Combing or carding?

Not sure which is best yet: Combing or carding fleece. My ambition is always to make a yarn as soft as possible. Carding doesn’t really give that result. Instead the fibers are a little dissorganized and sprawly. That is why I’ve been eyeing some wool combs online, but they aren’t exactly cheap, so for trying out combing I’m borrowing Stina’s comb (I don’t think she minds. She doesn’t approve of that comb as it is anyway).
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Washing alpaca fleece

I’m trying to wash the alpaca fleece before combing and spinning it.

Basically I just took a bin, filled it up with finger warm water, added some soapnut decoction (made that myself, boiled 50 grams of soapnuts in a couple of cups of water for about 10 minutes) and then put the fleece in.
I let it soak over night before rinsing it in fresh water. But very carefully to avoid felting.

Now it’s spread out on s towel to dry.
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This black fleece is so pretty. My mind is running wild with spinning and dying ideas. (Well, obviously I can’t dye the black, but I could combine it with another fleece…)

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Neighbors and alpacas

Okay, so here’s a bit of gossip. Apparently (dramatic paus) there are alpacas living just a couple of kilometers from my house (!!!) and I DIDN’T KNOW. One of my neighbors told me (it’s her parents keeping them) and I’ve been out and about with the pram trying to glimpse them. No suck luck just yet.

I’m planning (hoping) to buy some wool from them. And as it happens my neighbor is interested in learning to spinn (I did offer her a go on Clara). Just when we were chatting away about classes another neighbor joined in and announced that she too had taken the same class as me and Tove at Boda Backe (not at the same time obviously, THAT I would have noticed).

I’ll let you know on the progress of glimpsing alpacas! And buying wool. Or if we suddenly start spinn-get-togethers out here on the countryside. (The latter most unlikely…)

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Fibermania

I decided to try out some different fiber. The best way to learn is to try, right? And since I prefer knitting scarfs and other delicate pieces I went ahead and ordered some luxurious fibers that are new to me. The yak fiber is one for example, that I’m still considering how to spin. I also ordered baby camel; the silk, angora and merino blend; and some nice kashmir fluff. They are all fantastically soft!

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Besides this I found a fun package of 28 different sheep fluff 1 oz to try from woolgatherings. I will write more about that separately.

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Yak going awry

Inspired by the Craftsy class about wool (I’ve written about it earlier) I set out on a fleece discovery and ordered yak (in the picture below) baby camel and a nice blend of angora, merino and silk. All of them considered luxurious fiber.

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I tried spinning the yak today. Totally unsuccessful!!! The yarn simply falls apart. The fleece is magnificently soft, but not very long. Either I must go with more twist or simply blend with something else.

A bit disappointed I picked up the angora blend instead and the result was immediate.

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The Rainbow Song

More than 10 years ago “The Rainbow Song” was one of the first songs my husband and I recorded at home in the kitchen. It’s a song about believing in your dreams and to be strong. When I first got the idea to dye my own rainbow yarn I thought of naming it “The Rainbow Song”.

After checking the exact order of the seven colors in the rainbow I got to work dividing my large hank into seven small hanks (using a cat food tin. And of course without cutting the hanks apart!).

I then managed to muddle the little red dye I had left. (Not too surprisingly too much black in a red makes a purple/burgundy…) But I refused to be discouraged by this small setback and ventured on.

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After dying and washing I wanted to transform my small hanks into one large hank again. Cheerfully going about it soon turned into another muddle. For some reason the blue hank refused to cooperate and I found myself with the worst yarn barf I’ve ever seen… (Really fun trying to disentangle wet yarn… NOT!). My husband chose this particular moment to sing the chorus from “The Rainbow Song”:

“You will see many rainbows break, but you’ll still carry on.

That’s how our dreams may fall apart, but we’ll build them up again…”

At which I shot him a dark “Shut up”.

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A couple of hours later all colors were nicely wrapped together to admire. (Phew!)

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Doing some math

The latest alpaca is drying. (I’m planning a complicated dying for this, but in a later post…)
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It’s a little uneven here and there (well, you try spinning with a cat attached to your fleece and see how easy that is).
Anyway, if my calculations are correct it’s about 285 yards (and slightly over 100 grams) which makes a nice fullsize skein.

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