by Anne Podlesak
This nicely prepared top is a blend of 70% super fine, natural gray alpaca, 25% carbonized bamboo, and 5% glitter.
I had it prepared commercially by Stonehedge Fiber Mill in Michigan. Their normal method of carding roving produces an airy, almost pin-drafted preparation and this was no exception. Because of the great prep, I basically did nothing to prepare the fiber for spinning at my end. I just pulled an end free and started spinning. I had weighed out two 2-ounce sections of the roving, and I spun 2 ounces of singles onto 2 separate bobbins.
Because both alpaca and bamboo can be a bit slippery, and because I knew I wanted to spin a laceweight yarn, I opted for a slightly overtwisted singles, using a worsted type of drafting (inchworm drafting, while smoothing down the singles before allowing them to feed onto the bobbin). I purposefully slightly underplied, to allow the halo of the alpaca to have some space to bloom in once the yarn was plied and I had set the twist. When I was ready to ply, I used a tensioned lazy kate to help me control the singles, and paid careful attention to a nice, even plying.
I wound the finished yarn onto my skein-winder, added 3 choke-ties and allowed the finished yarn to soak in a lukewarm water and wool soak bath until completely saturated. I spun the excess water out in the washing machine (set on the spin only cycle – no spray), and then snapped the finished skein between outstretched hands to help settle the twist nicely. I rotated the skein 90-degrees as I snapped it, and did this 4 times, to help the twist distribute evenly. I hung the finished skein to dry without weights.
Fiber: Alpaca/carbonized bamboo/glitter (70/25/5), 4 oz. / 113g
Singles: 54 wpi, spun Z-twist.
Plied yarn: 2-ply, 40 wpi, plied S-twist
Final yarn: 470 yards [429 m] /4 oz
Photos © Anne Podlesak.