Category: Spinning

A bit of Alpaca

I’m still trying to work my way through the mountain of alpaca fiber I have – it’s going slow, but it’s such a delight to spin I know I just need to dedicate more time to it. I want to make this a three ply yarn, and I have 1.5 bobbins down. I’m thinking I should just learn to chain ply, I might feel better about the process if I could see more progress (like a finished yarn). I’ve tried chain plying before and I was absolute rubbish at it, so we’ll see how that goes. It just feels like this fiber is never ending – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s incredible to work with, but I’d love to start knitting with the finished yarn, or start a new fiber (or continue processing the two fleece I have).


Spinning – Still

I still have SO much alpaca to spin into yarn. It’s daunting and makes me happy at the same time. It feels like I’ll never make my way through it all, but I know if I just spend a bit of time every night doing some spinning, eventually I’ll reach the end. Of this one bag. We’ll see about the 5 other bags I have.

I’m spinning this for a three ply, with no idea what I’ll use it for. Maybe a hap. Maybe a shall. Maybe I’ll blend it with something because alpaca on its own can be a bit difficult. That’s something to think about for 2021.


Latest Spinning Project

I bought a LOT of raw alpaca a few months back, and very slowly I’ve been spinning it into yarn. I still have a LOT to get through, but I’m taking my time and enjoying the spin. It’s probably one of the more enjoyable fibers I’ve worked with. On my wheel right now is fiber from a 14oz bag of mill ends I purchased. Once I have three bobbins filled I’ll ply them together. I normally do a lot of two ply yarns, but three ply is just beautiful.


Slouchy Hat

I recently knit myself a slouchy hat using some of my handspun yarn from Three Waters Farm. I absolutely love how it turned out. It’s a merino / tencel blend and I did it up in a three ply. Not only was it one of my best spins ever, it just knit up so beautifully.

I’m quickly learning that just because a batt or skein LOOKS good doesn’t always necessarily mean I’ll enjoy working with it. I’ve come across more than my fair share of hard to work with materials. I’m also learning which one are a dream to process, and what price I’m willing to pay for that.


Alpaca That Up

I recently participated in an auction hosted by a Canadian alpaca farm – and in my eagerness to ensure I won ‘something’ I ended up winning -9- fiber auctions (each for an amazing price) and a little over 6 pounds of fleece. Oh. My. I am REALLY looking forward to this fiber. Alpaca is fantastic for those who suffer from wool allergies because there’s no lanolin in the fiber, and typically those who are allergic to wool have no reaction to alpaca.

The fiber also has a few other unique properties – each fiber strand is hollow, and it provides more warmth than wool. It does have a few downsides, like it has little elasticity, and doesn’t hold shape very well – but I’m hoping to knit a hat and mitten set for me and my husband, and maybe for friends / family depending. I have no doubt it will come in handy here in our Northern post. I’ve never spun 100% alpaca before, but I did knit a part of socks using alpaca, and I loved them (and learned not to put them in the wash, next time). Fingers crossed I don’t have too much of a wait!


Another Skein Done

Another skein completed! It just needs a bath to set the twist. No idea what I’ll make with this yet, but I’m happy to have freed up two bobbins.


Tour de Fleece 2020

The 27th of this month starts Tour de Fleece, and while it’s different than most years (there’s no tour de France going on with covid-19 being a thing) I’m still excited and looking forward to it. I’m hoping to spin a sweaters worth of fleece from the stuff I’ve processed, but first I need to take this mulberry silk blend off of my wheel. This stuff was NOT fun to spin at all. It was slippery, and while it looks beautiful, it just isn’t the fiber for me.

Bring on the tour!


Truman’s Fleece

I bought a 3.7lb sheep fleece from a vendor not too long ago, and when it arrived, I was SO excited. I created a grand plan of cleaning this fleece and preparing it from start to finish, including spinning it, and then knitting it into a cardigan.

So far I cleaned the fleece (scoured, it’s called) and it’s ready for some flicking (opening up the locks) and then I’m going to drum card it to prepare it for spinning. The Tour De Fleece starts up at the end of this month and I’m hoping to have it ready for that. Once it’s all spun up I’ve even picked out the cardigan pattern I plan on knitting.

Honestly the entire process just speaks to me. I have loved every single second, from removing vm (vegetable matter) and lanolin, to drying the fleece. It’s so soft, so much work, and it just makes me croon with contentment.


Processing Fleece

I recently came into a 3.7lb fleece, from a leicester longwool sheep named Truman. While Truman was not a coated sheep, his best friend was – so the fleece came with minimal vm and cleaning it was pretty easy. What I didn’t realize is just how much floof 3.7lbs of wool is! I processed a tiny portion of the darker fleece to begin with, just to get the hang of things. Then a few weeks later I did the remaining fleece. I wanted to get it all cleaned and ready for storage.

My goal is to use my new drum carder (on the way) to create roving – and to spin it for the Tour de Fleece that’s happening at the end of this month. It will be the first fleece I’ve taken from start to finish, and I have plans on knitting a cardigan with it once it’s all spun and plied.

I’m incredibly excited! So far the entire process has been a learning experience, and it really speaks to my soul.


Some RL Guilds

Yep. There’s a circular sock knitting machine society, and I decided to join it. Membership is for three years, and it doesn’t exactly provide a whole bunch, but I still think it’s pretty cool. You can find out more about them here.

I also decided to join the Saskatchewan weavers and spinners guild. Everything is on hold lately as far as get togethers due to covid, but it’s still a sense of community in these trying times.

My sock machine is put together and working fine, but there’s some learning curves to overcome. I ordered new needles, I need to order mineral oil, and it still needs a good cleaning. I could also use a better basket for it as mine is quite rusted. Once I get these issues taken care of we’ll see how she runs! I know it will take some practice.