Spinning Llama

The floor besides my chair looked as though a llama had rolled in hay then shook itself whilst standing next to me. I’d already painstakingly picked through the ounce cleaning each side as I went along the entire length. 45 minutes to clean an ounce and yet as I spun the “cleaned” ounce still more fugitive bits of vegetable matter (vm) of all types littered the floor. The ability to identify minute bits was honed by picking them out over and over: hay and straw stems, tiny pieces of alfalfa and clover leafs, wood splinters, moss, fortunately only a few foxtails, and grass. All this after the llama wool had been supposedly cleaned before combing into roving at a mill.

I have the good pleasure of knowing the people who raised the llamas.  The husband, a retired vet, was  meticulous in keeping them well-groomed, the barn and pastures as clean as possible. It’s baffling that the combed top has so much vm in it, at least there’s practically no dirt. Were milling standards different 8 – 10 years ago? The processor still does a brisk business their fiber that I see at shows looks great . The llama breeder friends sold all the llamas when they decided to downsize due to advancing years. I bought the llama wool shortly after learning to spin but had tucked it away until recently.

By picking through an ounce at a time it takes about 20 minutes to spin the cleaned ounce. No matter how hard I try to get everything there’s still more. Four bobbins have been filled, 1 pound spun. Lacking more bobbins I wound off the first batch onto the niddy-noddy, just under 400 yards. Figuring out the yardage needed to weave a small area rug, there appears to be enough even when chain plyed so last night the first four ounces were plied producing approximately 130 yards. There’s still bits of vm! I’m not crazy about the darker greyish brown spun on the first bobbin which was from a different llama then the lighter, reddish brown bump,  (the vm is well camouflaged) so this afternoon I took about 65 yards and dyed it with 3/4 ts red  plus 1/4 ts shell dyes. It turned a nice dark rust. 🙂 (It’s drying so no picture yet.)

The grandkids were here for a visit not too long ago. It was sooo good to see them again!

Tomorrow I head East through the breathtaking Columbia Gorge to Hood River and the Columbia Gorge Fiber Festival which Yvonne of Lavender Sheep has organized. I’m super excited for this new festival, Yvonne is a super organizer and this should prove to be a fun festival. Plus I’ll be teaching a spinning workshop! I’m thrilled to my toes. Spindles and fiber were packed by Tuesday. Class outlined and stepped through, I’ll go through my notes a final time in the morning to tighten up the details and finish the handout, take care of emails then head out the door for what should be a fabulous weekend. I also need to settle what knitting and spinning projects to take. It’s so easy to over pack then not get to a fourth of what I dream of accomplishing. Cheryl of NewHueHandspuns offered to share her hotel room with me which will be great. I’m very much looking forward to the weekend with fiber friends. Wish me well!


Author: Wanda J

I never dreamed my life would be entangled with fiber and the tools used to produce fibery items. When I bought a boat shuttle used in weaving Ed looked at it, decided to make a better one and the rest is history. For a decade he made shuttles, crochet hooks, knitting needles, until his spindles became so popular that he had to devote his time to making them, as well as Walking Wheels. Free time is spent reading, trying to coax food from the ground, and playing in the creek near our place. I love long walks and camping far from crowds. Playing a fiddle beside a stream or with good friends brings sweetness to my soul. Sundays are set aside for worshiping God with our small Quaker meeting.

6 thoughts on “Spinning Llama”

  1. You Grandchildren are so cute, brought a smile to my face. I love what they’re wearing too!

    I would have given up on that mucky Llama fibre…I really don’t enjoy working with difficult stuff

    Have a good time at the Show, it sounds like it will be a lovely weekend for you 🙂

  2. Ooh, I haven’t tried my hand at llama fiber yet; sorry for your vm troubles with it! Although, lately, I’ve been surprised how much vm I’ve been picking out of commercial wool.

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