The grey alpaca spins up beautifully and effortlessly. This is important because I have a lot to make if I want to knit a skirt. I spun this up on my Abby spindle, it’s a simple, inexpensive and highly effective spindle that Abby Franquemont offers as part of her materials in her classes. I like it because it’s light, fast and I don’t worry about busting it up in my travels. I take it with me where ever I go and spin when ever I have time (and energy).
For my first sample, I spun it fine with a “Z” twist. That’s turning the spindle clockwise to spin. I made sure the fibres were locked, but I didn’t put a great deal of twist into it. My goal is a soft, but strong yarn to withstand the pressures of being a skirt. I can’t remember exactly how much I spun, but enough to make a good sized sample. My goal was to make a cabled yarn. That is a 4-ply yarn, so I needed a lot of yardage on this single.
After I felt I had enough for the sample, I wound it off making a centre-pull ball, then I plied it, “S” twist – turning the spindle counter-clockwise. I put a lot of twist into the 2-ply, as much as it could handle. This is important when making a cabled yarn. This 2-ply yarn is going to be plied again. Yes, again.
In the second ply, it is going to lose some of the twist so you need extra. I wound the 2-ply yarn onto my hand in the Andean style, making a bracelet so I could spin from both ends of the yarn. And I plied the 2-ply yarn with a “Z” twist. Cabled yarn has a lovely texture. The 2-plies lock against each other giving a purly texture. The resulting yarn was soft, still fine — which is surprising because it is a 4-ply yarn. The photos below show it. Not the best images I know. I am in a hotel room and I took the pictures with the camera on my phone. To gauge the thickness of the yarn, those needles are 3mm.
The final sample yarn is 17 metres. Enough to knit up a good sized piece.
My assessment: while lovely, strong and soft, it is not a beautiful yarn. It reminds me of a scene in The Sound of Music — when upon arrival at the home of the Von Trapp family, the Captain asks her to change her clothes. She declares she can’t because she gave all her clothes to the poor. He looks down at the dress she was wearing and asks, “what about that one” to which she replied, “the poor didn’t want this one.”
I don’t want to make that kind of skirt.
So onto sample #2. My plan is to introduce a single of tencel/silk, with a bit of colour.