Preparing Alpaca Fiber for Spinning – Without Spending a Ton of Money

I’m going to show you how I process or get
my alpaca fiber ready to spin. I didn’t want to spend a whole lot of money on combs, I
don’t really like carding, so what I did is I found these cake breakers on eBay. I think
I got them for about $5 a piece. With alpaca fiber, you can almost spin it without
doing anything to it – I think it just comes out a little bit nicer when you process it
a bit. I did not wash this fiber – this is what it looks like, I got it from Manna
Meadows in Bonner Springs, Kansas, so it’s real nice. Like I said, I haven’t washed it.
I’m not real experienced with spinning yet, so I’m trying to figure this out and I thought this might help someone, else, especially because it seems like everything you have to buy to do spinning costs so much. So anyway, this is what I do: I just take off a little bit
of it and I kind of load it on, just to get it “unclumped.” I put it on the comb like
that . . . take it off, and then – I made this hackle – my husband helped me make it – just a piece of wood, with nails. I think these are 3″ inch nails in here – we used a drill
press to make the holes. To make all the holes the same depth, I just made a little mark
on the drill bit with some red fingernail polish so that I knew how far to drill down
into the wood to make them about the same depth. I drilled all those holes, put the nails in there – they’re finishing nails, so they don’t have a big head, and then used some 2-part epoxy to glue them in and make them real sturdy, and clamped it on the counter.
So that’s my MacGyvered hackle. This is how I load the alpaca fiber. Like I said, I’m
not an expert or anything like that, but this is working for me so I thought it might help somebody else. I’m actually going to take this off and load it over here and show you how I take it off. So this is what I’ve been using as a diz – D-I-Z – you have to learn all
this new lingo when you start this – it’s a little plastic thing that had a hole the
size I wanted. I load the fiber on the hackle, and then kind of brush it all over to one
side and twist it into a point. You can use a crochet hook to help get it through the
hole – of course, I’m not getting it through very good – so how I take it off now is to
just grab onto it and pull a little bit, and push. And then grab it up here, pull until
you feel it kind of give and push. And this way I can get a nice piece of almost like roving. I don’t have a carder, a drum carder, I don’t have the official hand Viking combs or anything
like that. I have 2 cake breakers that cost about $5 a piece; this hackle – I made and I don’t
think that cost us anything because we already had all the stuff; my diz – that didn’t cost
me anything, I had that already; and I got my spinning wheel for Christmas from JMS Wheels
– they’re on Etsy – and he’s a guy in Kansas City, Kansas – great guy, makes every wheel
himself, and I got my whole setup – my wheel, a lazy kate and about 6 bobbins, 2 flyers
for $300. It works great, so I’m very, very happy with it. It’s hard to find all of the
stuff you want to get without spending an arm and a leg, but it is out there, and all
I did was I kept searching for stuff, because I just could not afford to spend the prices
it seemed like everything cost. I usually load this up a little bit heavier so my piece
of roving comes off a little thicker than this. So now I have this – it’s usually kind
of statick-y, so I just spray it with some water or Downy fabric softener. Now I have
a nice little twist of roving that I can now go over and spin. For pretty cheap! There
ya go – bye!

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