Spinning Alpaca

The contest looms were pre-warped, but all of the weft yarn was prepared and spun during the event. Photo: Cheryl Nachtrieb.

Sheep to Shawl with a Paco-Vicuña Twist

Do you like to spin wool and mohair? Have you ever tried lusciously soft Paco-Vicuña? The Recycled Lamb, a popular fiber shop in Golden, Colorado, helped to organize a unique spinning contest earlier this month at the National Western Stock Show. Much like a sheep to shawl contest, teams started with fiber and a warped…

Curious and cuddly-looking, huacaya alpacas have soft, wavy fiber and comical expressions. Photo by Michelle Coburn

Cuddle with a Camelid: Spin Alpaca and Camel

Huacaya Alpaca “Is it a lamb or a llama?” Whitney Dorband, a proprietor of Belvedere Fine Fibers (and former Spin-Off staffer), hears questions like this one often. Minding her huacaya alpacas at the National Western Stock Show, she gets lots of attention for her adorable (if a bit reserved) critters. To some people, an alpaca…

felted owl vid cov

Decisions, Decisions

Every December, I try to come up with crafting resolutions for the upcoming year, because the ones about exercising more, eating better, budgeting my money, etc., just go nowhere. By now, I’ve learned to refine my existing skills rather than take on new crafts. I’d rather get better at spinning, even after 20 years of…

2072.Tyler.3_2D00_ply-yarns.jpg

Spinning With Amy Tyler at Interlochen College

  Amy likes to spin… a lot! Check out this beautiful stash. Photo: Amy Tyler. Amy's Wool into Stone Afghan was featured in Spin-Off Winter 2015. She used natural colored fibers to knit Michigan Petoskey stones. Photo: Amy Tyler.   Next week, handspinning instructor Amy Tyler will be teaching a beginning spinning workshop at the…

3513.Alpaca-2.jpg

How to Wash Alpaca Fiber

  I love spinning alpaca fiber. Unfortunately, there are not too many resources out there on how to do this. Alpaca fiber’s scales are different from sheep’s wool, making it a bit slicker and some might say harder to spin. That’s probably why my copy of Spinning Luxury Fibers is so well loved. There’s great…

4113.Iolanthe-Alpaca-1.jpg

Sharing alpaca-love with kids battling cancer

  Who can resist a smiling alpaca? Photo courtesy of Iolanthe Alpaca Ranch. Fuzzy-faced alpacas with their giant sparkling eyes and long, graceful necks can melt the hearts of children and adults alike. "Part wookie, part giraffe, part teddybear . . ." is how Myla Kent, founder of the Iolanthe Alpaca Ranch describes the members…

89163948_0d5fec3367_z_250.jpg

Spinning Alpaca, Camel, and Cousins

It took me forever to remember the difference between a Bactrian and a Dromedary camel. (Someone finally pointed out to me that a Bactrian has two humps, like the letter B, and a dromedary has one hump, like the letter D.) Dromedaries are from Northern Africa and the Middle East, while the Bactrian camel lives…

5488.Eran-State-Fair-2014.jpg

Love llama? Show your handspun!

  Eran McCarty is a 4-H Llama Club leader. Young people are paired with a llama or alpaca for the summer to learn more about livestock care. Photos courtesy of Eran McCarty. Spinning demonstrations at the Indiana State Fair. Do you have a weakness for llama fibers? Handspinner and llama producer Eran McCarty is spreading…

1856.Alpaca_5F00_freemium_2D00_cover_2D00_252.jpg

Experience spinning alpaca fiber with our free eBook

Experience spinning alpaca fiber with our free eBook  Alpaca fiber is among the finest fiber in the world. Soft and long and in a range of beautiful natural colors, alpaca can be a joy to spin if you know where to start and what makes it different from sheep's wool. I hadn't had much experience…