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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Washing fiber

I discovered that there are many ways to wash fiber when running some searches on the internet. Some advanced, some easier, some containing chemicals and others more eco friendly. I prefer being eco friendly. Apparently ammoniac and lanolin (wool fat) combined generates some sort of soap, but not to eco friendly I’m afraid.

That is when I discovered soap nuts. I had never heard of it. It’s not actually nuts, it’s a small dried fruit from the Sapindus Mukorossi tree, one of several trees referred to as soap nut trees. The soap nuts have been used for washing in India for a very long time. Being a little skeptical (just what you should be) I had to do some more reading before concluding that this really seems to be a good eco friendly alternative.

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I boiled some soap nuts and then used about 3 tablespoons decoction in a finger warm bath.

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For unwashed fiber I did two baths.

Upsides

  • Washes fiber really well (since you can wash your hair with the soap nuts too)
  • No insecticidals needed when growing the soap nuts since the saponin in the fruits keep insects away
  • Saponin is the natural detergent
  • The trees grow naturally in their environment and are a needed addition to the eco system

Downside

  • Ships from Asia
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Cute, sooo soft and so kind

I’ve been wanting to meet alpacas for some time now. So last Friday my husband and I went to visit Kusipacha Alpacka farm. IMG_1251

Alpacas are amazingly cut animals, amazingly soft and probably the kindest animal I’ve ever met.

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When they lean their ears backwards it means that they are relaxed (unlike horses…)

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Alpacas are kept for their wonderful fiber. They hail from the Andes and have been domestic animals for a long time. Their closest ancestor is the vicuña, which is smaller and lives in the wild of Peru.

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Some amazingly soft yarns spun from alpaca fiber.

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Good fiber is soft, thick, curly like this and becomes like stamps when you cut it. It should also have a nice sheen.

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The darker colors of fawn and brown are usually not as soft as the white (but still very soft).

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This white is not as thick, but the sheen! It’s hard to capture it on a picture, but my mind kept thinking of silk.

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This is how long the alpaca fiber is.

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And finally I purchased some fiber for spinning. Some white and some brown. The fiber from the legs is either thrown away or used to stuff cushions as it’s not so fine. I got to bring some of that for my fiber loving cats.

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