I was flipping through IK Winter 07 the other morning and decided that I want to knit “Henley Perfected” by Connie Chang Chinchio. The garment in the magazine is knitted in Blue Sky Alpaca “Alpaca Silk” which is a 50:50 blend of Alpaca and Silk (surprise surprise). When I first started spinning lessons my then neighbour gifted me two big bags of Alpaca from a relations hobby farm – one day I will present the neighbour with a skein to give back to the person as a thanks but that will be a while away. Because I am into Spinning at the moment for many reasons including affordability of yarn I have decided to pull out some of the Alpaca and wash it up ready to be blended with some silk.

So, here is how I am doing it:

1. Weigh out the amount of Alpaca I want to wash up – I figure that this garment takes about 8 50g balls of the Alpaca Silk to knit my size so I am going to wash about 250g of Alpaca (ie 1/2 the amount of fibre for the 50:50 blend):

2. Shake the fibre to remove any loose dirt and dust, soak in lukewarm water with wool wash for 15 minutes or longer.

3. Rinse in warm water until water comes clear and then dry in shade.

Once it is dry I am going to either hand card or drum card (depending on availability as I don’t have one and will need to borrow one from somewhere) the 250g of Alpaca with 250g of silk (yet to purchase), spin it up and knit the most beautiful hand spun, hand knit jumper I will have ever made! (Well, that’s the plan anyway 🙂 )

You can get a pretty good overview of Alpaca washing and uses here, here, here and here, but these are just a few of the sites I quickly looked up to compare notes – there are thousands of sites on preparing the fibre.