Even though Weavers Guild member Carol Delak has taken her drop spindle for a spin a few times in the last thirty years, she didn’t begin to spin in earnest until last May, when she took lessons from Anne Burgeson. She took off from there, and by July had spun up a bag of Alpaca fleece purchased at the Shepherd’s Harvest celebration from Rich-Nes Alpacas in Morgan, Minnesota. The owners usually send their alpaca fleece to a mill in Austin, where it is spun for sock yarn. They sell the left-overs, the bits too small to be sent for products. Carol bought a four-ounce bag with fleece from Bubba, a brown alpaca, and Rosebud, who is gray. She spun it up, and warped it onto a rigid heddle loom for a scarf. Carol pointed out a couple of reasons the rigid heddle was ideal for her project. There is very little loom waste, which is important when using precious handspun yarn. Also, there can be less stress on the handspun yarns during the warping and weaving process when using a rigid heddle over a floor loom (although Carol noted that her handspun is so overspun it is unlikely to break; “It’s like rope.”).
Recently she finished spinning the weft yarn for her scarf, this time from wool from two sheep: Marsha and Elaine. The yarn was spun on Thanksgiving, and now the project is complete, thanks to two alpacas, two sheep, and one talented spinner and weaver.