A question was posted on Ravelry asking how to prep fiber without a carder. I’ve mentioned on this blog before that I just use my hands to prep alpaca fleece. (I haven’t tried to prep sheep’s wool yet). However, I’ve never taken the time to write down all the steps and take pictures along the way. I finally did this weekend.
This is how Buddy’s fleece looks before it is washed. Buddy is the blind alpaca that resides at my local alpaca farm. If you look closely enough, you can see the tips are matted.
Before I even wash the fleece, I first comb out the matted tips using Jake’s flicker brush. I also take the time to pull out all the second cuts and the large bits of vegetable matter, such as straw. The pile in the middle of the picture is all the junk I managed to pull just from this small section of Buddy’s fleece.
Then, I wash the fleece in warm water with a little bit of soap. Afterwards, I rinse it 2-3 times or until the water runs clear of grime and soap. This is what the fleece looks like after it is washed.
Next, I pull a small chunk out of the washed fleece.
From the small chunk, I remove 1 lock of alpaca.
Now starts the fun. I tease the fibers open width-wise.
Then, I pinch the ends of the fibers in each of my hands. Pulling gently but firmly, I coax the fibers completely part.
Next, I stack the fibers on top of each other and repeat the last step 2-3 times or until the fibers no longer cling to one another. The fibers should resemble a cloud.
Finally, I gently roll the fiber cloud down my thigh until it resembles a mini roving. It’s like rolling a cigar.
I repeat these steps until I have completely filled my recycled stationery box.
To spin the mini rovings, just grab one and start drafting it. When you get to the end of the mini roving, join in a new one.
OK. I admit that my technique does take a while to accomplish. You can make a batt on a drum carder in the amount of time it take me to make 10 mini rovings, but you won’t have nearly as much fun!
Meri of Elbit Blog bestowed a Brilliant Blog award on me. Thank you so much, Meri!
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