Friday, August 17, 2012

Spinning Projects: Alpaca and Llama yarn

Hello again!  Sorry it's been a little while.  This past month has been really busy, but not with crafting projects.  I've been having a lot of fun coordinating an English camp for college students from Japan.  There has been one on-going craft project around here, though, which had to be a secret until last weekend.  I'm so excited to finally share about it here!

Last weekend, some good friends of ours got married in northern Michigan.  Months ago, when I discovered that their reception was to take place at Snow Moon Ranch, a llama and alpaca ranch near Glen Lake, I started scheming.  Since the bride is a knitter and crocheter with an appreciation for handmade things (making her own veil, flower arrangements, and boutonnieres for the wedding, for example!), I wanted to do something special as a wedding gift.  Read on for more details and photos!
Snow Moon Ranch, wedding tent and pastures

I got the ambitious idea to spin some yarn with the llama and alpaca fiber produced at the ranch.  The original idea was to then use the yarn to knit something for the newlyweds to use in their home (pillow sham, placemats, etc).  In the end, I decided the yarn was enough, and that the bride would hopefully enjoy knitting/crocheting something with the yarn herself.

I was happy to find that the ranch did have fiber available, prepared by a friend of the owner.  Even just spinning the yarn was an undertaking, though, as I'd never spun suri alpaca or llama fiber before.  I went ahead and ordered 2 ounces of dark gray suri, 2 ounces of white llama, and 4 ounces of golden suri, and crossed my fingers that it would be easy to work with.

Luckily it was!  The llama was the easiest, similar to a merino wool in my opinion.  The suri was hard to get going, as the wheel pulled it too quickly and the fibers slipped past each other a lot.  The dark gray suri broke once, and it was really difficult to join up a new section.  Otherwise, I was happy with how it turned out!

I plied the 2 ounces of dark gray suri to the white llama, with quite a bit of llama left over.  Then I plied all 4 ounces of golden suri.  I also had a bit of that left over on one bobbin, so I plied it with the llama for a small 32 yard bonus skein.

Using the lazy kate to ply
Last weekend, then, I got to see the llamas and alpacas themselves, which was so exciting!  And most exciting was giving the present and seeing the appreciation of our good friends.  Thanks friends for sharing such a beautiful wedding day with us, and best wishes to you both in your marriage!

Plying the suri/llama yarn

One of the boutonnieres made by the bride!
Some alpacas watching the preparations.

Thanks for coming!

1 comment:

Theresa said...

It was so fun to read this post and see how you made our incredibly thoughtful wedding gift! I haven't decided what to make yet, but as the weather is turning cooler, I'm getting excited to pull out my crochet hooks! Thanks again:)