What I Did With This Year’s Alpaca Fiber

There are many options when it comes to processing alpaca fiber into a value added product.  Finding a fiber mill that will help you evaluate and determine the best use of your fiber is very helpful.  Morning Star Fiber Mill, an artisan fiber mill in North Carolina, offers custom processing and did our processing for us this year.  I brought our fiber to the Great Lakes Fiber Festival in Wooster, Ohio for pick up, which was very convenient, and I had my product back in less than a month’s time.

Alpaca Roving - Medium Fawn  Alpaca Roving - Bay Black

Two of our huacaya girls, Annalise and Amelia, have been at our farm just a year.  Morning Star has a six pound minimum per color for processing into yarn and I did not have that much fiber from these two girls, so I had their fiber made into roving for spinning.  It is super soft and lovely, and I can’t wait to spin some of it!

Alpaca Yarn - White Mocha

I had been saving fiber from Sunshine and Sunscape, mother and daughter, for several years so I did have enough of their fiber to have yarn made.  I didn’t want just solid colors, so gave “artistic license” to JC Christiansen, owner at Morning Star, and said he should “play”.  He ran Sunshine’s white fiber and Sunscape’s brown fiber side by side at the carder to produce the yarn above.  I am calling it “White Mocha” even though it looks rather silver grey.

Alpaca Yarn - White Mocha Closeup

I decided on a two-ply worsted weight, a less rounded yarn with a nice “squish factor”.

Alpaca Yarn - Cappuccino

I’m calling this yarn “Cappuccino“.  It is a result of more of Sunshine’s white fiber run side by side with medium fawn, from an alpaca named “Brawny”.  For the last few years I have bought fiber from a local 4-H girl, so the remainder of the yarn was made from her fiber.

Alpaca Yarn - Milk Chocolate

The colors used in this yarn are white, and a white and medium fawn mixed to make a medium rose grey, fed side by side at the carder to produce a color I’ve called “Milk Chocolate“.

Alpaca Yarn - Dark Chocolate

This yarn called “Dark Chocolate” is medium fawn and dark fawn, fed side by side at the carder.

Suri Alpaca Roving - White

I had several years’ worth of suri seconds, so had roving made from the light colored colors, see Suri Alpaca Roving.  I have been dyeing this roving and have had lovely results, be sure to see Circus Time and Summer Delight.  Check back for a post on dyeing roving if you’d like to try this yourself, or try out one of our Roving Dyeing Kits!

Suri Alpaca Roving - Mabelle

The brown Suri Alpaca Roving is from Mabelle’s fiber.

Suri Fiber - Natural Colors Suri Fiber - Hand Dyed

I have a market for selling raw Suri Fiber to spinners, and the longer length suri fiber to doll makers.  I sell both natural colors and hand-dyed fiber, so that is what I will do with my prime suri fiber this year.  This involves skirting, tumbling, washing, dyeing, and packaging, more labor for me but less expense.  Who knows what I’ll do with our fiber next year.  I love that there are so many options.  Keeping products unique and marketable is a fun challenge!

See products made from our fiber in past years. More coming soon on how to evaluate your fiber.

Suri Alpaca Merino Lopi Lite Yarn
Mother Daughter Suri Alpaca Yarn

Making Roving With A Drum Carder

I ran across this video clip that I thought I would share…  Looks like it would be worth a try!  If all you see is a black square, click on it and the video should begin.

Strauch Drum Carders

My New Yarn

So, here is where it all starts, with happy, healthy alpacas!
Stress does affect fiber quality – see the smiles on these two? Meet Unlimited Joy and Ariella!  There are two different breeds of alpacas, suri and huacaya, and the difference is their fleece.  A suri’s fleece grows vertically to the ground, in dreadlocks, and will grow clear to the ground if not shorn.  A huacaya has more of a teddy bear look and their fleece grows horizontal away from their bodies.  I think of a suri as being majestic and a huacaya as cute!
Huacaya Fleece
Suri Fleece
In the Dye Pot with Gaywool Dye
Carded
Carding is the process of combing and blending fibers together – an art form in itself.  This is a blend of hand dyed suri and natural brown huacaya.
Rovings Wound Into A Ball for Spinning
Hand Spun Into A Single Ply Yarn
Finished Two-Ply Yarn – Food For The Soul!



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