Tag Archive: alpaca

This Week in Fiber Central. . .

It has been a crazy, crazy last week or two in my little fiber world. Sales practically exploded (hooray!) and I must have had at least an average of one per day.

I loved every minute of it.

In fact, that’s all the confirmation I need to know that I’m doing what I really want to be doing. Selling fiber and yarn definitely holds enough excitement for me to last as long as God wants me here.

A Birthday Shawl

Remember those undyed batts I carded way back when? (A lovely blend of BFL, baby alpaca, and mohair.) Well, those batts are now being used! Yes, it’s been over a year, but I’ve been waiting for just the right project. Handspun yarn for a birthday shawl.

The shawl was supposed to be my dear aunt’s Christmas and birthday present, however both of those dates have passed, so I decided I’d better get hopping. The last thing I want to do is end up like I did with my last two “birthday gift” yarns and not deliver on them until after the next year’s birthday.

Alpaca From The Fleece

I recently decided to start spinning up some of the gorgeous cinnamon alpaca that a very good friend gave me, and I thought I’d share the process I’m using. When I get a chance to sit down with my wheel, it goes something like this.

First, admire the lovely flowers the little boy I babysit gave me for Valentine’s Day, and consider making him a crocheted blanket (not alpaca) since he took such a shine to the last crocheted blanket project I took along to work on. It might be a good idea to do that sometime soon. I mean, when he likes the blanket enough to ask if it’s for him, for his mom, for his little brother, or for his big brother, I can kind of see a broad hint in the there.

Second, relegate the blanket thoughts to the back of my mind and transfer my attention to this . . .
(I will wait for the ooohs and aaahs to die down.)

These are sections of the fleece that I carefully detached from the bag-full and laid on end in a nice green tray. Not only does it keep the fibers neat, it collects the dust, and doesn’t look half bad to boot. Hooray for being crafty and, at the same time, looking sharp.

Alpaca Socks and Looking Backwards

It’s a rather gray day outside this morning, besides the few patches of snow here and there. There’s rain on the way (more than usual) and the atmospheric pressure is resulting in a lovely sinus headache. Plus it seems to be sapping the energy out of me. Even to the point where I don’t want to curl up and knit! Size two double points? Far too heavy.

But, I have made some rather good progress on my second alpaca sock, and I have found the secret to finishing a never-ending pair of extra-tall socks! The key is to go and stay in a rather chilly house for a few days. Take the sock knitting, and just barely enough pairs of regular-height socks. By the middle of the first day you’ll find yourself huddled on the couch watching old, instant-stream TV shows off of Netflix and knitting for your life in the hopes of warmer toes.

Unfortunately this knitting streak didn’t cross over to the other pair of unfinished socks I brought along, or the Emily Dickinson shawl that I had hoped to start again. However, I did have a lovely time resting, reading (three whole books!), and movie-watching.

In Which The Tardy Author Apologizes

I did it again. I let this poor blog languish. I’m sorry! This is just plain ridiculous. All it seems to take is one instance of “I’ll do that later” and the whole blog avalanches over the precipice and into the dye water.

Speaking of, I’ve been very busy dyeing things since I got back from Colorado earlier this month. I haven’t done this large of a dye batch in a long time.
It stretched over two or three days. The first day was all sorts of fun, ha ha ha. I dyed four batches of various things, and of the four, none of them came out the color I was aiming for. God was so gracious in that they were still usable. They just weren’t coming out as intended. Rather frustrating at the time. I actually found myself not wanting to dye again. Ever. (Scary thought, no?)

But I took a day off from dyeing and tackled the rest with renewed vim, vigor, and some free choice in regards to colorways. In short: I got to play! Well, play with most of it.

Even Dyers Impulse Buy

When I first began dyeing my own yarn and fiber, some people thought I would never “need” to buy colored stuff again. Ha ha ha ha. That’s like saying “You cook, so you won’t ever need to buy food at a restaurant again.”

