Thursday, September 15, 2011

Alpaca yarns


About five years ago Andy an alpaca breeder from Flagstaff alpacas in Dunedin started taking his cream alpaca fibre down to Milton Spinning mill to get made into yarns for knitters. Mostly spun into 8ply with some machine knitting weight yarn.
I bought some of the undyed yarn from that original batch and began dyeing it. The yarn took the colour beautifully and retained its shine and soft handle. Rosehip

So we have created several repeatable alpaca yarn weights such as the 4ply, 8ply and blends and now dye the colours in 1-1.6kilo dye lots. You will see that code numbers are beginning to appear on our labels so that we can record the individual dyelots. This makes life easier when people have run short of a yarn in a specific colour.
Every colourway has a name. Some of the early colourways are no-longer produced. In the first year of production the colours were not recorded whereas now I have a lot more repeatable colours which are carefully documented.
I will discuss the problems of exact colour matching and repeatability in another blogpost.

Colours I enjoy dyeing include ‘The Wild’ series with ‘wild rice’ and ‘glacier’ being the first in the series. Wild Rice Glacier

‘Poison’ came about because the colours reminded me of ‘deadly nightshade’ flowers and ‘foxgloves’ which both can do you harm if ingested. Poison is one of the more complex colourways to achieve as the colours are muted by mixing carefully, yet I didn’t want to end up with too much brown. Poison

‘Flamenco’ and ‘all that jazz’ are exuberant reds and pinks. When these go into the dyebath I have to be careful of the next colourway as they always leave a little residue of red somewhere in the pans. They always take the longest to ‘cook’ too. I try to get the dye liquid to go completely clear after each dyebath so that I can reuse the hot water for the next colourway.


Stipple above reflects my love for blue and a deep cedar brown.

Lookout in my blog for a peep into my dye studio and a dye day.