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CatieCrochets

Questions on Cleaning and Carding

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I have recently acquired TONS of Llama fiber, and Alpaca Fiber from helping a Llama Rescue/sanctuary on shearing day.

 

I have spun yarn before with a drop spindle, but it was already carded and cleaned... I would like to learn how to clean and card fibers myself.

 

I don't even know how to get started! :(

 

I have 6 Large garbage bags full of Llama fiber (Grays, whites, creams, and browns), and One bag of a really nice white/cream Alpaca fiber. *see pics below*

 

It is dirty, but not terribly. I have NO clue how to clean the fiber.. Help?!?!:think

 

I don't have any hand carders or anything, but I know a lady that might let me borrow her's. I have also heard that you can use dog slicker brushes?

 

Any advice would be greatly appreciated!!! :yes

 

Thanks in advance :hook

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Congrats!!

 

First thing you will want to do is separate all the coarse leg & neck hair (like the lock you're holding in the first pic) from the finer fiber. Be ruthless about it. If it feels coarse, put it aside. You have enough there to be very picky.

 

Carding: Since alpaca & llama can be so fine, you would need to use a carder with a lot of TPI (teeth per inch). Alternatively, you can comb it (using regular hair comb). OR you can spin without carding it.

 

Washing: Best to do small batches since you're just starting. You'll be surprised just how much dirt is in that fiber! alpaca & llama love to take dust baths!. Since you don't have to worry about removing lanolin, your water doesn't have to be as hot as when you are scouring wool.

 

Fill your kitchen sink with water and dish detergent like you were going to wash some dishes. If you have 2 sinks, fill the second with just water of the same temperature. If you have a single sink, you a container.

 

Put some fiber into a colander (do not pack it in) and lower it into the soapy water. Let it sit for 15 minutes, lift colander, drain water (do not touch the fiber) and put it in your rinse water.

 

Repeat these two steps until the rinse water shows no signs of dirt. Lay your fiber in a single layer on some type of screen and let dry.

 

If you want to try spinning some without carding or combing, just fluff up the fibers and spin from the 'cloud'.

 

Hope this helps a bit!

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