Friday, October 02, 2009

Wool Gathering

I recently started learning to knit. I taught myself the basics and then took classes to learn how to do lace and sock knitting. I have yet to finish a project but so far I am really enjoying the journey.
When I take on a new venture I really like to know the whole process from beginning to end so one week ago I had the opportunity to visit a nearby Alpaca farm to take a tour and learn more about the animals. Learning about them though wasn't enough, so I bought 5oz of raw Alpaca fleece so I could wash, card, and spin it.
To wash it I put it in my kitchen sink full of warm water with just one drop of detergent in it. I soaked it for half an hour, changed the water and soaked it in the warm soap water 3 more times until the water was clean-ish. After that I soaked it in warm water with no soap to rinse it. I put it in a lingerie bag and spun most of the water out in my washing machine on spin cycle.
Here are the pictures, a bag of fleece, fresh from the farm, next, cramming it all into my kitchen sink, last, spun out and laid on towels to complete drying.
It's been a real trip. Alpaca is so soft it is a pleasure to work with. It did smell a bit when it was wet but nowhere near as strong as my dogs smell when they are wet. It was also cool that I got to buy the fleece from the farmers who raised the Alpacas only 4mi from my house. I also got to meet the Alpaca my fleece came from. I've never gotten to buy fiber from a donor I met before.:)
At this time the fleece is now dry and I have started carding it. Be sure you come back to see how it goes and what happens to the fleece next. :)