Alpaca, Charkhas, and More: Spin-Off Summer
What month is it again?
Like lots of us, I feel as though April was about 5 minutes ago, and now we’re into summer weather. But in my world, we’re also starting to plan Spring 2017! But Summer 2016 issue of Spin-Off is just hitting the stands, so here’s a peek at our latest.
Huacaya Alpaca, Fleece to Yarn
One of my favorite articles this issue is “8 Ways to Spin Alpaca Fleece” by Donna M. Rudd. Next to sheep’s wool, huacaya alpaca is the most popular of the natural fibers, and yet we tend to fall head over heels for sheep. (I know I’m guilty.) A master spinner and wool judge, Donna has seen her share of both suri alpaca and huacaya alpaca fleece, and she knows the best from the beastly.
She doesn’t just tell you how to buy the best fiber, though. Donna tells you how to make the best of the fleece you have. Whether it’s vegetable matter or undesirable fibers left in, she explains how to minimize flaws and spin the best alpaca yarn using woolen or worsted techniques or spinning from the lock. If you might pick up an alpaca fleece at a summer wool show, this is a must-read.
Exploring the Charkha
Charkha and cotton spinning go hand in hand; the charkha wheel was invented for spinning short, fine cotton fibers. But, as Devin Helmen points out, a tool with only one use is fairly limited. Although he already loves spinning cotton, he decided to try spinning silk, yak, camel, and other natural fibers using a charkha, with mixed and surprising results. He shares his findings and advice.
This issue also covers natural dyes, cashmere, and the ways that spinning yarn for a living transforms the lives of artisans around the world. Whether your summer spinning plans will take you far from home, to a sheep and wool fest, or just to your own spinning (happy) place, keep your copy of the Summer Spin-Off handy.