Monday, April 21, 2008

Mad Science Saturday

This weekend, I decided to experiment with some of the alpaca fleece that was given to me by JoAnn of Fishwood Farm Alpacas. Having never worked with pure alpaca before, I wanted to see how difficult it was to clean, how quickly it felted and so forth.

I grabbed handfuls of fleece (white, rust and black) and washed them twice with a bit of Dawn detergent (as illustrated by Lara on her blog).

I then "carded" the fleece with purse-sized hairbrushes. :) Yes, I'm lame, but I wanted to see how it worked out before I invested in a pair of actual carding combs. [I'm shopping for them now/LOL.] I then rolled sections of the fleece into balls and packed them into one leg of a pair of pantyhose and tied it off as shown below.

Hairy balls anyone? ;)

I then felted the balls and removed the pantyhose. Note: Don't felt with pantyhose. The fiber ended up "bleeding through" pantyhose and I had to shave off parts the pantyhose with a disposable razor.

And voila! Fat, thick pincushions

They're actually prettier in person. You can see the color whorls in the felting and they're surprisingly heavy; the alpaca is very dense.

And every family has its "odd duck." I call this one the punk rock pincushion.

I also finished Aicha's Karaoke scarf.
Now that I've played and sampled, it's my hope to 1) get carding combs, 2) wet felt a lot of the fleece into 'dreadlocks' and then create felted drink coasters or maybe a braided rug. We shall see.... Have a great week everyone!


Julie said...

You have the cutest hairy balls I've ever seen (and I've seen plenty in my day)!

Marianne said...

AHHH! Julie beat me to it!! Very Cute Hairy Balls!.... gosh, Julie, just how many hairy balls have you seen.. in your day?

Sounds like a great time, I especially like the little punk ball!
The scarf is Gorgeous!!!

Fragmentadora de Papel said...
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Dana said...

Julie & Marianne - - I KNEW that the two of you would giggle if no else. :) Irony or ironies, I rented the movie, Casino Royale, last night for the first time and James Bond, himself, made a hairy ball joke. LOL

Spinning Lara said...

Nice balls :) I got my hand cards used last year at Montpeiler for $16 (they are Clemes and Clemes). Maybe someone would have a used pair of them at Sedalia. Its only a couple of weeks away....