an alpaca experiment.

Remember that deep brown alpaca I spun for a trade with a friend? (If you’re reading in real time, or close to it, it’s that luscious stuff in the header photo on my blog.) Well, that was only half the bag of fiber N. gave me to work with! I picked the deep brown alpaca first because it was softer and “felt” like it would be a more familiar spin. The grey stuff felt a bit more like the alpaca I tried to spin right when I got my wheel. Last night, I was feeling likeĀ  I wanted to get something done (and I needed a break from prepping for this week’s sections), so I dug out the grey alpaca. I have four mostly even bumps, almost 2 oz. each, so I decided to put the first quarter on the wheel and just see what it wanted to be. This stuff is pretty compressed, so I spread out the fibers the best I could, and then tried to work with the super long staple length and short guard hairs. I haven’t spun much alpaca, so I’m not sure my take on this particular fiber is accurate, but to me it seems like some of this is “seconds” — not the softest fiber the animal has to offer. Also, this was on the dirtier side of the spectrum of fiber I’ve encountered — veggie matter, burrs, even some dried bug parts, I think.

I settled on a low twist, thick/thin single, and once I pulled it off the bobbin and wound it onto the niddy noddy, I liked it. Because some of this is pretty coarse, I worry that plying it will make it too rope-like. Leaving it as a single seems to encourage the halo, which I think is a good thing. So I put the second 2 oz. chunk on the wheel and did the same thing. These small skeins are hanging to dry right now, and I’m anxious to get a sense for how the feel of this yarn has changed with washing. I think I’m going to spin the other two chunks the same way, as I’m getting into a rhythm, and I love the sheen on these singles. More pictures soon!

And then there’s this guy, patiently waiting for a belly rub. Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

norwegian tomato button bags.

Ahh, Friday. Today’s title is a mixture of elements from each of the things I have to show you. (It has been a long week.)

norwegian top fiber

norwegianbob1

This is Norwegian top, from the big, basic fiber order I placed right when I got my wheel. It is softer than it looks, but I’m not quite sure how to tame all of these super short fibers. I divided my 8 oz into 2 chunks, and I’m working on turning the first 4 oz. into some basic 2-ply. I’m interested to see what happens once I ply and set the twist. Anybody have experiences with this fiber to share?

tomato jam

Last night I made this tomato jam. I am planning to bake bread today in order to enjoy it. I am very, very excited.

babybelleneeds buttons

As you can see, I won my race with my ball of handspun — and I even had about 15 yards leftover. Next up: blocking and buttons!

baggu!

Also, yesterday was full of surprises! First up, this set of Baggu bags arrived from Joy the Baker, along with a lovely note about how I’m a winner. (I needed that.) I cannot wait to take these to the farm this week. Plus, I heard from a college friend who just happens to be within a few hours of New Home, so she is driving down for the day!