Friday, May 15, 2009

Sheep, Goats, ALPACA

Well, through a little comedy of errors involving the postal service... ;) ... and my neighbors... I have some lovely true black alpaca in my hot little hands. From Bay Springs Alpacas I have a pound of fleece. Bay Springs Alpacas are lovely people with great little Alpacas. They are able to break up their blankets (alpaca fleece) into smaller quantities for handspinners, they also sell top, yarn, and other fun things. So I have 8 oz of Florence, and 8 oz of Velvet, both stunningly black soft critters. If I can, I will update with their individual pictures, but meanwhile here is their fleece arriving and getting washed up ready to comb. ;)

The first photos are from Florence's fleece. She was the first out of the box so she got washed first. Alpacas aside from being yes, different from sheep (hey, no rolling your eyes), have no lanolin so their fleece is not greasy. This means less dirt. Never fear there is still dirt. It is tempting to just take those lovely locks and just spin them, but the dirt will spin into the yarn and some of it would not come out with washing of the yarn. Some dirt will cause the fleece to cling more and clump up. It is just better for the fleece to wash it first before processing. Cleaner tools, cleaner spinner, gritless yarn, and if you don't get it all spun up... you will not have dirty fleece with which to attract the evil four letter word M**H. If you don't get this for whatever reason... we don't say the word in order to not tempt our luck. The M**h is a flying pest, whose larvae eat wools. BLECH! Every handspinner's nightmare. In any case Florence had a bath.

Here is Florence being laid out before separating for washing. The tips are red due to amniotic fluid. When she is washed and combed those don't show at all.

Here is an unwashed lock from Florence's fleece. I always take an unwashed lock sample, a washed lock and later a spun sample. Ideally, they should go in a book... lately I've been rushing through stuff to get to my deadline.... Whooshhhhhh...

Even the cleanest Alpaca fleeces have dirt. ;)

Here is Florence, luxuriating in the warm sunshine and drying so she can be combed. Isn't the black impressive? And she is soft too... Admit it... you would love some alpaca...

Then Velvet had a bath. If you compare the photos of their individual locks you will see a difference. Same Breed,alpaca, different genetic line. Both are lovely, I just want to point out that there are differences to observe. I was sort of rushing through things so I didn't get as many photos as I usually due, my apologies.

Here are two locks from different parts of the blanket.

Here is one of the locks a bit closer. Notice the lovely crimp.

So tonight is comb Florence and Velvet, and then spin Florence and Velvet. Hopefully, I will do dyeing of Curly tomorrow and finish spinning, wash yarns, dry yarns, and then Sunday... I have to be warping and starting to weave. Heavy Sigh.. think good thoughts for my little self imposed marathon. ;)

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