Today's post starts with a confession.
I've never really liked alpaca.
Even typing out the words feels almost shameful: how could I, lover of fiber, spinner and knitter of soft and woolly things, not like one of the spinning world's most beloved fibers?
I blame my long-held dislike of all things alpaca on my extreme sensitivity to guard hairs, which some (but certainly not all) alpaca fiber possesses. And though I'd only ever spun it twice - and both times were tiny samples - and knit with it once, I found myself closing my heart to it. Though it saddened me, I'd accepted that maybe alpaca just wasn't for me.
Then, something magical happened last year at Rhinebeck.
While I was wandering through the vendors, a lone braid of glowing, shimmering red fiber called out to me across the crowded barn, and I made my way through the masses of shoppers, totally focused and utterly entranced. What was this mystery fiber?
When I reached the braid, displayed so lovingly in the Spirit Trail Fiberworks booth, I stared at it and sighed. I touched it and marveled at its incredible softness and silkiness. And then I looked at the label, and nearly gasped in disbelief.
Yep. It was alpaca. (Ok, technically it was 70% alpaca, and 30% silk. But I digress.) :)
Despite my prejudice, the fiber came home with me. For several long months, it languished in my stash, tempting (and terrifying) me with the possibilities. Could I finally face my fear of working with alpaca?
Two days ago, I held the braid in my hands, thinking deeply. The fiber was shimmery and smooth, incredibly soft, and a little slippery. When I tugged on it, I found the staple length was quite short, and drafted easily and smoothly. Smiling to myself, I separated the braid in two, sat down at my wheel, and held one of the ends to the leader yarn on my bobbin. Setting my wheel to its fastest whorl, I took a deep breath and set the wheel to whirring, then started spinning a fine, silky singles.
Accompanied by an audiobook of Jane Eyre, I've been spinning this gorgeous fiber in the early morning before going to work, and first thing when I get home in the evening. Even spinning it on the fine side, intending to make a smooth and lustrous 2-ply lace yarn, the bobbin has been filling up with alarming speed!
I've never been so enchanted by a fiber before, and I can't wait to keep spinning this yarn. I'm so excited to see how it turns out!
Have you ever been surprised by yarn or fiber before, for good or bad? I'd love to hear about it!
Thanks so much for reading! Have a great night, and talk to you soon!