Or, if you want to get really out there, it’s like saying, “You stand up, why would you ever want to sit down again?”

There’s so much to be said for dyeing your own stuff, but every so often you want a break. And, as it happened this time, I found this gorgeous braid for sale. It’s a merino/mohair mix (a blend I’ve never bought before) and the colors jumped right off the screen and grabbed me. (Yes, it was scary, but a good scary.)

Isn’t it pretty? I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. The thought of a hat or smooshy cowl crossed my mind, or perhaps a little shawlette. I could go for socks, as it’s a four ounce braid, but I don’t particularly feel like spinning sock yarn right now. Ha, well, true, I probably won’t get around to spinning this until later this year. Oh, I bought it at FiberFancy, if you’d care to take a peek at some of the other lovely stuff there.

Once and For Always. . . .

I just rediscovered my spinning wheels. *insert big mushy heart and ecstatic arm waving here* It’s been so long since I’ve spun just for “pleasure” or on a spur of the moment thing. After working on some silk laceweight, I have Bing Crosby in my head singing, “Once and for always, let’s say that it’s agreed. . .” He sings it to his lady love in A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, and it pretty much sums up my feelings toward the wheels at this point.

On the one wheel I have this gorgeous stuff. It’s the laceweight silk I promised my sister a year ago.

And on the other I have this. Cinnamon alpaca laceweight that will probably wind up in Filigree Willow Laceweights. (Sorry about the nasty photo. I have concluded that TV rooms are out to sabotage photography everywhere.)

Garbage Bags

To lots of people garbage bags carry negative connotations. They symbolize things thrown away, things unwanted, smashed cereal boxes, banana peels, yesterday’s bacon grease, and other smelly things.

But, for spinners there is a magic about garbage bags because, when found in the right places, they usually contain fiber in vast quantities. Quantities so large, your ordinary bag won’t hold them. Sound exciting?

Well, while in Texas I was given an early birthday present. Two garbage bags full of cinnamon colored alpaca. Oh my goodness. Major fluffy soft.

And I even have a project idea for it! But, before I get to new project time, I have to overcome another project. Remember the indigo dyed merino? It’s decided to haunt me for some reason.

How Many Hats Is Too Many?

I finished yet another hat! This is a gray alpaca version of the first tam I made. It’s knit from KnitPicks Andean Treasure. Baby alpaca, sport weight, great stuff!

Technically this is the second time I’ve finished it, as I had to knit the ribbing twice. The yarn just wasn’t elastic in 2 x 2 ribbing form! That, and it draped so much it would have fit Barney the Dinosaur. Enlarging the rest of the pattern has definite drawbacks. I solved the problem (with help from the knitting sister!) by raveling back — which was painful, but not too scary — and then going to size 1 needles, as well as decreasing a little more. It worked very well, and I had hoped to deliver it to the recipient at church today, but she wasn’t there.

And, lest you think the lack of recent posts means I haven’t been doing anything fiber-related, let me inform you that I have enough material for two posts now. Part B will go up tomorrow.

The spinning front had been deceptively quiet for the last week or so, and I was getting to feel like it was just lurking around the corner waiting for me to come by so it could jump out and trip me into paying it attention.

Happy New Year!

I hope you’ve been having an absolutely top-hole new year! (Yes, I’ve been watching a lot of British comedy lately. Why do you ask?) It’s been downright cold around here. We even got some snow a few nights ago, and it covered the back porch in a whopping half-inch deep drift.

Well, for my New Year’s Dash I got the sum total of about three quarters of the superwash merino sock yarn spun. Ta-da!

Next year, I start earlier.

I did, however, get the start of the first draft of that spinning article I mentioned. And I also got a pretty good chunk of the black llama deguarded. That wasn’t on my list, I know, but hey, it’s still spinning related.

The nice pile of chosen and selected fibers is still teetering on my desk, so I have decided that this month shall be a spinning month. The idea is to see how much of that pile I can spin before February, while keeping things fun. If spinning becomes a stress factor we have a major problem.