I’ve got a serious itch to get my hands on this stuff. I want to dye it in deep moody blues and mix in lots of pretty sparkle. I’m thinking sweater, or large shawl.

 

Shearing Time

A lock of hair, staple length appears to be at least 3 inches. Yowza!

I don’t know micron counts. But I know soft – this is really soft. Filthy dusty, but really soft. I left it outside to air, and the gentle breeze and a bit of shaking has taken the second cuts and a bunch of dust out.

After I dye half of it in blues, I’ll dye a bunch of greens, mix the green with some chestnut for a woodsy color of yarn. Then, I don’t know. Maybe card up a bunch to spin…into art yarn?

I’ve seen Sheri’s photos of her goats, so I’m leaning towards getting some mohair locks. I think alpaca and mohair is going to make a crazy soft yarn. Something a knitter would flip over.

Digital Camera

PigPen and Grumpy

 

The guys aren’t happy. There’s been a lot of fighting, with PigPen instigating it. That dark patch on Grumpy is a long scratch with a nasty looking bruise under it.

 

Alpacas Shorn


I was starting to panic – Grumpy was carrying two bags of fleece on his little body. I knew he was suffering.

But I found a woman who would shear them for us. I helped, and the guys seemed to appreciate that it was me who held them and talked to them. They came back to the barn for food afterwards, which is always a good sign.

We have 4 bags of fleece from three alpacas. Grumpy’s is longer and bulkier than the others.

I’m going to start working on the fleeces tonight. Going to build a skirting table for the fleece and pick the second cuts and fiber out of it. The dirt will need to be washed out. Over and over again.

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.

 

The Next Step – A Picker


Lil Dynamo - lives up to it's name.

Lil Dynamo – lives up to it’s name.

I’ve got several llama fleeces, and the problem with llamas are they are dirt bathers.

After a few hours with an unwashed llama fleece, I wake up that night with my sinuses completely closed up.

That’s a LOT of dirt.

So washing a llama fleece takes many, many washings. Each one has the potential to matt the fleece a little bit more.

So the other day, I really blew it and matted a white llama fleece. It was just a mess. Not felted, because I could pull it apart, but the fiber was in knots. I went to Etsy to price pickers and found this little oak picker that is small enough to fit under the bed.

I put a fist full of matted llama in. It took a couple of passes to get the mats out, and with it came handfuls of dirt. But the fiber is a lovely fluffy mass now. Not a matted mess. (Big sigh of relief!)

I think carding is now possible.

The New Guys – Photos


Tribute and Armand

I’ve been busy, and haven’t posted pictures of the new Alpacas.

As you can see, they were sheared in late summer or fall. There’s not so much fleece on them. There are a lot of burrs, too. As usual, they aren’t the kind of guys to stand still to be groomed.

But I WILL work on that. I prefer my ‘llamas’ as well mannered as my horses. This is going to take a LOT of treats.

Also, I’ve got to get them off the expensive Senior Feed that goes to the old horses.

Got to cut corners where I can.

Otter Bee – Crafters’ Get Together


Three of us met for Otter Bee at Shoppes at Otter Creek yesterday.

I got to see my very first battery operated sewing machine in action. It was so tiny and so cute, but it really worked!

And a spinning buddy brought her tiny spinning wheel in. It was also tiny and cute! A direct drive wheel that she used to spin up some really lovely alpaca roving in soft golds and greens.

I took my beloved Kromski and spun up nearly all of my ‘Forest Sky’ alpaca roving. Unfortunately, the 4 oz roving had sat long enough that I couldn’t long-draw it. So I’m still working on it.

We also talked about my problem with staple length – the appalousa llama fleece was cut with less than a 2 inch staple length. I got some fake casmere to blend with it, and some Shetland roving to dye a dark blue and mix with the black llama. The black llama is even softer than the white, and the staple length is even shorter. But it’s so soft and fine that I’m determined to spin every bit of it.

No new photos today. I didn’t take any.

On the downside, I ‘lost’ a finished project for my step-son. I crocheted him a llama hat in chocolate and appalousa that was just dreamy soft and warm. But somehow, it grew legs and vanished from my house. I’ve looked everywhere!

The young man shaves his head, and lives in Upstate New York, where the winters are savagely cold. I’m afraid that I can’t make him a new hat before the holiday.