Sunday, 23 November 2014

After shearing

Once the alpacas have been relieved of their precious fibre, then the laborious, painstaking work begins.

Alpacas l-o-v-e rolling around in their paddock, which means that all those minute pieces of grass / twigs / dust / lucerne, etc. often get caught up in their fleece.
One of 15 bags of fibre waiting to
be cleaned of vegetable matter
I have three bags of fibre from each alpaca - 1st (saddle), 2nd (neck) and 3rd (legs).  Before proceeding with any of the processing of the fleece all that vegetable matter has to be cleaned out of the fibre.
Slung out on the chicken wire, it is easy to
dispose of the vegetable matter I pick from
the fibre
Do you remember the first solar dehydrator I had made - the one that was off-square?  I was nervous using it as the glass didn't sit well enough and I was fearful that a bump would cause it to crashing down on the floor.  So I had another model made.  Which left me with the first one doing nothing, except cluttering up the place.  Well, it turns out is is perfect as an alpaca fibre sorting table.  All I needed to do was sling some chicken wire over it, and hey, presto!  It created a perfect fibre processing surface / table.
The vegetable matter falls through the chicken
wire to the waiting base of the AFST below
As I slowly and carefully go through the fibre, and find any signs of vegetable matter (and trust me, Minky is the worst offender), all I do is ease it out of the fibre, let go, and it falls into the base of the dryer - which has now been re-named the AFST (alpaca fibre sorting table).  Once there it is easy to remove and throw outside - which is perfect for the birds to swoop down and pick up any small scraps of fibre with which to line their nests :)
Oh - so incredibly soft...
The fibre is almost melt-in-the-mouth soft - oh, I can't wait to start working with it.

As the 2nds and 3rd fibres are not as long as the 1st, I am going to felt them. Felting alpaca fibre is easy, and there any plenty of You Tube videos demonstrating the technique.  Once the fibre is in a felted "sheet", it can be cut to any pattern and sown as per normal fabric.
This is the picture of the loom
I found on Gumtree.  If I remove
the legs, then I can keep it in
the house, and placing it on top
of our dining room table, I can
weave away whilst we watch TV
in the evenings.
And, I am planning to have the 1st properly processed into yarn so that I can weave it on the inexpensive 2nd hand table loom I picked up on Gumtree.  I should get the loom at the end of this coming week.  I can hardly wait to start weaving :)

But, before any of the above can happen, I need to finished cleaning out the VM, and then it is off to the fibre mill for processing.


  1. Dani...I am so looking forward to seeing what you do with your alpaca fibre. Especially with your new loom. The only thing keeping me from learning how to weave is lack of space. Three-room apartment plus canning jars plus food storage plus quilting fabric plus scrapbooking supplies. Nope. Just won't work. So I will be satisfied with watching your progress. How exciting!

    1. Vicki - I can't wait to show you LOL

      Such a pity that you have no space to try weaving too - I think - I hope - it will be a very relaxing, therapeutic pasttime.

  2. Can't wait to see what you make, I would love to have a go at this :)

    1. Chickpea - Not long now - I get the loom tomorrow... (happy sigh)


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