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Topic: Experienced Fiber Prep People...Help!  (Read 1228 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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RecycleMicol
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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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RecycleMicol
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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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RecycleMicol
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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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