A Yarn Left Behind~
During a vacation to visit home and relatives, I made a side trip to a local fiber mill. I bought some soft white Alpaca roving. The plan was to spin a nice yarn, and knit a scarf for my mother. Once I had a bobbin about half full, I asked her what color she would like it dyed. She chose a color I already had in a prepared Alpaca top. I decided to abandon this yarn in favor of spinning the top and skip the whole mess of dying. Many months later I’m finishing this abandoned yarn.
The first thing I notice is the difference between roving and top. I’m accustomed to spinning “top”. I mostly spin a worsted type of yarn which top is great for. All the fibers aligned and flowing together, and it’s easy to take apart to spin in sections. This Alpaca is prepared as a roving, and it’s fibers are crossed like a web. Spinning this roving is quite different from what I’m accustomed. While I want this yarn to be soft, I don’t really want a woolen yarn that’s prone to pill. I want the yarn to be fine and soft but resilient. Alpaca lacks the “memory” and elasticity of wool, and I don’t want the finished product to sag out of shape. So I make do with what I have, and it’s turning out nice.
The first bobbin was nearly half full when I abandoned it. That doesn’t sound like much, but this yarn is fairly fine. I find a small amount of pre-drafting goes a long way, as I’m able to pick out the vegetable matter as I go along. There’s more of it than I’m accustomed to dealing with 🙁 . Alpaca needs a surprising amount of twist for its staple length. It may look perfect, but one little tug and it will pull apart. I’ve learned to give it both extra twist and lessen the “take up” tension a touch.
By folding a length of the single ply yarn in half, it twists around itself. This gives me a good idea of how my finished two ply yarn will look – providing I ply a balanced yarn. I like the way this looks, and I think it’ll provide a soft and fine finished yarn. It’s certain to make a nice scarf, or other accessory. I may spin more than one bobbin of finished yarn, but I plan to hold some back. The remaining roving will be great to blend with other fibers to add softness. Alpaca takes on a “fuzzy” type of halo, adding a characteristic softness and unique appearance. Now is a good time to start visualizing a finished product for my yarn and what color to dye it – if any.