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Topic: Experienced Fiber Prep People...Help!  (Read 1246 times)
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RecycleMicol
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« on: November 01, 2007 10:20:16 AM »

I'm so terrible at judging what in the heck gaurd hairs are!  I mean...if I pulled out everything that looked close to the size of a human hair, there would be less than half of this raw alpaca fiber left.

Can you judge by looking at these photos if I have waaaay under picked it or not?





Uncarded fiber at the bottom of this photo:



Thanks for any advice you can give!
RM
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« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2007 01:09:05 PM »

It all looks lovely to me. Unless my understanding is completely off (which is likely I must admit:D) the guard hairs are really coarse and thicker.  I'm curious to the answer about this one myself.
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RecycleMicol
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« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2007 01:18:44 PM »

Thanks Gomer.  Hang around and hopefully we'll both learn something new!   Grin

I wonder, though...is it possible that the alpaca fibers would not have very many at all?  Because either they're almost all guard hairs since they're the same size almost all the way to the top of the lock, or there were very few in it to begin with to pull out from the tips of the locks. 

I had an opportunity to go to an Alpaca Fiber Processing workshop last month...only I couldn't pay the $80.00 class fee!  Sheesh.

Anybody else have thoughts on the matter?
RM
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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2007 02:13:24 PM »

It looks lovely to me. My alpaca roving is not much different from yours (besides the color and the fact it's already processed into a rope.)
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« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2007 06:01:53 PM »

Hmm, while I only prepped alpaca fiber once and I gave up halfway through, I think it DOES have a lot of guard hairs in it.

I think you're supposed to keep only the very fluffy tufts and get rid of all the human-esque hairs. But I could be wrong.
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« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2007 08:01:21 PM »

I think you're right, Natashafatale.  I spun up two rolags and while the yarn is not stiff or super scratchy, it's not as soft as some alpaca yarn I've touched in the stores.  It's more like something you'd use for a purse or outer garment.  I'll use the rolags I have to make something like that and save the soft stuff for my more delicate spinning.  I still have tons of the stuff.  I had some raw alpaca fiber given to me last March.

Thanks for your help!
RM
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« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2007 06:40:19 AM »

Alpaca traditionally has little to no guard hair.  But depending on the alpaca, you can get very course scratchy fleece, or very fine soft fleece, just like sheep.  And the older the alpaca, generally the courser the fleece.  When I purchase alpaca fiber I always purchase cria (baby) alpaca because it is the softest. edit: But you CAN get some course cria too if the mama or cria was sick.  I have found through experience that it is very important to buy from a reputable seller.  I have purchased some bad fleeces in my day.  Sad 
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« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2007 07:56:42 AM »

Thanks BB.  I know the shorter fibers I have from the inside of the leg are softer than the longer fibers and I have sorted them now.

Also, maybe the Huacaya fiber he gave me will be softer than this Suri. It's a shorter staple so I haven't really played with it a lot yet.

Later!
RM
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Star217
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2007 08:01:08 AM »

I usually find that alpaca unlike llama isn't really loaded with guard hair, although the older the animal the coarser the hair seems to be. I like to comb the alpaca and spin a worsted yarn with the longer fibers, then take the waste from the combing run it through the carder and spin a lovely woolen yarn from the batts.
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« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2007 08:07:16 AM »

Ah, yes!  If I had a drum carder, all of this would be much easier.  "One of these days...over in Heahhhhhhhhhhhhven..."   Cheesy

Thanks!
RM
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« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2007 08:55:47 AM »

A drum carder is great, but hand cards would work well too. Your rolags are very uniform.
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« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2007 09:00:12 AM »

Thanks.  I'd like to do some blending and I feel I could get a more consistent blend on a drum carder.  Is this true, do you think?

And...what would be good with this alpaca?  Just some wool for elasticity?

RM
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Star217
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2007 09:35:33 AM »

Blending on a drum carder is a bit easier, but it can be done well with hand cards. I like to add a touch of merino or BFL to my alpaca to make it more springy. I also like to spin with a dab on conditioner on my fingers so the fly aways don't go nuts. Alpaca also goes very well with silk or bamboo.
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« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2007 10:20:16 AM »

I'm wondering what part of the alpaca coat you got.  Looks to be more like #2 instead of #1 (blanket).  Typically, alpaca has very little guard hair on the blanket area.

I rarely prep alpaca, just spin from the lock and wash after.

Unless I'm making a shawl or other drapey item, I do like combining alpaca with wool for it's memory, usually a corriedale (my favorite all-around wool).
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« Reply #14 on: November 02, 2007 10:39:39 AM »

It's actually from the top of the leg.  The outside part has the long fibers and the inside is fluffy and short.

Thanks!
RM
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« Reply #15 on: November 02, 2007 10:41:56 AM »

ahh, that explains it!

if you had a pair of combs, you could easily separate the down and hair.

Your rolags look wonderfully consistant!
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« Reply #16 on: November 05, 2007 12:40:43 PM »

I wish I'd seen this thread a few days ago... Undecided

I spun my first other-than-plain-wool the other day...baby llama [from it's first shearing.]

it was very soft, but the yarn is only fair. there are a lot of guard hairs, and I wasn't sure if I should pick them out or leave them, so I left them. [at least a lot of them fell off while i was prepping the wool for spinning.....]
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« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2007 10:01:05 PM »

Put it through the drumcarder at least 3 times. If you have bought a fleece you will need to put aside all the neck and legs they are generally the coaser parts. Then don't worry about guard hairs just spin it. Alpaca has little in the way of guard hair. With the neck and legs you can still spin it if you want to or use it for felting with.But the best part of the fleece is referred to as the saddle. Oh and the best suggestion I can give you is to make sure there is as little vegetable matter in a fleece as possible when you buy it as that can add to the workload like you wouldn't believe.
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