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  • Emma Baker

Working with local fibres

Updated: 3 days ago

I have been very fortunate over the last few years to have been given several fleeces. Hampshire Down, Shetland, Lincoln Longwool, Jacobs and Alpaca fleeces to name a few. Several people have given me fleeces because they aren’t sure what to do with them and they have been only too pleased for me to put them to good use. Often I have been told that the alternative would be for the fleeces to be burnt.

The first image below shows the boot of my car stuffed with alpaca fleece with the back seats being equally full. The alpaca owner had two years of fleeces from 3 alpacas in white, beige and brown colours. She had kindly separated each fleece into a bag of the best fleece and a bag of slightly dirtier fleece so I collected 12 large bags in total. When I accepted the kind offer of some alpaca fleece I really had no idea quite how many were on offer!

As a thank you for the fleece donation I make something in return, a handwoven bag, cushion or scarf. I think people like to receive something made from the fleece of their own animal.

The pictures below show some of the stages going from fleece to fibre – washing, woolpicking, carding, spinning, washing, dyeing, washing, weaving and a further washing are the key steps.

I will be visiting Wonderwool Wales on Saturday 23rd and 24th April and will have some of my woolpickers, looms and handwoven accessories with me. It will be lovely to meet lots of other people who love working with yarn.

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Alpaca fleeces

Woolpicking – opens up the fibre and removes vegetable matter

Carding the fibres

Spinning the fibres

Handspun alpaca and Jacobs fleece skeins

Fibres ready for weaving

Weaving alpaca, Jacobs fleece and pink handspun merino fibres

White alpaca scarf

Final cushion

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