Archive for the ‘skirting fleece’ Category

Alpacas are for Spinning

October 31, 2009

May I add spinning and carding to the list of things I do?

Those of you who follow me on twitter, facebook and here probably know I am “simplifying” my life by moving to a ranch in Oklahoma, but it seems for everything I pack, I find thing new I need. I think I’m stockpiling for the future because I figure I may run out of things to do–or as I suggested in an earlier post–I just may be a hoarder.

My latest addition is a Louet spinning wheel. Linda Gardner or Blue Moon Ranch had a few people come over to spin. There were cookies and tea, four wheels, a drop spindle, six people and a lot of fleece. As the lone suri breeder (everyone else was spinning huacaya or merino sheep), I brought some of Madrigal’s cria fleece that the Coarse Broads had labeled as hand spin after skirting it. Madrigal is a pretty multi with plenty of luster and fineness,  but not the best lock in the world… In other words, a spinner’s dream.

thegroup (Large)

At Blue Moon Ranch amid spinning wheels

There were four wheels present and I tried my hand at all of them. To everyone’s amazement, I could spin almost right from the start on all but one of the wheels and I think the problem there was that I was getting a bit tired. My biggest problem was going slowly enough and taking the yarn up on the spindle on a regular basis to keep from getting too much twist in the yarn.

theyarn (Large)

Some of the yarn I made

As you can see, there is plenty of twist. I found the single treadle Louet to be the easiest spinning wheel to learn on and–oddly enough, it was for sale. So I did what any good hoarder would do, I snatched it up and will pick it up on Monday. That gives the seller time to remove the yarn she was spinning. She will oil it up and have it ready to go. So now I have an additional career and an additional reason why I raise alpacas. For additional information about Linda’s alpacas check out Her alpacacam is great for eavesdropping on alpacas and a boon for those without alpacas out the window.

Did you know you can spin suri without even carding it? My friend tazzieval from twitter tells me she uses a regular pet comb to straighten hers enough for spinning. I suspect I’m some way from being quite that confident.

kathleen2 (Large)

Spinning on the Louet

As you can see from the photo of me at the Louet, spinning is serious work and, yes, that is actual yarn. If I can do it, you can do it. By the way, in Utah’s dry climate static electricity means the fleece sticks everywhere. I recommend not wearing dark colors when spinning light colored yarn. 🙂


Betty, Cavatina and photos

September 5, 2009

Maybe Betty, my sixth alpacas broke the blog. She is a brown that shears mammoth quantities of Grade 3 fleece and she is about as big as a house since she is due in November and a goodly-sized girl anyway. I acquired her in late January as part of the deal that brought me Cavatina, the indeterminate dark girl who took a second of four in her first show, but placed last of 9 in her next show (fleece) because someone decided she should show as a dark fawn. She lost big time because there was “color contamination” in her fleece.

You can look at a cria photo of Cavatina in one of my earlier blogs and see that she is not a dark fawn. As she approaches her first birthday, she is even more unusually colored.

Had I sent a photo, it would have been obvious that she was not a dark fawn, but as a newbie I was afraid to send more or less than what was asked. Photos stand in for physical presence and help us understand more about what we hear. I can tell you about the wood being used to build my barn and house or how many square feet each is or the outer dimensions or the color, but without photos you probably will comprehend far less.

If clothes make the man and alpacas make the alpaca ranch, doesn’t it follow that photos make the blog? I am seriously considering closing this blog and moving to another site. It has been two weeks plus without photos and without help from word press despite my piteous pleas.

I was posting along merrily, photos and all–then nothing, My first clue was a post I have deleted labeled “Brown Betty.” I could see the picture, but when the blog was up, it consisted of the title and a lot of symbols–show and tell without the show or tell. Some of you looked at it anyway and probably thought I had lost my mind.

It is a given fact that I am computer semi-literate, but my humble efforts were being recognized. As many as 28 people were looking on a given day and I was on a roll showing barn and house construction and five of my 10 alpacas as I told their stories. Now what?

Stay tuned. Something is going to happen soon.

Photos have Vanished!–Felting Hats

August 25, 2009

Bear with me, the photo button has vanished, but I wanted to mention the delightful time I had at Blue Moon Ranch today. Four of us gathered to make felt from alpaca fleece and turned that product into hats.

Three of us opted to use dyed fiber (brilliant blue, dusty pink, purple with lavender, and I went for natural dark brown and cider colors. If you enjoy working with fiber you have to give this a try. The fiber is carded and placed in alternate criss-cross layers, four of them. Using lots of water and soap (not detergent) all of the air bubbles are worked out and a gentle rubbing motion creates a sheet of fabric. Unbelievable!

We used hat forms and information available on and four very different, but rather nice hats resulted. I am amazed that I could do this and will post pictures once I figure out where my photo option has gone.

We all decided that felting hats could be tedious without companionship but, add a Marguerita and some friends and it’s a party!