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My carder arrived! Woot! Too tired tonight to take it out of the box but I'm excited about the prospect of being able to blend things.

I have several enormous bags of that white wool. I thought I would blend some of the alpaca in with it. It is a soft light brown/honey colored blanket.

So how is washing alpaca different from washing wool? I know that it is dustier and has no lanolin but beyond that I am clueless. Is the temperature different? Does it felt more easily or less easily?

When I get around to blending some with the wool, how much do you blend in? 50:50? More or less or ?

Any tips would be so appreciated!
 

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Love alpaca Katosa! It does felt easier than a lot of wools. I flick it lock by lock, and then put it in a net bag to wash - those buggers are dusty critters, and I've found the flick carding before I wash really helps. Other than that I wash the same as wool...hot water and dawn. Don't need quite as much soap. I don't know about the blending, but I would think you could blend your alpaca with any ratio of wool that you want, might be good to have similar length fibers. I'm working on a black alpaca blanket right now, I am planning on blending it 75/25 with silk for a shawl my mom wants to knit.
 

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Kasota, I have no advice to offer, but I sure wish I lived close enough to you to come over and play!

Please keep us posted on your progress. I would love to know what all you learn.
 

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I wonder how yarn made with two different shrinkage types will ply or work when made into a garment?

Since some of the wool breeds shrink a ton, and alpaca may not shrink as much, I would suggest you sample wool and alpaca separate and then see how much they shrink.

I know some wool yarn I've used has shrunk as much as 30% and I've only had the alpaca yarn shrink about 10%. So certain wool I don't mix my warps and wefts, or warp and weft, with something I know won't shrink as much. That means I won't put one thread of shrinkable wool and one of non shrinkable yarn or a warp of one kind and weft of another. UNLESS, I want to make something that collapses. But that's a different thing altogether.

But I really have no idea on this. Just throwing out ideas.
 

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It definitely felts much easier than wool, so just soak it, very gently.
I believe it was Frazzle who told me she lays hers out on a sheet, then fills the bathtub and gently lowers the sheet, with the fiber into it.
No touchy, no feely, after 20 minutes or so, she lifts the sheet, with the fiber in it, and drains the tub, repeat the process until the water is clear.
That's how I do mine.
As far as blending, I'm doing some of mine with a, maybe, 40/60 mix. 40% Corriedale, and 60% Alpaca. Haven't spun it yet, so I have no idea if this is a good mix or not.
 

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I just fill sink with hotish water with soap and push the alpaca in.Then I reach underneeth after it soaks and let the dirty water out, push aside and let the spiket fill again with hot water. I do not let the water stream hit the fiber. Let sink fill and soak again. I do not swish at all but will push the fiber down into the water.
As far as mixing it, it will be hard to get it in a presise mix, I guess you could weigh it before carding together. Diffrent percentages , depending on what you intend to make. 50/50 would be good/simple. I can't give more info than that because I've spun and used every kind of mix but my experiance with a 100 % alpaca was my own mistake because I made it, actualy it had angora in it,which is pretty much the same as alpaca-no memory. I spun and knit up a sweater, it was fine until washing. It sucked up the water ,was very heavy to deal with and it never regained the proper shape.-a learning lesson.
 

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On the Spin a Pound Get a Pound FB page, which is mostly alpaca farmers, they talk about tossing or tumbling the fleece. It sounds like they put it into a mesh bag and put it into the dryer on air setting, no heat and let it toss a bit to get the dust out. I've never tried it. Maybe do a Google search on Tossing or Tumbling an alpaca fleece and see what you get. I certainly would take it outside and shake as much of the dust out as possible.
 
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Mmmmmmm..........

Alpaca.


:)


I can tell you how to KNIT with it.

Camel, too......

Alpaca and/or Camel blend yarn is awesome to knit with.

Yummy

Yummy

Yummy




:)



.
 

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I just washed 8 oz of alpaca. I, um, actually worked it a bit with my hands and it did not felt. So that was good. What was really annoying is that it sticks together in the sink and traps the dust and urine in the locks so just soaking it would take a long time to really clean it. So I swished it about a bit. (Don't have time to sit and wait around here.) I also used palmolive dish soap after trying a gentle shampoo, which really didn't work very well at all. I added a bit of conditioner in the rinse water. Blotted it on a towel and two days out in the sun to dry. Then handpicked it so it was fluffy and ran it through my little carder and it is amazing! 8 oz of fiber is a lot once it has been fluffed and carded. I'm going to mix a little it of it with some angora and see how it goes.
So my advice would be to try a test batch or two and see how you like it.
 
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