• louise harper

Making Alpaca Wool: Part 1 - The Fleece

Many of you may know that I worked at an alpaca farm for a year!

*cue adorable alpaca picture collage!*

well, now that I've had my cute picture fix I can get on and tell you about this guy!

This is Zeus, he is a Suri alpaca (there are 2 different breeds and they have different fleeces!) His fleece would grow in long gorgeous dreadlocks and they were super duper soft! you see Suri fibres are finer than Hyacaya ones (that's the other breed, all the alpacas in the collage are Hyacayas!)

Now alpacas have to be sheared each year or they will get too hot under their wonderful fleeces - it's 3 times warmer than sheep wool you know! so in April last year, I managed to get Zeus's fleece! it was going to go to a duvet company because the wool mill the farm sent the fleece to didn't want Suri fibre - they would have to change the whole set up and as the Suri breed is the rarer of the two they just don't get enough fibre in to warrant it!

Which means that I ended up with a bag of fibre weighing in at 3.3kgs! Now, I don't spin, and I have no clue how to process raw fibre! So I hope you are ready to come on an adventure with me, I will be washing the fleece, processing it, spinning it on my new drop spindle (I've been practising with some sheep fibre so hopefully by the time Zeus's fleece is ready I will have some vague idea of what I am doing!) and, in the end, crocheting something beautiful out of it! I may even have a bit of a sidetrack into some dyeing too!

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