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.