Friday, June 21, 2013

From Llama to Lovely Yarn...A Processing Tale

After hemming and hawing about starting to process and spin Kara's fleece, I finally got around to it!  And once I started I just couldn't stop!  Kara's fleece from 2013 was sold in our farm's new CSA (community-supported agriculture) program.  Buyers could choose to receive raw fleece, carded batts, or handspun yarn.  Ralph and T's fleeces were sold raw through this program too, but Kara's was sold as handspun yarn.

Beautiful little Kara.

The story starts back in May when I went home to groom and shear llamas.  Over several days, I carefully brushed Kara out, eventually washing her and then shearing her by hand.  Her fleece was absolutely gorgeous!  The full blog post about shearing Kara is here.

Kara all groomed out, before shearing.

A few weeks later, I got around to carding the raw fiber in preparation for spinning.  It took me a couple of hours to card it all on my small drum carder.  The buyer wanted the colors mixed, so I would just pull random hand-fulls of fiber from the bag and add it to the carder.

Carding Kara's fleece.

Next, the big task...spinning!  The yarn was to be spun as a worsted weight, which is a bit thicker than I have been spinning recently.  My carding preparation wasn't perfect (it is hard when working with 7-8" long fiber!), so the yarn has a bit of texture.  I spun all the singles, and then plied.  I ended up with 4 skeins, totaling about 450 yards (I think!).  I love how the yarn turned out, the color is very tweedy and gorgeous.

Single ply yarn.

Plied yarn.

Last came washing...  Kara was washed before shearing, but I had no idea how much dirt could be left in the fiber!  As I spun, tons of dirt came flying out, so I knew the final yarn would need a lot of washing.  I think I washed the yarn 4 times in hot soapy water, followed by 3 rinses.  It was worth it though, the finished yarn is extremely soft and the color is gorgeous!

Rinsing the yarn.

Drying the yarn.

Beautiful yarn after washing.

My spinning companion (Abby, my Golden Retriever puppy)!

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