Friday, June 09, 2006

Since I seem to be on a spinning kick at the moment, as well as in the ongoing housecleaning grind (to keep the house neat in the apparently vain hope that someone, ANYONE, will come look at it and want to buy it) I decided to do a little closet-diving and reorganized my fiber closet yesterday. It wasn’t really too messy, but I knew there was weird hand-me-down acrylic yarn in there that I was never going to use, which might as well go to the thrift store. I weeded a bit, managed to consolidate three boxes into two, and tidied things up.

The secondary purpose of this project was to find something to spin, since I finished the purple fiber. I found some very yummy alpaca that was a gift from a friend about three years ago. She works at a local alpaca farm, and this bag of raw fiber was left behind when the previous owners sold the farm to the people who run it now.

Alpaca isn’t greasy like sheep’s wool, so I’m not even washing it first. I spent about three hours yesterday afternoon carding, and I have to tell you, this stuff is fabulous!

I have a total of 14.2 oz (400 g) of this fiber, and I’ve carded six batts so far, each about 20 grams. After it’s sent through the carder three times it looks lovely. I can’t wait to spin this. I’m thinking (what else…) a laceweight two-ply for a knitted lace something-or-other. Perhaps a square Shetland style shawl- never made one of those, so maybe it’s time. (But no starting another knitted lace project until after I finish the sea urchin shawl!)

This fiber doesn’t have any coarse guard hair in it, the staple length is about 4”, and it has a nice gentle crimp. Handling it is like trying to manipulate smoke. You can’t even really feel the fiber, it’s so soft.

And the COLOR. This is undyed fiber, straight off the alpaca’s back. It’s deep, sooty, velvety, warm black.

It’s very hard to photograph black fiber, and this doesn’t really do it justice. Even without the flash, I still got some reflection. The brownish tint that shows on the right hand side isn’t really there.

I got a quarter of the fiber carded yesterday; hopefully I can do the rest this weekend. I’m still plugging away at the daffodil filet crochet piece, and that will be my project to work on tonight. I’ve made it up to row 76 (of 138), but an unfortunate incident involving Emma, a glass of water, and my chart means that I have to print the chart again before doing any more on that project. I’ve decided that I will finish the daffodil piece before picking up the sea urchin shawl again. The daffodils and the shawl are both “long haul” projects, and I do better with only one of those active at once. I would like to have the shawl finished for the County Fair in August, though. There. August 13. I’ve publicly committed to a deadline. (Or perhaps I should be committed….)

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