I’m spinning yarn right now that is alpaca fiber from our boy Buddy and his half sister Sookie. It’s a nice shade of brown that blends nicely with colors. I’ve taken their fiber and blended it with hand dyed Merino wool, white faux cashmere and white tencel and added just a little hint of sparkly angelina. That may sound like a high percentage of other fibers compared to the alpaca, but it’s not. I used my blending hackle for this combination.
What’s a hackle, you might ask. Here’s a photo of mine.
The way you use this is to layer prepared fibers on top of each other. I started with a layer of alpaca fiber, then a layer of other fibers, then back to the alpaca. Here you can see the first layer of the alpaca.
And here is other fibers layered in.
This next photo is the finished layers. With this particular combination, I only did 2 sets of the combined fibers. If I were only blending alpaca with one or two other fibers, I may do up to 4 sets. When you have all your layers set, you want to arrange your fibers on a bias as shown in the next photo. This just seems to work better and keeps the fiber flowing while you are using a diz and turning your fiber into roving.
In the photo above, you can see a diz with one hole that was handcrafted by me from polymer clay. I have these in many colors and most come with a matching threader. You will need something with a tiny hook to get through most of the holes. This diz has one hole, but I also make them with 2 and 3 different diameters to give you more flexibility in the size roving you want to make. You can buy the set for $14.
The way the diz works is you thread the fiber through the diz from the concave side and you pull the fiber through. Grasp the fiber between your thumb and index finger about an inch from the convex side of the diz and start pulling the fibers through the hole. You will be holding the diz with your other hand and working it back and front catching fiber as you go along. Work it along the length until it’s all done.
In the photo above you can see what the roving looks like as it’s being pulled through the diz. I use this type of blending when I want a yarn that has more definition in the different fibers. If I wanted a more uniform colored yarn, I would blend the fibers on my drum carder.
When I’ve pulled all the usable fiber off the hackle, there is still some fiber left on it. I pull this off and save it for carding.
This next photo is the roving I’ve pulled off and wrapped into little balls. It’s all ready for spinning. This preparation makes a smooth roving and does align the fibers nicely and is perfect for worsted spinning.
The yarn I’m spinning will be a simple two ply. When I’m done it will be listed for sale in our new web store.
Here is one of my diz sets.
I’m always happy to discuss alpaca fiber and it’s preparation. Please do leave a comment and I hope that this post has been informative.