Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Getting Ready to Spin

When Danni at Critter Farm in Oregon said she was looking for someone who might like to spin some fiber from her llama, Kai, I jumped right in to say that I would love to try.

I am a spinner from way back--I used to be co-owner of a spinning and weaving shop in Washington state. I've been dragging my spinning wheel around with me as we've moved from state to state, but I haven't used it much in recent years.

Now that I have a bunch of lovely fibers, it's time to dust off the wheel and get to work.

From Kai, the llama
The first two photos show Kai's fiber (it isn't actually called wool, as I understand it), straight from the llama. Lots of things will happen to it before it gets spun, and I will document the process in upcoming posts. As you can see, the fiber is made up of longer hairs and a soft undercoat. 

Kai's fiber from underneath
Some time back, Beez brought me some wool and some alpaca from a customer of his whose business was processing wool. The bags he rescued had been tossed aside and were going to be thrown out. I'm sure this was because they didn't match up with the large batch of wool that was being run through the mill. Although they were rejected by the wool mill, they are perfect for a hand spinner.

The alpaca is a lovely toasty shade, a little lighter in color than the Kai fiber. 

White wool

The wool is fine, long fibered, and clean. Of course, "clean" is relative with all newly-shorn animal fibers, and the first step will be to pick through and remove vegetable matter, dirt, and other goodies. Then the fibers will be sorted, washed, teased, and carded before they can be spun. I'll be glad to share the experience with you. 

All three together


Margie's Musings said...

How interesting! I am learning something completely new to me.

the7msn said...

This will be very cool to watch. Thanks!

Danni said...

Fascinating!! I love this! And I love you for doing this! :-)
I never dreamed when I first got Kai that I (or anyone else, lol) would ever actually be able to do anything with her fiber.
How interesting to see all three of the different fibers together.
Ok, I'm ready for part two.
:-) :-)

Beth said...

Those three fibers are lovely together! I look forward to seeing the process, Clair.

EG CameraGirl said...

Very cool! I have never learned to spin even though I have a spinning wheel and have access to hand spindles. Hmmm. Maybe some day!

becky said...

I would imagine this will be quite a process from start to finish, requiring a lot of patience. I have a friend at work that spins. How cool would it be to have something that went from hand spun to wearable!
Look forward to your series.
I start my trip back to NM tomorrow. Not quite ready to leave yet, but so it goes.

Ms. Becky said...

this is going to be a lot of fun watching the progress here. that is some gorgeous fiber. I learned to spin years ago and always wanted to get a wheel but it's still on my wish list! I'm so happy you're doing this!