Saturday, November 10, 2012

Illini Alpacas Spun

Spinning a fun blend of 85% Alpaca, 10% merino, Sari Silk and Firestar fiber that I picked up at an Illinois Fiber Fair.   When I came across it at the yarn festival, the touch of the fiber drew me in.  It is so light and fluffy with little flecks of color.

The fiber is spinning up thin and smooth.  It makes me really wish that I knew how to ply yarn.  I mean, I know HOW to ply yarn... but without a second spindle or a lazy kate this would be difficult.  It is already a laborious process to unwind the spun yarn from my spindle onto the niddy noddy.  (Yet another reason why I would love to have a spinning wheel with all the accessories!)  This is making me consider getting another spindle, like the one that KnitPicks offers that helps you wind the yarn into a center pull ball.  I'd still wind it onto the niddy noddy to set the twist, but it would make the whole process a bit easier.

Thankfully I'm a bit addicted to single ply yarns ANYWAY.  I just hope I don't over block a project knit from one of my yarns and snap the strand... I'd cry!

I think this is the easiest yarn I have spun yet.  It drafts like a DREAM!  There is a a tiny amount of debris in the fiber (twigs or straw) but it is really easy to pick out as I'm spinning.  I haven't needed to do any predrafting at all.   Indy was very interested in the spindle, but thankfully he knows that it is not a toy for him.

During this spinning attempt I broke my spindle... I don't think this piece was supposed to come off!  After this project I'll fix it up with some wood glue and it will be good as new.

I was smarter when winding the yarn around the spindle this time.  Rather than winding the newly spun yarn up and down the spindle (making it really hard to unwind), I've been concentrating on winding around one section at a time.  The first few yards have been a dream to unwind!

It took about a week, week and a half for me to spin all 138 g of this fiber.  I know that I would be MUCH faster with a wheel where I wouldn't need to stop to wind the yarn around the spindle.   The yarn is ~24 WPI (a light fingering/heavy lace weight yarn) and there are over 800 yards!  (+/- 604 wraps * 4 ft/wrap = 2416 ft = 805 yards)   I did break the yarn in six places as I was winding it up, but I was able to easily (and subtly) repair these with small knots.   I think that if I were using a Lazy Kate to help get the yarn off of a spindle that there would be less tension and fewer breaks...  But then again, I would rather have the breaks happen now than when I'm aggressively blocking a lace shawl.

I can't wait for my next spinning project!