The raw, dirty fleece. I don't wash my alpaca before I spin it. Hand processing gets most of the dirt, sand, and VM out. This is a lovely rose grey fleece from one of the local growers - Stargazer Ranch.
The first step is to load the comb. I would suggest most people do NOT want to load this much fiber on their combs (Professional driver, closed course). When loading the comb for the first pass, make sure to leave enough of the butt out past the combs.
After the standard back & across and down from the top motions from transferring fiber back and forth between combs, you will end up with the Santa beard of fiber ready to be pulled off as roving.
I prefer using a diz to pull a nice, even roving. A trick is to make sure it doesn't drag on the ground in the trash pile.
Here I have my ounce + of pretty rosegray roving, all ready to spin up into some lovely 2-ply laceweight.
I advise putting down plastic if you are going to comb in the house, as even a nice fleece leave behind some trash after processing.
It took me about 2 hours to do all this, including a chocolate break. I lost about 50% by weight on this combing. Since I'm pretty picky when it comes to what I keep in my roving, I'm pretty pleased with the results.
Now, onto the spinning. This is really fine yarn, so there’s not a lot of fiber in the drafting zone and I’m attenuating it even more as I work. The yarn is only a few fibers in thickness. You can see that more dirt and VM fall out during the spinning process, hence the ratty old sweatshirt and lap blanket. On the left are the neps I've pulled out of the roving as a go - don't want those bumps in the yarn.
Here’s a bobbin in progress.
The final result is a nice skein of 100% alpaca, hand combed by moi, 216 yds, 1.6 oz / 46 g, 36 wpi. The singles were 78 wpi. This will end up being a lace shawl once I get another 6 - 8 ounces done.
Just another fiber adventure with -the redhead-
All images © Red Stone Yarns