Thursday, March 24, 2005

i have no clue

i was recently gifted a big bag of white/creamish FIBER. The previous owner said it was llama clippings. (i still don't know how he ended up with a bag of llama fiber, but oh well!) I have no idea how to clean and prepare this. do they have lanolin? does it felt? should i treat it like wool? i don't know. This fiber didn't feel very oily before i washed it, but now i may have changed my mind.

Inspired by Sheila, of Mutually Reclusive, i decided to give it a whack. last night i took a small handful of it and washed it in the sink with hot water and dish soap. there was a lot of vegetable matter in that was very hard to get out. The fiber has almost no crimp in it, it acts just like human hair in the sink. After washing it a few times, i laid it out on a towel to dry overnight.
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This morning, i attempted to card a little bit of it using my hand carders. I have watched videos online and read about how to use these things, and i just cannot figure them out! i've learned most of my knitting and spinning from books and the internet, but this is just going to be something where i need someone to show me in person. maybe i'm missing a step and need a flicker before going onto the combs? oh well. I did manage to create a few pathetic little rolags of fluff. With those a spun up a very small test skein. It looks harsh, but its actually quite soft, yet oily. I think when i wash the rest of the fiber i'm going to need to use very hot water and some serious detergent.
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At 3/25/2005 8:57 AM, Blogger Helen said...

First, shake out as much of the VM as you can. Then fill a sink or washer full of warm water. Because llama have almost no lanolin (but lots of dust because they LOVE to roll around on the ground!), you really won't need hot water. Add a lot of Dawn, or any laundry detergent to the water. Gently swish around, and then place your fiber into the water. Allow it to soak for about 15 minutes. Drain. Repeat as needed to get the dirt out, being careful not to agitate the fiber. Once you are satisfied with the cleanliness of the wool, rinse in more warm water (same temp as above). Rinse until you no longer see soap bubbles coming from the fiber. Lay to dry and then card as usual.
Hand cards are difficult to use and they take a long time to card large amounts of fiber. You might want to consider getting a drum carder. :)

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