Alpaca Fiber | Preparing Alpaca for Spinning | Fiber & the Spinning Wheel

We sheared our alpacas and we have all of this beautiful fleece.  Now, what to do with it?  We have the choice to sell or to spin.  We chose to spin.  The following is how we took raw alpaca fleece and turned it into beautiful yarn.

Getting Started ~

Raw alpaca fleece doesn't need to be washed before spinning.  It doesn't contain lanolin or other oils.  If you prefer to wash the fleece be very careful not to agitate it or you will end up with a matted mess of felt.

Lay the fleece, cut side up, on a table. (preferably a wire mesh table)  Gently shake the dirt out.  Remove any part of the fleece that doesn't belong, i.e. if you are working with the blanket remove any leg hair or belly hair that might contain the medullary fibers (coarse hair).

The next step can be very easy or difficult, depending on how much debris is in your fleece.

The Teasing Tool

teasing tool
  • Pull out about a 3 inch section of alpaca fleece.
  • Hold the fleece on one end and run the other end through a teasing tool (brush) to remove debris.
  • Now take the other end of the fleece and run it through the brush.

The small section of fleece should now be clean of debris and ready to be put through the drum carder.

The Drum Carder

drum carder
  • Take the small section of fleece and feed it into the drum carder.
  • The fleece will be pulled onto the larger wheel.
  • Continue until there is enough fleece on the carder to make a bat.
  • Use the bat pick to pull the fleece apart along the seam of the larger wheel.

Something to be aware of ....a brand new drum carder will discolor a light colored fleece the first few times it is used.

We're ready to take the fleece off the wheel.  We use a paper towel core to roll the fleece on to.  Take one end of the fleece and roll it off the drum carder and onto a paper towel roll.

"Voila!" the fleece is now ready for spinning. :)


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Dave & Karen Galbraith
P.O. Box 820
Talihina, Oklahoma 74571

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