Alpaca scarves and beanies

alpaca1Majacraft spinning wheel copyIt’s nearly that time of year when you need a nice warm beanie or scarf to ward off the chills of winter.  Alpaca fleece is incredibly warm, soft and it’s not itchy.  Alpaca fleece comes in a natural colours ranging from white, fawn, beige, brown, grey and black.

I bought my first 6 boy alpacas in September 2010 as paddock munchers but also hoping to one day learn to spin their fleece. I learnt to spin the following year by going on a short course and received my Majacraft spinning wheel for Christmas.  I love my spinning wheel – it’s made out of New Zealand Rimu and is a double treadle wheel.

Currently, I have 19 adult alpacas and 9 cria (baby alpacas).  Clover, my first cria, was born in July last year and it was an exciting moment to see a newborn in the paddock. My family take turns naming these adorable furry bundles.

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alpaca2So many alpacas create a lot of fleece waiting to be spun.  First, I card the fleece.  Carding separates and straightens the fleece to make spinning easier.  Next I spin the fleece by drawing it rhythmically into my spinning wheel to form one continuous yarn which is wound onto a bobbin.  When I have two bobbins full of yarn, I spin the two yarns together to ply them.   I then wash the finished yarn to remove all the dirt and set the ply.  Alpacas love to roll in dirt patches so their fleece is pretty dirty.  I either knit up the yarn as it is or sometimes I’ll dye white fleece to create a more colourful scarf.

It’s very satisfying when I complete a beanie or scarf knowing that my alpacas provided the fleece.  A large range of scarves and beanies are available at the gallery all throughout the cold months. Who will you choose to wear? Perhaps a black scarf from Sarge? Or maybe you’d prefer fawn from Moptop?

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