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Topic: Alpaca!!!  (Read 2038 times)
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subloke
« on: December 11, 2006 05:37:41 PM »

I started a new job last monday, and, of course I had my knitting with me.  Over the course of the week the people I work with commented on my knitting and discussed various knit items they had received in the past.  As I was leaving on Friday, one of them asked me if I had ever worked with Alpaca.  I said yes, and asked "Why, do you know someone who has Alpacas?" jokingly.  He said "I do!  We have bags and bags of fibre in the garage.  Do you want some?" 

Uh, yeah!

This morning, I got to work and he had this for me:

1 1/2 pounds of "Oscar" (the Alpaca's name).  For FREE.  EEE.

So, now I have to figure out how to clean out all the straw and spin it.  I skimmed the info on Llama and alpaca on this board (and plan to research it some more) but if anyone has any additional info/advice/tips for me, I'd be HAPPY to hear it. 

(FREE Alpaca!!)(EEE!!!)
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Ginamonster
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« Reply #1 on: December 11, 2006 07:23:13 PM »

I too abtained quite a bit of unwashed alpaca. Much of it is still dirty, all of it is unspun. Here's what I did:

I got a couple of strainers and washed it GENTLY in my mom's laundry sink with shampoo. One rinse should be enough. I was washing it too much and it wasn't needed. Then I sperad it out to dry where the cats couldn't get to it. There will be short pieces. LET THEM GO. don't try to save everything. You'll go crazy. Just try not to let it go down the sink. And don't agitate it too much, it will felt. Thankfully I only know this from reading.

I tried carding it and that was a nightmare. I discovered that if I put it on the carder and combed through it with the wire cat brush, it was much easier and quicker. The dirt and straw that is left will fall out onto your lap. I still got blisters, so wear your bandaids. I'm thinking if I pull it through a diz, it should be spinnable, otherwise I will have to blend it as soon as I feel comfy on my wheel.

I took a picture, but it was taking FOREVER to upload. hmm.

ps, if you get overrun and want to share...hee hee. Just thought I would try.  Wink Imeasured what I have cleaned and placed in the smaller bag, ,and it is a little over 11 Ounces.
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« Reply #2 on: December 11, 2006 08:58:56 PM »

You can probably also just pick out the biggest chunks and spin it as is. Then, wash the final yarn and voila! Soft pretty yarn. When I spin Flint my hands get filthy but I never have a problem getting the yarn clean.
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zeeblebee
« Reply #3 on: December 11, 2006 11:36:22 PM »

I gave some Suri I had one soak and gentle wash, but I think that it made little difference. I worked it by getting some locks (or ,rather, chunks), then straightening them out on my lap, pulling out the worst burrs and other vm, then giving both ends a quick flick to brush some of the dirt out when needed and making it a little easier to spin. I usually prepared about 15 or so locks at a time, but if you are a more experienced spinner better able to untangle as you go, I see no reason you couldn't do more.

I then just spun it quite dirty, and gave it a much more thorough wash when it was in yarn form. I didn't want to risk felting. I thought most of the dirt had come out on my fingers and apron (which, if you do it this way you will really need), but boy was I wrong! Smiley I loved it though; no grease, just dirt.
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CountingMermaids
« Reply #4 on: December 12, 2006 04:49:57 AM »

I took some step-by-step photos when I processed some alpaca a couple of months ago, it's here in my blog:

http://countingmermaids.blogspot.com/2006/05/salvadore-striped-with-wool.html
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fyberduck
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« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2006 02:30:40 AM »

You can probably also just pick out the biggest chunks and spin it as is. Then, wash the final yarn and voila! Soft pretty yarn. When I spin Flint my hands get filthy but I never have a problem getting the yarn clean.

ditto to that.  most alpaca is so lofty and clean you can usually spin it right from the locks.  A pound and a half?  Enough for a sweater Grin
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subloke
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2006 05:57:17 AM »

Thank you everyone for your replies!  I decided I would try spinning a bunch "dirty" and also try cleaning the same weight and spin that, just to see how I like the results.  (So far, having washed the 4oz I was going to clean, I'm all for the "dirty" haha)

The guy who gave me the alpaca doesn't seem to realize what he's given me (hee hee).  Maybe I'll get more out of him before he understands that it's worth something...  I'm planning to give a skein of my spinning results to him for his wife (a Knitter!) and I will (eventually) tell him how much it could potentially be worth... 
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sunflowerfairy
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2006 10:33:45 AM »

I'm dying to try alpaca, but I can't seem to find it around here, unless I want to spend alot on it.

Ahhh, alpaca.

Enjoy it.
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« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2006 10:36:23 AM »

wow! Lucky you!! And who knows, maybe he's only too aware of it, but has more than he needs/wants?
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TheBon
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« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2006 11:35:18 AM »

I'm dying to try alpaca, but I can't seem to find it around here, unless I want to spend alot on it.

Ahhh, alpaca.

Enjoy it.


If you're willing to buy online there are lots of places to get it. http://spunkyhats.com has beautiful handpainted alpaca, but she's also got several shades of undyed for about $2.50 an ounce.
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graphic designer, illustrator, all around nerd.

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