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Thursday, May 29


The weather in Vermont is finicky. Last night we had a fire in our soapstone woodstove, and there were frost/freeze warnings; today it's 76 and I have some fans on and the windows open! Ice Age and Global Warming?!

Here are some pics for Barb in Clearwater, Florida. I've known
her for many years, as she was a member of the spinning guild I (uh hum...) sometimes attend (I've been a member for over 15 years), and summered here in Vermont and wintered in Clearwater. Maybe 3 or 4 years ago she and her husband Fred moved down there permanently.

They do have
children who live in Vermont, so I hope to run into them sometime. She said that she is homesick for Vermont, so I thought I'd put up some pics from today...I hope she doesn't get more homesick! As always, clickety to embiggen!
(the pics)

Project Updates:
The Dr. G's vest is going along slowly. I keep getting sidetracked with other projects. I just
need to sit down and finish one thing at a time, instead of having 7 or 8 projects going on! The pattern is really easy, and the handspun (mine) corriedale has lovely jewel tones in it. The sunlight really highlights it.

The silk lace yarn: It was my mom's birthday yesterday, and as I had not figured out exactly what I was going to get for her, it all came out well, as in our phone conversation she said she'd love a scarf! The colors will look great on her, and I started the feather and fan pattern as a swatch. I'm going to show it to her on Saturday and see if she likes it.

I haven't touched the sun ray shawl since Easton.

New Stuff:

I got four lovely fleece samples of Huacaya Alpacas from Maple who
with her husband Howes owns North Star Alpacas in Michigan. I met her on Rav, and got into a conversation about crimp versus elasticity/memory (my mis-speak). I asked her to send me some samples, and she did! Most of the alpaca that I have spun had little crimp--none that I could see, and I wonder if the roving process removes it. She stated that Alpaca breeders have been trying to breed more crimp and elasticity (my take on it) into the breeds--that's great, especially from a handspinner's perspective.

I fell in love with the samples! Two white, a brown, and a fawn color. Each one is just a lock, but I was amazed to see how much yarn I got out of one lock! The first sample was Orion, a two year old male, with a really nice silky, dark brown fleece. I flicked the lock, and it fluffed up about threefold. I separated it in half. The first section I pulled into an 18" roving. While alpaca is not "greasy", it still has a slightly greasy feel to it. This was not washed, and was very clean, without any grass or vegetation in it. The "greasiness" (I use the term lightly--it's not greasy like wool), kept the fiber together as I was drafting it, and the long fiber length (about 4-5 inches) made it quite easy to draw into a thread thread.

The second part of the lock I spun right from the lock. To do this, angle the side of the lock toward the leader from your wheel while treadling, and let the end of the fibers catch onto the twist in the leader. Once it's connected, start pulling out from the lock.

One tip: it's better to pull the fibers out from the lock versus pulling back with the hand holding the lock because the fiber will end up bunching in your hand. This is true when spinning short-draw too.

The second alpaca sample I spun was Pollux, a two year old boy, with a lovely white fleece. This lock was beautiful too. Not quite as silky as Orion, but still delightful. Pollux was easier to spin a bit thicker, but as you can see in the sample swatch, both plied yarns came out to 7 sts per inch using #3 needles. Note, I got 9 yards of 2-ply yarn out of each lock!

More later...


Alpaca Granny said...

Excellent analysis of a couple of locks of fiber. Maybe you can move to Michigan and evaluate each alpaca for me ☺ Expecting 3 cria (babies) in the next couple of weeks.

Anonymous said...

He won't leave Vermont. Excellent analysis, even though I don't understand it at all, but nicely spun.

aija said...

Nice! I've purchased from North Star before, great service.