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Yikes!! Raw alpaca fleece


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My friend's mother raises alpacas, and I once asked my friend how much she charges for yarn...the mom replied that she'd not only give me yarn, but a whole trash bag of raw fleece (meaning, she doesn't spin, but would give me the raw material to do so!!). Yikes! Now, my friend has this huge trash bag full of fleece!! I just read the post about the llama fleece...I have never spun anything before. I live in a city where it's difficult to find anything having to do with spinning (I'd have to travel over 2 hours to find any of the proper equipment, I think). Is there anything I could find within the city limits that could be converted to spinning/carding, etc.? I know next to nothing other than what I learned in school some 15-20 years ago!! :blush Thanks so much!!

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I don't know about converting things, but there are sites where you can order spinning accessories. http://www.HollySpringHomespun.com is the site of a store near me where the owner raises and spins her own fiber. She has a lot of carding, drop spindles, wheels, etc, that you can order online. Kathy, the owner, is really great and knowledgeable, and could help you figure out what you needed, I bet. There are other sites out there, too, that's just the one I know of and have experience with.

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Slow down and breathe deep. You all you need in the city to convert this raw alpaca into yarn.


You won't have to contend with lanolin in Alpaca but it is usually pretty dusty. Some folks wash it before they spin, others wait until after they spin it. I'm in the first camp. Dirt can be difficult to get out once it's spun into yarn.


To wash, fill the sink with warm/hot soapy water. Put the alpaca into a mesh bag and gently push it into the water. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes. Lift the bag out. Drain the sink and refill with warm/hot soapy water. Submerge the fiber again. Most likely the water will be pretty clean this time. Fill the sink with clean water and rinse the fiber. Spread the fiber on a rack & allow it to dry.


You can spin alpaca in the lock (without carding) or you can purchase a couple of dog slickers from your local pet store and card the alpaca so the fiber lies in the same direction.


This website: Joy of Handspinning can walk you through making your own drop spindle, spinning with a drop spindle, well, just about everything you need to know! It's full of videos also.

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Hey tracey, depending on how you look at it you're either very very lucky or very very unfortunate! Alpaca fiber is an amazing, warm, and expensive fiber, its also easier to spin from raw fleece because it contains no lanolin. Now, I'm going to try to give you resources on spinning yarn out of simple materials but I should add that it would be best for you to buy proper supplies online. I'm also going to assume that your fleece is clean enough to not warrant a washing, if its dirty you need to wash it in water but don't need to heavily scour it like wool.


Interweave press publishes spin off magazine, something you might want to look for at the barnes and nobles magazine stand. On their website they have a section that'll help you get started: click here to go there and look around


The three articles that you should look at are:


Making a CD Spindle: plans for a simple spindle using hardware store items and two un needed *ahem*, *cough*, *aol*, cds.


Spindle Spinning: Once you've made your spindle you have to know how to use it. This tutorial only deals with commercially processed wool, called rovings. That's why you also need to look at


Spinning from the fold:This is for the more advanced spinner but since you want to spin the fleece using readily available tools, substitute the flicker brush with a pet slicker brush, it has bent metal teeth and can be found at most stores with a pet section. You don't have to spin the flicked locks from the fold, you can spin it like you would a roving, but spinning the locks from the fold is easier for some people. If your alpaca fleece doesn't have well defined locks that look like the locks in the tutorial, but just looks like fluff then you're out of luck, you can buy two pet slickers and use them like you would wool cards but it would be best to save your money for real hand cards which go for around $50.


Icanspin.com is a great sight that has tutorials and videos to help you along



I feel I must add that you should expect this process to be very time consuming. If you don't want to process the fiber, you could send the fiber in to a wool mill and for a fee get back either easy to spin roving, or if you find that spinning isn't for you, even yarn.


Here is a list of fiber mills by state


Look around your local yarn stores, many times they will carry spindle kits with a little bit of wool roving, directions, and of course, a spindle.


Spin it by lee raven is a great book for learning how to spin. Its only 30 something pages so it doesn't overwhelm but it covers everything you need to get started like washing fleece, carding, combing, flicking, plying etc.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Dog slickers (brushes) that look kind of like smaller versions of hand carders work, esp. if you're on a budget. Though of course, since it's a smaller surface it'll take a bit more time to work out into rolags.


Otherwise, Ebay is an excellent source for hand carders or drum carders (which run anywhere from $200 and up).


If you're beginning to spin the book "Spin It", is a great beginning book.


Also, don't forget to wash your raw fleece 1st to remove some of the VM (veggie matter), soil and grime. Here's a link:

http://spindlicity.com/winter2005/scour.htm (don't use wool lite; many recommend using dishwashing liquid, or you can buy Orvus paste, or there are others on ebay who sell differen't wool washes - theflyingewe is one of my fav. vendors).


This site here has a load of information: http://www.joyofhandspinning.com/index.html

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  • 1 year later...
i have a 10 month old llama/alpaca. she is brown black and white and i dont know how much i should sell my llama fleece for. :think


I've only bought prepared alpaca once and raw alpaca once.


the prepared alpaca was $4 an ounce - I don't normally pay that much for any fiber, but it was a friend that had started her own fiber mill so I bought some to show support.


The raw alpaca was $5 for as much as I could stuff in a lunch sized paper bag.


The rest of the alpaca & llama I've spun has been raw and given to me (as much as 4 full fleeces at a time.


As for selling your fleece - do you have a micron count of the fiber? Are you selling just the saddle? Is your animal an alpaca or a llama (or a cross breed?)

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Is she a llama or an alpaca? I'd establish that one first...


I couldn't tell you how much llama fleece sells for as i have only ever dealt with alpaca, but i would imagine that it's about the same. In the UK i sell alpaca fleece at £25 a kilo. This is standard alpaca of a mid-fine quality what will spun up into a very soft yarn. If your alpaca is only 10 months this will be her first fleece, and thus described as 'baby alpaca', defining it as very soft (llama tends to be both hairer and coarser than alpaca and so this will not apply if your girl is a llama). If you find that the leg and belly fibre is of a totally different quality (usually coarser) i would remove it before weighing and selling it as it is unlikely that a hand spinner would want to use this.


I would also hand pick any vegetable matter out before you try and sell it. As has been said it is possible to spin alpaca before washing it, and i have always found that this gives better results (if it is a picked fleece), so there is no need for you to wash it before selling it on.


Hope this helps.

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  • 2 weeks later...

she is more of an alpaca then a llama but yes she is a cross..... are most fiber mills successful. ive never even thought i would have a llama that i would be able to do this with.

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