Alpaca Fleece: To Shampoo, or Not to Shampoo?


So I purchased some fleece from a kind lady one of the many fiber groups I am on, for a discounted price special for only the groups she is apart of (how lucky am I?!). I got a full pound of seconds (neck, belly, leg, rump fleece). With it came instructions for cleaning. Now mind you while I think intensions are all very well, I tried some expermintation.

The intructions stated that cleaning was unnecessary until after the fiber had been spun up and helps to give the fiber more grip when spinning. Now I tend to dissagree with this. I tried that...spun some up and washed it. Some of the dirt will never come out because it is permanently locked into the strands after spinning-I found out.

So I washed some per the directions...soaking it in hot water for an hour to over night. I soaked for a little over two hours, changed the water, and let it sit over night. The water was really cloudy with dust and debree.Dirty on left, Shampooed on Right

To the right is a picture of the fiber I let sit over night in plain water, dried, and some more of the fiber washed with my shampoo next to it on the right. Big difference.

So I plunged the dirty fiber back into the bucket with some shampoo...and look at that water! There is still plenty of dirt in there!
Dirty fleece getting a good cleaning now
Now it says that the fiber, when it gets this clean, tends to be slippery. Yes it is slippery...slippery soft! It is sssooooooooooooooo soft once this now clean fiber has dried and it cards up beautifully into a soft billowy white roving!! Oh! OH! It's a fiber artists orgasim! OHHHHHHh! Yah...I'm just enthusiastic about this wonderful stuff.

I'd add another wonderful photo of the fluffy white stuff, but blogger is not uploading it for some strange reason. So I'll have to add it in a seperate posting. Grrrr.

One thing that the paper of instructions also said was that you could plop it into the washer on the spin cycle to get the water out. I don't have a washer, and there is no way I am sittin at the washer in the basement (commercial washer) and waiting for it to hit spin!! Comprimise time! I used a salad spinner. Works just fine and gets most if not all the water out so the fiber is dried in as little if less than twenty minutes in front of a fan on some screening.

Until next time...

1 comment:

  1. The salad spinner idea is brilliant! I usually spin my alpaca before washing if it's not too terrible, because I like the locks intact, but drying alpaca fleece after I've dyed it takes forever on the line...can't wait to try the salad spinner next time. Found your blog because someone on craftster mentioned you're raising native silkworms. Just finishing up raising a bunch of domesticated ones so I was curious to see your native silkworms. Haven't found the entry yet, but I'll keep looking.


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