Thursday, January 1, 2009




Two sample baby blankets, the swedish lace one pulled in a lot more lengthways after washing than I had anticipated, even with washing the sample first. They are natural coloured 100% fine alpaca fibre and sooo soft and light. The handspinning took me ages and I still feel the fawn yarn for the woven one should be finer. I love the subtle texture (you can't see it in the photos) from the handspun which gives the pieces that human (non manufactured) look. I did full the woven one in the wash to make sure the floats of the lace pattern were structurally sound. That is compacted to the surface so it was hard to lift them away from background. My fear with 100% alpaca is that it might shed fibres due to it's slippery nature and with no wool content to entrap the fibre. However I have made several (at least 30) items with 100% alpaca from a variety of sources although predominantly handspun which are either wearing well (my own items) or from which I have had no complaints from the customer (yet). I also treat my samples quite roughly both in the washing and I rub the surface and pick at it to see whether I can encourage pilling and shedding. In some cases I've had to add more twist to the yarn or re-evaluate the fabric techniques i.e. resley the reed for a closer sett on the loom or work with a smaller crochet hook. Sleazy fabrics do seem to encourage movement of fibre in the yarns.

So is sampling time consuming? ....absolutely, is it necessary.... usually and it does save time in the long run and yes, I have my share of failed projects which I may possibly publish from time to time on this blog, of the few that still exist.

4 comments:

Jody said...

Those are very beautiful. I am saving my handspun alpaca to make some type of afghan blanket someday. I almost always comb my alpaca fleece and it is quite durable with no pilling. I have some Peruvian alpaca yarn that was quite expensive and I knit mitts with it. They pilled like crazy and fell apart after only a few washings.

Doe said...

Thanks Jody,
Yes I like to comb alpaca too and it's unlikely to pill but these yarns are drumcarded as I wanted to full the finished woven blanket. Selecting the fibre and sorting the fleece carefully helps.
BTW your cats are so pretty.

Jody said...

Thanks....I think they are awfully pretty too. Of course all the grooming and teethcleaning helps....they are indoor cats. I really want a Pat Green drumcarder...I am saving for an electric Fancicarder. I would luv to spin more suri as I have some nice fleeces but it is such a pain. Your suri looks lovely.

Doe said...

You're so right about suri preparation Jody. It takes me nearly double the length of time to prepare compared to huacaya. But... I adore the look of the animal and the yarn and finished items make it all worthwhile.