Thursday, February 10, 2011

Yarn, beautiful yarn- How a pile of dirty animal hair becomes a creative delight.

 Yarn. So many of us use yarn. Some of us even make yarn. "Why?", you might ask, to which I would reply, "Why not?" I began spinning about 4 years ago, and have been making alot of my own yarn ever since.
 This is raw alpaca fiber. Raw means it has been sheared off of the animal and nothing else has been done to it.

Next the fiber is often washed before carding. In this instance, I have chosen to card and spin, and then wash. When I work with sheep's wool, I typically wash first and then card, because of the grease in sheep's wool. 

After the carding drum is full, I carefully remove the batt from the carder.
Sorry, I didn't take a pic of the spinning; it's hard to focus a camera while you are spinning! When the yarn has been spun and plied, I wind it into skeins from the bobbin on a "shoebox Kate" onto my antique skein winder. Once all of the fiber has been turned into yarn, all of the yarn gets 3-4 good soaks in warm water; first with soap, then in the last rinse, a "glug" of vinegar is added to acidify the pH, as animal fibers tend to be more to the acid side of things. Plus, it cuts any soap residue that might be left. Then all the lovely yarn is hung by the fireplace (outside in nice weather) to dry. 

And that is how a pile of dirty hair becomes a luxury yarn! Any questions?


Mom said...

Very nice! Will make a lovely something, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

Awsome! Love the pictures... wish we could hang out together some time. I have a garage full of Llama to process and some angora to mix with it. Now I'm feeling inspired to go spend some time playing with fiber and getting some spinning done. Karen Blumberg in OH

Crochet Renee' said...

Unfortunately, it won't make a lovely something for me. This was spun for someone else. She is thinking of making something for a baby, maybe a blanket. Yes, Karen, it would be fun to hang out together. I love blending alpaca and angora; I bet llama and angora is nice, too!

Francesca said...

I'm in awe. Right now, I have a bag full of raw sheep wool - and I'm trying to fill the gap between this fiber, and my future yarn.