Monday, October 26, 2015


Who doesn't love alpaca?

At the MB Fibre Fest 2015 with one of several baby alpacas.
As a spinner and fibre-prepper (it's a word, now) I love that alpaca does not require scouring. Or, at least, I never bother to scour or wash it before spinning.  If I have raw alpaca fibre I comb locks/sections with my little dog comb (still no proper wool combs) and watch the dust coat the floor, then spin it. I prefer to spin from the fold, but sometimes I spin it from the end.  Alpaca roving is equally lovely to spin with even less of the prep work.

Some of my first spinning was alpaca on a support spindle.  That first attempt with the support spindle wasn't my best work.  I did well with the long draw, but I realized fairly soon that the alpaca staple length was a little long (it was a roving from the local fibre fest) and that was making it difficult for me to learn on the new spindle.  I slid that first spinning onto a straw and packed it away for years.

Until one day this year I spun/wound that first length onto a bobbin and finished spinning the remainder on my wheel. I decided to spin my first cable ply yarn for a fingering weight alpaca with decent stitch definition.

My skein-ing helpers

I tried knitting a pair of intricate cabled gloves, but after knitting the first cuff I had to concede that the alpaca was still a little too fluffy to do justice to the intricate work.  I needed a simpler cable.

The yarn went into Time Out again for a while until recently when I knit up these long fingerless mitts.  I was tempted to work them as fingerless gloves, but feared the alpaca would become floppy.  So far they've held their shape beautifully. I chose a pattern that doesn't rely on ribbing for stretchiness. These Can Can mitts are fitted with decreases and I made sure to work my top ribbing sections with twisted knit stitches.  I also knit mine with an extra repeat of the chart in the arm and another set of decreases.

Knit in time for the chilly autumn winds to hit.