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.