Spinning alpaca on the drop spindle
Alpaca is easy and fun to spin on the drop spindle, but make sure that you have the proper weight spindle. Alpaca fiber is not as cohesive as sheep wool and, in general, it requires a lighter weight spindle. For a fine alpaca yarn, I use the drop spindle pictured here which weighs only .8 oz. (note that that is POINT 8 oz. as in less than 1 ounce!) If you use a heavy spindle, you will find that the yarn breaks from the weight.
Notice that I keep the rest of the roving I'm spinning from over my shoulder. This is an easy method of keeping the alpaca roving from accidentally tangling up with the yarn you are spinning.
The spindle in this picture (a Kokovoko spindle) is a top whorl spindle, meaning that the yarn is attached to the top of the spindle and you spin in that position. I find that the bottom whorl spindle does not work as well with alpaca fiber unless you are trying to spin a pretty thick yarn. Top whorls are also faster.
I also have a Golding drop spindle. I bought it because my friend Roseann (the uber knitter) recommended it. I LOVE it! You can see their amazing spinning tools at the Golding website. But, I warn you!, you'll end up wanting everything there.
Meanwhile, back to alpaca spinning. I use a heavier Turkish drop spindle to ply the yarn from my Kokovoko spindle and my Golding spindle into a 2 ply yarn.
Photos of this coming soon - I hope.
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