All in Spinning

Alpaca Shearing

I've been working on a number of posts that will be appearing soon as part of my mini series on Alpacas.  And what better place to start than with the animal and their fleece!

 

This past weekend was crop harvest (fleece shearing) at Carolina Pride Pastures, a local alpaca farm featuring huacaya alpacas.

Samples & Swatches

As fiber artists and crafters, how many times have we heard the admonition "before you start your project . . . weave a sample or knit a swatch or spin a control or test dye a new color"?  I know that the vast majority of you are saying, "I never sample".  Am I right?  

 

The hope of my post is to bring a more positive light on this subject by sharing thoughts and ideas beyond the usual approaches to sampling and swatching.

 

Alpaca Fleece . . . Now What?

A dear friend and fellow fiber enthusiast generously gifted me about 2 1/2 pounds of raw alpaca fleece in 3 colors - black, white, and cinnamon brown.  A spinner's treasure trove!  So how do you get from this wonderful bag of fluff to . . . luxuriant alpaca top ready to spin?

 

Let's Spin . . . Romney

I'm planning to weave an Autumn shawl from handspun, so my wheel is busy spinning the fibers for the project.  The yarn needs to be something that when woven will create a lightweight fabric that is airy, yet stable, and has a soft drape.  

 

I chose Romney wool to fit the above wish-list of yarn qualities for my shawl.  Read on and see what you think about my choice of this fiber.

 

Let's Spin . . . Lincoln

The next spin in the 'Let's Spin . . . ' series is Lincoln, sometimes called Lincoln Longwool.  The Longwool family includes many of the fiber world's favorite breeds. We have already met another of the longwools, Bluefaced Leicester.

Longwools are a category of sheep, which as the name implies, have a longer staple length, generally greater than 4 inches (10 cm).

Customizing My Spinning Wheel

My first and only spinning wheel is a Louet S-17.  As a novice spinner, the reason I chose this particular wheel was I wanted a quality, yet inexpensive basic wheel and the S-17 more than fit that criteria.  Yes, there are fancier and prettier wheels, but I love the simplicity of my S-17!  

Most spinning wheels have a lacquered finish, while some are intricately carved from beautiful oak and cherry woods.  Not my S-17, it's unfinished, laminated hardwood that has been sanded satiny smooth.  Now some might find this unattractive, but I see it as a pristine palette calling me to create something uniquely mine.  And so that is just what I did.