First attempts at Weaving with Alpaca
Some time ago I was contacted by Jo, a lady who keeps alpacas, to say that she had some cones of alpaca yarn that Bedfordshire Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers might be interested in.
I went to look at the boxes, 15 in all, of yarn on cones. It was so obviously weaving yarn and in six colours and two thicknesses, the bulk being singles yarn.
I made contact with the groups from the Association WSD in counties around Bedfordshire and managed to sell approximately 50% of the cones. People were thrilled to get the chance to use alpaca yarn at such a reasonable price. Most of the photos in the montage are of fabrics or scarves woven by Cambridge guild members and they show some of the diverse colour and weave patterns that can achieved without having a multi shaft loom.
As soon as I had the chance to set up my floor loom I wove fabric with the plied yarn (centre picture) intended for a garden rug. One that I could hopefully sit on without the discomfort of being irritated because my skin does not like wool. I also set up my 8 shaft table loom with a sample point twill weave warp from the singles. (Sample bottom centre). When both were completed I did as always had been my habit and put the fabric in the washing machine on a 30deg. wool wash. The singles sample came out fine but the plied yarn fabric was shedding and my utility room floor looked as though we'd had a snow storm!
Worried about having passed on so much of this yarn to friends and acquaintances I contacted members of Cambridge Guild. They were concerned about my results but those who had already woven with the yarn, mainly the singles, had hand washed the fabric without detrimental effects. I was relieved because I saw myself dolling out refunds! To date, only one person has asked for a refund because one of her yarns was shredding in her rigid heddle loom heddles.