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Monday, 10 June 2013

Impala's Fleece

As you can probably imagine, I've been itching to spin Impala's fleece.  I started prepping it during last Wednesday evening (the day he was sheared) and it took me a little while to determine the best method.  

His fleece is a bit on the short side for two reasons : firstly, it didn't grow as long as the other alpacas' fleeces for some reason, and secondly, we had a bit of a problem while shearing him.  Either the shearers weren't working properly by the time we got to him, or his fleece is so fine and dense that the comb on the shearer wouldn't go through it and rode over the top, cutting it too high.

Anyway, we did eventually get him done and here's his fleece.  This is the "blanket" which is the part that goes over his back and down each side - the prime fibre for spinning.  I wish you could feel how soft this is.  I've spun baby alpaca before (Eric bought some for my birthday last year) but it isn't as soft and fine as this.  Impala's first shearing produced fibre of 15.4 micron, which is incredibly fine, and I think this year's can't be very much more than that.  It's certainly the finest of all five alpacas, even Jorrocks who had his first shearing this year, and his is amazingly soft.  Tammy has spun and knit a little sample from their four alpacas and they're all exceptionally good quality and super soft.

Just to explain the term "baby alpaca fleece" : apparently, alpaca fleece is classified as "baby" if it's below a certain micron count (I think if it's below 21 micron), so it's quite possible for an alpaca to produce baby quality into adulthood.

Well, I've decided the best way to prepare his fleece is by good old-fashioned hand carding, i.e. making rolags :-

I allowed myself the luxury of spinning just one of these rolags so I could see how it wanted to be spun.  It flowed very smoothly and spun up very fine, so I think I should get a nice amount of yardage from it.  The rest of these have been put away into a box so I can spin them for the Tour de Fleece.  I still have a lot more to make if they're going to last me for the three weeks of the Tour, so if you'll excuse me, I'll get back to it.


  1. Those rolags look wonderful!

    1. Oh thank you, they are incredibly soft. I'm really looking forward to spinning them during the Tour de Fleece.