Friday, February 8, 2008

Adding Silk While Spinning Alpaca

This is hand dyed Tussah silk that I bought from Rita in her Etsy shop, Castleman. I love these colors and blended them with light fawn alpaca fiber from Pudge.
I think that alpaca and silk are naturals together. Because this is what we raise, I spin mainly Huacaya alpaca which is the crimpy, Teddy bear looking alpaca. Suri alpaca have the long, straight pencil locks and their fiber actually works like silk which adds drape and luster to yarns.
This next picture will show you how I hold the two fibers together while spinning.

The silk is on the left and the alpaca on the right. As I spin, I try to ease the two together equally which I find nearly impossible, but I believe that is the charm of the finished yarn. I've stripped the silk to pieces about this wide and the extra is laying on my left knee ready to join into the alpaca. The alpaca is coming from my right.
The spin method that I use is the front/left hand is nearly stationary and resting ever so lightly on the fiber, allowing it to slide through. My back/right hand is tugging and drafting back toward me and controling the amount of fiber going forward. I have developed this method to give my alpaca softness and loft.
Somewhere recently, I read that alpaca needs lots of twist to keep it together. This isn't true. Lots of twist will just make the yarn hard and it will lose it's soft alpaca quality. At least, this is my opinion......


Ta Da ---The results - 2.8 ounces/80 grams - 150 yards. I love the contrast between the almost flat alpaca and the shine and color variation of the silk.

14 comments:

Lisa said...

That looks hard to do, but oh what gorgeous yarn you got out of it! Wow!

Collette said...

Wonderful Maple! I have a hard time keeping them even doing it this way too but the end result is worth the effort! Well done:)

Collette

Kim said...

Thank you!

Someday I will be ready for this technique and this certainly helps.

SapphireChild said...

Hi Maple
That yarn is both stunning and classy. That is a new technique to me too, I think I'll try it!

Thanks!

Liz said...

Absolutely lovely yarn. :)

spiralfibers said...

lovely yarn? what is the wpi you achieved with this? i imagine the silk would increase the warmth retention also, and would be best suited to accessories, as opposed to entire jumpers, would you agree? Beautiful natural colour's btw!

Snowberry & Lime said...

this is beautiful! The colours of the silk work so well with the natural alpaca.

island sweet said...

beautiful! it reminds me of a field of golden hay...

rita said...

gorgeous! you did my silk proud.

kim said...

Oh, I have to try your method of blending silk & alpaca! Thanks for clueing me in!

Knitted Gems said...

As if alpaca is dreamy soft already, you have to go and silk to it? This must be heaven to touch.

And, yes, I agree with you about the amount of twist. The last alpaca yarn I worked with was millspun and tightly spun at that. It had lost most of its softness and was hard on the hands. I didn't like knitting with it at all.

Zuleika said...

That silk was gorgeous already, and you added to the beauty expertly! Great work! :-)

Gammy aka Peggy said...

My oh my that is some gorgeous yarn!!!!! Thanks for the tutorial.

Tracy said...

Oooo, Pretty. I LOVE the color of that silk. The yarn is lovely.

Map