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Topic: Preparing raw fleece?  (Read 532 times)
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eatmoreplants
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« on: October 02, 2007 12:32:06 PM »

I did a spinning demo this weekend at an alpaca farm and the owner gave me 4lbs of raw fleece. I am getting a drum carder from my local spinning guild that was used, but I have no idea how to wash and prepare the fiber to be carded without damaging it. Any tips or resources??

thanks <3
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« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2007 12:58:25 PM »

Oh, and it's from a Suri Alpaca if that makes a difference Smiley thanks!
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« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2007 03:18:40 PM »

How dirty is it? I usually spin alpaca without washing it; I just card it into rolags and spin. Any VM falls out during the carding, and then the dust gets washed out when I set the twist.
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« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2007 07:55:19 PM »

I don't really know enough about raw fleece to compare it. It might be really clean or really dirty for all I know. Its pretty dusty- if you mess with it dust flies up in the air and there is a fair amount of VM... maybe I will try spinning it without washing it- will all of the dust wash out when I am setting the twist or will some get caught inside my yarn?
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zeeblebee
« Reply #4 on: October 03, 2007 01:31:30 AM »

When I spun with raw alpaca (suri too actually) it was easier to maintain the locks on the parts I hadn't washed; no matter how gentle I was with it, the washed fleece got a little tangled. Your hands will probaby get grubby, and I'd put a cloth under your hands as you worked, but I had success washing out the dirt after spinning.

I found alpaca could take more of a beating when washing than wool would- while I wouldn't tempt fate by being really rough, sloshing it around in a lukewarm sink a little didn't harm what I was working with.

What stopped me from working with what I had were the burr's- last time I buy fleece over the internet from a seller I haven't worked with before.
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Star217
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2007 11:46:32 AM »

Here's how I prep my Alpaca fleece:
1) Lay out fleece and pick out any large VM or foriegn objects (I've found out, alpaca like dogs scratch their back by rolling in grass/dirt so you never know what you'll find)
2) Run hot water in washing machine until 1/2 full
3) Submerge alpaca and let sit for 15 minutes
4) Spin to remove excess water
5) Repeat steps 2 - 4 but add a tiny bit of shampoo or detergent to water
6) Repeat steps 2 - 4 as necessary until water is clear enough to suit your needs
7) Spread alpaca in sunlight or other dry area and wait to dry
8 ) Pick through fleece, fluffing up any matted parts and picking out VM. Many alpacas are sheared twice to get a "close shave" and the second pass leaves bits of fiber that are too short to work with. Be honest with yourself and ask if you can spin short staple, if not toss it
9) Fluff up fiber and feed into drum carder or comb with hand cards
10) If using drum carder give the fiber a few passes to make nice uniform batts
11) Spin away.

Some people like to spin straight from the lock, but I'm a bit picky and I spin in my living room and cleaning all that dust would be a nightmare. I find this method leaves nice soft clean fiber to work with and is easist on my sanity.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2007 12:04:26 PM by Star217 » THIS ROCKS   Logged

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« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2007 11:53:57 AM »

Since it doesn't have lanolin, I just spin alpaca and wash it afterwards. Suri alpaca I prep a little differently than huacaya. It often has a longer staple and is shinier and sleeker and since it's longer, I've had better luck combing suri into roving than carding on handcards into rolags. Often, though, I just take a few locks and open them up (hold the lock firmly from the tip and pull the butt end through a flick or hand card then reverse to hold the butt end and comb through the tip with a card) and position them on my lap so they're all oriented in the same way, then I spin worsted from the tip end. You could also spin from the fold this way. This makes nice strong shiny yarn, though you'll only want to do thin yarns like this; alpaca is too heavy and dense if done thick and worsted.
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