Tuesday 30 July 2013

Spinning Suri

Amongst other craft work and farm work I’ve been spinning my first Suri fleece, Mr Frizzle’s to be precise. 

Suri fleece differs from the Huacuya fleece by not having much crimp and by being silky and hanging in ringlets.  The lack of crimp means that longer fibres are required in order to get a thread that doesn’t break which is why Suri alpacas are usual shorn every other year.

I was told that it was simple to spin Suri direct from the staple, (the ringlet) but I didn’t find it worked for me.  So after a bit of experimenting I ended up with the following method.

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Starting at the left of the picture above is the raw fleece.  There is no need to wash it as unlike sheep’s fleece there is no lanolin to contend with.

I separated out the locks into manageable pieces; they are shown above the hand carder.  I then drew each lock across a hand carder until I was left with a lock of straight silky fibres – the lock to the right of the hand carder. 

The soft fluffy fibres I removed, shown at the top right in the patch of sunlight will not go to waste.  They will all be drum carded, the fibres on the roll at the bottom right, and spun at a later date.  I will then compare the two types of yarn I produce.  But at present I’m concentrating on the long silky fibres and trying to produce a worsted type of yarn.

The colour changes in producing the yarn is also impressive.  Alpaca wool may not contain lanolin but anyone who has watched alpacas in the field will know they love to roll on the dirt.

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So on the left are the carded locks, in the middle is the plied yarn having come off the spinning wheel and on the right is the balled yarn after it has been washed. 

It’s really hard to believe that it’s all come from the same fleece.

I’m really looking forward to spinning the combed out fibres too; they are much softer and fluffier that what I’m spinning at the moment and I want to try and spin them in a woollen style and compare the two types.