plying alpaca on the Kiwi wheel
Is there a special Dante-esque level of Hell for people who write too
much about alpaca fleece, where they are forced to read e-mail after
e-mail written by persons who want to be alpaca breeders but don't
want to take even the slightest interest in their own "end product"?
They would rather e-mail someone else in very large numbers?
If so, I am certainly destined to end up there. If..... I'm not there already.
Here is my featured, alpaca fleece e-mail question of the week:
"Hi my name is NAME REMOVED FOR OBVIOUS REASONS and we just purchased an alpaca farm and found 4 bags of hair. I was wondering if it is still good and if it is how do I sell it. If you could please let me know either way. You can contact me at CONTACT INFO.REMOVED FOR OBVIOUS REASONS."
4 bags of HAIR?!!!
I know, I know, you're thinking, "Gad, you're so mean Kate! Why do you have to make fun of these people on your blog?"
Forget about the fleece, this kind of e-mail always makes me nervous about whether this person has educated herself about the proper care and feeding of alpacas. After all, you can be mean by talking straight with people, but you can also be mean because you just think some living thing is sooooo cute, but you have not tried hard enough to figure out how to take care of that living thing.
Hopefully, that is not the case with this person. I did answer her politely.
Meanwhile, in that same alpaca fleece person Hell, there would be an old, banged-up spinning wheel that stops working just when you are about to finish plying the alpaca skein that you were dying to knit with.
Sort of like this one:
my poor, broken Kiwi spinning wheel
The conrod joint of my Ashford Kiwi spinning wheel broke when I was approximately halfway through plying my last two bobbins of the huacaya /suri blend alpaca fleece. This part is hard rubber or soft plastic or something like that, but mine, very old, had dried out and cracked.
Speaking of crack, a non-fiber addict person (I know very few of these) would just stop spinning and arrange to replace the part.
Hah! I decided to just use one of the two treadles. This would have worked, albeit awkwardly, but the loose conrod blocked the treadle with each turn, stopping the wheel from turning.
conrod blocks treadle
If you have never spun a few skeins with a wheel that is held together with elastic hair bands and paper clips, are you even a REAL hand spinner?
Nah. Here is my solution - rubber band holds the conrod out of the way.
spinning on broken wheel
In this clumsy way, I managed to finish plying the skein. Meanwhile, another spinner had sworn to me that fish tank tubing is just the thing to replace the rubbery, Ashford conrod joints. So, I tried it.
It worked for about 3 turns of the wheel and then broke again.
Working on the assumption that the old-fashioned ways were probably the most sensible when it comes to fibery things, I finally used the traditional method of joining the conrods to the treadles, the strip of flexible leather.
Success at last!
Yes, I feel badly about the cow, but when it comes to building materials, it's pretty hard to beat Mother Nature. I actually wish I'd done this a long time ago, as the wheel turns even more smoothly now. Thank goodness we didn't have to give up the spinning
Is there a Heaven for former alpaca breeders? If there is, it is knowing that your former alpacas are well cared for, loved and happy with their new owners. Here is a photo of one of my old girl, Pinka 's, offspring, winning big in a Virginia show for his owners at Wildwood Alpacas. He looks just like his Mommy!
Back to Christmas present knitting for me. I finished this Calorimetry for my sister. This is more a functional thing than a fancy one, it keeps your ears warm without messing up your hair
Calorimetry Pattern on Knitty
This crazy Christmas scarf for my Mother-in-law (She wanted it!)
Christmas scarf for the monster-in-law
and this capelet for my Church's Christmas Bazaar.
Doesn't my daughter look thrilled to be modeling it? I made up this pattern myself because I was too lazy to follow the one I had printed out.
Important Philosophical Question:
If I kept the 70% Alpaca/ 20% Silk/ 10% Cashmere, hand-dyed, lace weight, 100g skein for myself, even though I bought it to make a Christmas gift for someone else, would I end up on Santa's Bad Girl List?
alpaca blend hand dyed yarn ball
PS. Buy that yarn here if you are needing it:
Turtle Cove Farm in Cape Canaveral, FL
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