This week’s spins in the great Must Spin spinathon are Alpaca and Jacob.
First up Huacaya Alpaca:
The Alpaca fiber I have is more dusty than dirty, and since Alpacas have no lanolin I opted for a quick warm soak in SOAK wash, and it worked fine.
The clean fiber had a fair amount of vm, but it’s so silky that I was sure it would all fall out when I combed it. I was right. It was almost magic and I wish vm would fall out of wool that way!
I have never processed Alpaca before and have never spun from anything but commercially processed top. I spun straight from the comb, worsted, with just a little more twist than I would normally use. My finished yarn is a little over twisted, but still drapey and soft.
Two fun facts about Alpaca from The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook:
- There are 22 natural shades of Alpaca
- The staple length of a Huacaya is 2-6″, a Suri up to 11″
Next up Jacob.
I have raw Jacob and commercially processed Jacob, I liked both for different reasons.
I gave the raw Jacob, from the Spinning Loft, one round in hot water and Power Scour, leaving in some of the lanolin. Since the raw Jacob had only a little white mixed with the black I decided to card it all together and see what happened with both color and spinning. The white fiber seemed a bit shorter and springier, more like a Down breed, than the black.
I ran it through my drum carder 3 times and pulled it into roving. Then blissfully spun it long draw into a chunky 2 ply. My singles weren’t exactly consistent, but it was easy to pick out any lumps that popped up.
The result is a soft (between Corriedale and BFL) and cushy yarn. I would wear it as a sweater. I love the blended color.
The commercial Jacob, from Spirit Trail Fiberworks, came in two wonderfully heathery colors, a dark brown and a white. I spun the brown into a 2 ply worsted and the white into a 2 ply woolen. I loved the consistency that I got from the commercial prep, no lumps or bumps, no vm. I didn’t need to mind theÂ spinning as much, so it went much faster. The only thing for me that I didn’t care for was the lack of lanolin, the yarns still had the cush, but not the soft.
I will say that there are lots of times I will quickly give up the ability to control the lanolin for the convenience of being able to just sit and spin. For me it’s about the spinning.
Two fun facts about Jacob from The Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook:
- They can have between 2 and six horns
- They are known for their multicolored fleeces
Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, the Yarn Harlot, spun and knit a beautiful shawl from a Lilac colored (gray) Jacob fleece. I love how she always finishes things. I wish I could borrow that ability from her.