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Old 08-10-2012, 10:37 AM   #1
KyleattheHeathertoft
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Blending fibers? (new here.)
Hi! I'm new here and new to hand-spinning. I'm trying to blend some wonderful Alpaca someone sent me with fiber from my Angora rabbits. I'd like a high-Angora blend...but doesn't Alpaca need to be carded? I should card them together, right?

I don't have nice big carding tools...someone told me that in a pinch, a pair of dog slicker brushes would work. Is that true?

Thanks in advance for any advice you guys have!
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Old 08-10-2012, 05:32 PM   #2
Jan in CA
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Oh! I'm sorry I don't know the answer, but glad to see everything is okay now with your account!
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Old 08-10-2012, 07:55 PM   #3
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Yes, thank you so, so much to the administration team here at this forum, I'm really, REALLY grateful it got fixed. :D
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Old 08-11-2012, 05:06 AM   #4
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Hi and Welcome to Kniting Help! Some of the spinners may be able to help with your question but it sounds like a great problem to have. Mmmm, angora and alpaca, that'll be gorgeous.
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Old 08-13-2012, 08:06 AM   #5
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Yes, using a pair of dog slickers works very well for carding and blending.

As for is alpaca needs to be carded, it depends!

Is the alpaca raw (straight off the animal) or in a roving form?

Raw alpaca needs to be soaked to get the dirt out. Even if it looks clean, you would be surprised how much dust is on it.

An easy way to clean alpaca is to place the locks in a strainer or netted bag and immerse it in warm soapy water. Do not agitate the alpaca, just let it soak for 15-30 minutes. Repeat with soaking in clear water of the same temperature to remove the soap.

Blot dry and lay flat to dry.

For blending the angora and alpaca, gentle carding is the best way to go.
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Old 08-14-2012, 11:39 AM   #6
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Awesome, thanks! It is raw fiber, I plan to wash and card it later this week. :D

Another blending question...how can I figure out what the "blend ratio" is? Like...when a skein of yarn says it's 75% whatever and 25% whatever, what is that based on? Overall mass? Weight? I want to know so if I try to repeat this blend (since it looks like I might use a more-Alpaca, less-Angora and possible a-little-Mohair-tossed-in-for-fun blend) it might actually come out reasonably similar. :D

Off-topic, a cousin found out I'm struggling a little to learn hand spinning with Angora so they gifted me a big wad of roving...100% Icelandic Thel!!! It is soooo soft...cleaned, carded and ready to spin, with a staple length that seems to go on foreeeever. I'm so very excited, if I get the hang of knitting at the class later this month, I may be able to knit the most wonderful wool cap for my son. Wooo!
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Old 08-15-2012, 07:11 AM   #7
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If you want to try to replicate it, weight is your best option. This is where a drum carder comes in handy.

Congrats on the Icelandic thel!!! Be careful with it though, thel will felt if you look at it misty-eyed!
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