Saturday, November 24, 2007

Chocalpaca*

Some thoughts on spinning the alpaca roving from Wooly Wonka’s Exotic Fiber Club.

Click the photos for big.

* = yes I made that up

Chocolate Alpaca- Bobbin 1
Bobbin One, you saw this earlier

The fiber has a smooth long 4-6” staple, and a firm rather than fluffy feel. The fiber notes recommend spinning with a tighter twist than one might with a comparable sheep’s wool. I found the alpaca easy to spin after getting a feel for it, though at first, as promised, it was drifting apart a bit while winding on. The color is a rich solid rusty chocolate.

chocalpaca-2 bobbin 2
Bobbin Two, looking much like Bobbin One

I started out spinning the fiber for a 2-ply laceweight to knit the Cleite pattern from Miriam Felton that was part of this month’s offering. Spun per Mim’s recommendation with a semi-worsted, forward draw, but not having even touched the wheel in seven weeks, I was too impatient, and wasn’t up to trying for Mim’s 30 wpi(!). Seriously, I needed to spin and finish something. All I need is about 300 yds of something.

chocalpaca-3 bobbin 2 flash
With the flash so you can see the sheen

Wound on the niddy-noddy, 286 yds. I’m going for it.

chocalpaca-4 on the niddy

I’ve been reading posts to one of the spinning lists trying to describe how to avoid over-plying, and what a balanced 2-ply looks like with the fibers in the singles ending up parallel to the length of the yarn, like this =//=//=//=.

chocalpaca-5 fibers aligned
Fibers aligned, close enough for government work

chocalpaca-6 ready for a soak
Ready for a soak
I predict fingering to heavy laceweight

Tune in tomorrow to As The Wheel Turns for post-soak photos, finished gauge, and the cast on for a lacy shawlette.