Posted by: Leslie | September 3, 2007

handspun alpaca

A while back a member of my old guild had some alpaca fibre she was giving away. She said it was only good for felting and most of it was coarse leg hair, but one bag had some extremely soft chocolate brown fibre. Naturally, I snatched it up and squirrelled it away for future use. I think the reason she labelled it “only good for felting” was the staple length–only 1-2″. One of alpaca’s selling points seems to be its potential to have a much longer staple length than wool: I often see sellers of alpaca fleece claiming (much like the ads in the back of certain shady alternative newspapers) lengths of 8, 9, even 10 inches. The sheer length of the fibre, combined with its incredible softness, makes up for the fact that it can never match wool’s crimp and elasticity. As a result, spinners go nuts over the stuff.

So I had a bag of reject-but-not-really alpaca fibre, what to do with it? Well, I blended some of it with wool to make some thrummed mittens I’ll write about later. But I also spun it by the handful, point-of-twist style, on my wonky rented Ashford Traditional wheel. The result was a couple of skeins of a very soft, very warm yarn probably well suited for a ribbed hat or scarf (ribbing would help counteract alpaca’s tendency to lose its shape). It’s also pretty consistent in thickness despite being fuzzy and haloed. Like the yarn in my last post, I plan to sell it, possibly knitted up into hat form first.

fyi, those are size 3 (US) needles to show the thickness of the yarn.



  1. Thanks for the compliments on the hat. No, it’s not my own design. It’s a Le’Slouch by Knit and Tonic with an Italian Tubular Cast-on and adapted stitch count for smaller gauge yarn.

    That’s some tasty looking alpaca. It’s sure to make a super cozy hat!

  2. […] 14th, 2007 by quenouille Remember that handspun alpaca yarn I made? Well, I went ahead a knit a toque with it. I knit it on size 8 (US) needles and used a mock […]

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