Friday, November 4, 2011

Spinning Odd Hair

Someone approached me at the market couple weeks ago that he has an odd question. I started smiling, encouraging him to go on :) Then he started explaining that over the years as he was brushing his hair, he
was collecting it (he thought it's weird)... and now he started loosing it (his hair I mean *giggles*), he'd like to find someone who would spin it for him... I assured him there are all different kind of 'hairs' people spin, so I'll help him find a spinner who could do the job for him. So, I went to my spinning group, where is a variety of expertise, and sure we read about some interesting things. Among all, I found a few I thought I'd share here with you all.

Victorian Jewelry made of Human Hair:

From the Catholic Encyclopedia:

During the early ages of Christianity the use of hair-cloth, as a means of bodily mortification and as an aid to the wearer in resisting temptations of the flesh, became very common, not only amongst the ascetics and those who aspired to the life of perfection, but even amongst ordinary lay people in the world, who made it serve as an unostentatious antidote for the outward luxury and comfort of their lives. St. Jerome, for instance, mentions the hairshirt as being frequently worn under the rich and splendid robes of men in high worldly positions...

...Charlemagne, for instance, was buried in the hairshirt he had worn during life (Martene, "De Ant. Eccl. Rit."). 

Although this does not specify 'human hair', but I'd assume that any other 'hair' would be called 'wool', as animal 'hair' was used in much earlier ages.

It is interesting though, what we commonly find kind of weird today, was actually widely used or even in 'fashion' in earlier times.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rogue Stitchers - a Spinning, Knitting, Weaving Group

Thursday 1 pm - 4 pm (last Thursdays of each month)

at Pannonia Alpacas
Join us for a fun time when we get together to learn new stiches, or techniques from each other.
Beginners and Experienced knitters, crocheters, spinners are welcome
Bring your project to share or start a new one.
Bamboo knitting needles and alpaca yarn will be available to purchase.
Attendance is free, snacks or cookies are welcome :)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Handspun yarn out of All Natural Silver Gray Alpaca

Finally finished a nice big ball of 2 ply alpaca yarn I spun from one of our silver gray girl, Luca's fiber. Her fiber is so fine, still in the low 20 microns. I love using the yarn for any knitted or woven projects, like scarves, right around my neck :)

This ball is 456 yrds, 5.6 oz of heavenly soft 80/20 alpaca/merino blend in DK weight.
I offer smaller portions of it in my etsy shop. But the temptation to knit it all up is huge we'll see ;)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Conquered the Carder!

After a few days of eyeballing the carder I finally set down and carded some different colors of the alpaca fiber I dyed earlier.
It's always exciting to see the new colors, but having them in batts or rovings is even better. Putting them together to create a new colorway for a  new project... I have to go  :)
But here's a picture of what I did. Some lovely colors... Deep Maroon (on the carder), Amethyst (which I rather call Ruby), Pine Green and Gold (which I rather call Pale Yellow). They are all gorgeous!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Washed Alpaca Fiber

I've been cleaning and washing some of my alpaca fibers in the past few days.
When the fleece gets shorn off the animals, I sort them by color, fineness, staple length and place them in plastic bags until they get to be processed. Some of my alpacas' fiber I keep separated to be processed by hand.

First I place them on my skirting table, shake out most of the dust, VM, and second cuts, and skirt off the hairy parts I don't want in my fiber.
Then I wash it using cold or luke warm water and just a little bit of soap that helps to get rid of the dirt. Because alpaca doesn't have lanolin, we do not need to use strong chemicals to get the fiber clean, so it makes it very earth friendly. Some people spin the fiber right off the animal. :)

This is one of my girl's, Mira's fiber after it's been washed.
Washed alpaca fiber

Alpaca fiber has it's own brightness which does not fade even after it's dyed.
Beige alpaca fiber has a nice brightness that will not fade even after it's dyed

Here you can see her fiber and the yarn out of her fiber. Notice the brightness. Alpaca yarn is buttery soft, and is a treat next to your skin. :)
Soft, bright alpaca yarn and fiber

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Alpaca Fiber in Fashion

Alpacas produce one of the worlds finest and most luxurious natural fibers. Soft as cashmere, warmer, lighter and stronger than wool, it is recognized by the worldwide fiber market in 22 natural colors. Ranging from pure white through fawn, browns to a true jet black. Colors shade out from steel blue to pale silver and even a vibrant rose-grey, and mahogany!

Alpaca has a natural, rich luster, with a silky feel. It is warm, and does not feel scratchy like some other animal fibers. Their fleece does not contain lanolin, making cleaning and processing very simple and enjoyable.
While alpacas come in many natural colors - more than any other fiber-producing animal - their fiber retains its luster even when dyed with non-chemical dyes. Alpaca fibers are sought after by fiber artists for spinning, weaving, knitting, felting, lock hooking and many other fiber arts. Used alone or blended with other fibers, such as cashmere, mohair, silk, wool, angora or cotton, alpaca products are a luxurious pleasure both to the eye and to the touch.

Alpaca is as light, soft and glamorous as cashmere, yet much less expensive and more easily acquired and processed.

Alpaca fiber is considered to be hypo-allergenic, especially the ultra-fine, premium grade products.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Why Raise Alpacas?

What makes these animals so desirable?
The bottom line: alpacas can be both profitable and enjoyable.
Alpaca breeders are in business for the long run; they believe in the future of the industry. With the relatively small number of alpacas currently available, there will be an extended and steady demand for breeding stock to continue meeting the needs of our growing industry for many years.