Yes, yes. Yes. It’s a Ravelry group. What did we ever do before Ravelry?!?
I’ve been making alpaca blend worsted weight yarn for a mystery hat-along. The project takes 4 “colors.” I spun the first hank using tan alpaca fiber from Robin Crane’s famous “Reggie” and wool from one of Margrett Stretton’s amazing dark brown Gulf Coast sheep. I spun a 2-ply yarn, very supple and soft, that regained it’s hairy/fuzziness once knitted.
The second leg of the project demanded a new color. So, I decided to stick with the alpaca as a base color. This time, I chose to blend with more of Running Moon Farm’s (Margrett’s farm) Gulf Coast Native – cream colored fleece. I took pictures to document this process of making a blended roving by hand.
Here’s a box of washed and combed alpaca fiber from Reggie. The dark tan is the soft soft blanket. The lighter color is coarser hair with great luster.
This is about 3/4 ounce of freshly washed Gulf Coast Native locks. Not a terrific photo, but look close and you can see the incredible fine crimp. This is soft, springy, fairly fine fiber that loves to be blended.
This is a stack of batts taken off of my handcards. The alpaca and GC fiber is about 50:50, and unevenly distributed. This will make a softly hearthered yarn with a lot of visual interest. I make a stack of 6 batts before I pull the first “pre-roving.”
I turn the stack of batts on their sides, and pull from the bottom, making a fat long “rope” of fiber.
This is the first pull.
The first pull has to be recarded. Here’s a carder full of the recarded blend.
The recarded batts were stacked up and here we go again. This time the roving is pulled out with a slight twist that helps to keep the roving together.
Here are two balls of roving (center and right) that total one ounce of fiber. These two balls will be spun into a single. Two more balls will be spun into a second single. The two singles will be spun together to produce a soft, lustrous, fuzzy worsted weight yarn. I’m spinning on my Fricke, scotch tension, at a ratio of 8.7:1.