Monday, September 28, 2009

Alpacas and Charlotte's Babies...

If you were watching the Alpaca Cam yesterday, you may have seen the alpacas greeting me as I arrived at the ranch.

I got my spinning set up and started work on the orange-rust hand-dyed alpaca I was working on the day before. The alpacas had visitors of all ages during the day.

As I was spinning, I would occasionally have a tiny spider drop from the tent that was providing protection from the sun. I wondered if they were Charlotte's babies. I lifted each on carefully to the ground. After the third or fourth one, I wondered if they were coming to check out my technique. The German word for spider is Spinne, which comes from the verb spinnen, meaning "to spin." (Spinnen also means "to be crazy." 'Nuff said.) Spiders are fantastic spinners, with a singles that's even and strong.

The two alpaca ranches participating in Alpaca Days, Blue Moon Ranch and Alpacas at Sundance Ranch, had products for sale. These were spun either by a company in Salt Lake City called Spinderella, or by my friends Linda and...Linda. Charlotte and her babies were not involved.

Linda and Linda had hats, purses, scarves, sweaters socks and other items made from alpaca fiber. They also had spinning fiber and finished yarn, some of it hand-dyed. Business was good. In the photo above, Linda is explaining something about alpaca fiber to a customer.

By about 2:30 PM I had finished the alpaca I was spinning. Today I plied it on itself, using the method where you use your ball winder to make a center-pull ball and then pull from the inside and the outside at the same time to make a 2-ply yarn. I was pleased that, by concentrating, I could make a fairly balanced yarn. I counted every time my left foot went down (I have a double-treadle wheel). One-two-three, and then I fed the plied yarn to the orifice. I think the penny coordinates well with the yarn. Actually, I'm using that for scale. (I noticed the spinners on Ravelry do that.)

I haven't washed it yet to set the twist, but I wanted to get a photo.

Here's what I started spinning yesterday afternoon (above). I put on another bobbin and started with the caramel-colored alpaca. I'm finding it easier to spin. It doesn't have all the slubs and little odd spots that was in the hand-dyed, which was made from some less even fiber, which makes it interesting and fun to spin--but challenging.

This photo shows a complete alpaca fleece, called a blanket. It was laid out so people could see what it looks like after shearing and before processing. See, alpacas can make blankets, too!

Well, I had to show you something of the gorgeous foliage in my backyard. Nights are cool and days are warm, but we are supposed to have precipitation and cold--maybe snow at our elevation--about Wednesday.

What's on my needles? Still frantically trying to finish up the EZ leggings (AKA "Nethergarments"). I'm on the waist ribbing. I have to do a few rows, then make eyelets for a tie.

What's on my iPod? Still listening to Lorna Doone...about Chapter 20 or so now...and the KP Podcasts, of course. I need to download some Sticks and String and It's a Purl, Man. I'm getting behind.

DH is staining the deck in front, rushing to get done before it snows. Rocky and Sunny are relaxing after the walk we went on. I'm sitting here with a nice cuppa tea before we go to the theater tonight to see A Chorus Line down in Salt Lake City. Happy knitting/spinning, etc. --P

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