Friday, March 9, 2012

Making blended sock yarn

I've been working on making some sock yarn with a baby alpaca fleece that I bought last summer at a fiber festival. I wanted to blend in some nylon for durability and some silk for both durability and silkiness. In the picture below, the nylon is on the left, the silk is in the middle, and the washed baby alpaca fiber is on the right. The fleece was a gorgeous mix of gray-white, medium-gray, and darker gray with bronze tips:

The blend was approx. 6% nylon, 6% silk, and 88% alpaca. I blended three different bats with my drum carder. I ended up with a light-gray bat, a medium-gray bat, and a darker-gray bat because I randomly plucked the handfuls of alpaca from the varied fleece. one handful had more of the light fiber in it, one had a more even blend, and one had more of the dark fiber in it. The fiber in the picture above produced the medium-gray bat, which is to the right in the picture below (the light bat is to the left):

Here are the light and medium bats rolled out. At this point, the third, darkest bat hadn't been made yet:

The yarns made with these bats are pictured below. The medium-gray is on the top left, and the light-gray is on the top right:

The yarn made with the dark-gray bat is still hanging to dry on a doorknob after letting it soak to set the twist:

All told, I came out with just over 400 yards of yarn. I would classify it as a light sport weight or a heavy fingering weight. I was considering putting it up for sale, but I think I'm going to make a pair of socks for myself instead, the yarn is very soft and silky.

This fleece already produced 256 yards of sport weight, two-ply yarn (unblended), and I have enough fleece left for maybe another 400 yards, give or take.

So in the end, I'll get somewhere around 1,000 yards of sport weight/fingering weight yarn out of this fleece, which I purchased raw for about $38.

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