Spinning a Blend for a Hat-along

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.

combed-alpaca-reggie

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.

washed-gcn

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.

stack-of-alpaca-gc-blend-batts

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.”

getting-ready-for-first-pull-alpaca-gc-blend

I turn the stack of batts on their sides, and pull from the bottom, making a fat long “rope” of fiber.

first-pull-alpaca-gc-blend

This is the first pull.

recarding-alpaca-gc-blend

The first pull has to be recarded. Here’s a carder full of the recarded blend.

pulling-alpaca-gc-roving

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.

alpaca-gc-blend-roving-2

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.

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