After my blissful spinning experience with the superfine merino, I dipped into the baby suri alpaca to see what working with that was like. Turns out it was also quite heavenly, but very different. First of all, it’s MUCH hairier. The staple length is literally almost twice as long, and it very much wants to explore your environment when it gets drafted. I started drafting it in long thin pieces, like I did with most of the wool I’ve spun, but it broke apart very easily, so I drafted the rest a little thicker. Therefore, I got a bit of a thick/thin effect when I plied it. But it seemed to spin fairly smoothly and easily with both weights, and it felt so soft and silky slipping through my fingers. I think it will be a good fiber for the spinning wheel (in my imagination, anyway) since I won’t have to draft it vertically in large quantities… therefore minimizing the amount of hair loss… hopefully. I also plied it fairly thoroughly at first, like the merino, but I wasn’t sure I liked the look of that as well with this fiber, and since I am still very much in the experimental stage, I let the ply relax to about where it wanted to go. It just seemed like it didn’t want to be so confined… it wanted to feel free! I think it looks simply gorgeous… like long, loosely braided hair.
And it seemed to knit up fairly well with the looser ply, I didn’t experience any separating. It also has a much higher luster than other baby alpaca I have knitted with, which I guess is typical of the Suri breed… thus the extra silkiness. It is a bit too thick overall, though. I think it would feel nicer in a thinner weight, as it gets pretty heavy. But, oh, I wouldn’t mind a sweater made entirely of this!
I also knit a joyful swatch with the merino yarn I made. It seemed to be begging to turn into a seed stitch, which I haven’t done in quite some time, so I obliged.
Holding these 2 swatches was like holding my 2 children. Both equally amazing, while completely different personalities. The merino so thick and bouncy and fluffy, like marshmallows, and the alpaca so silky smooth and drapey, like combing my daughter’s hair. I can understand why they complement each other so well when spun together; alpaca/merino blended yarn has been one of my favorites to work with, so I will have to try that eventually. But first I will need to do my research on how it is done!