Alpaca is fantastic fibre for spinning; it lacks the natural oils of sheep’s wool, so some say that it’s more difficult to learn on, but once you have the knack it’s far nicer to work with. I like to spin straight from raw fleece, no washing or carding, just pull it apart a bit, shake out the worst of the dirt and vegetable matter and start work – I wash the yarn once it’s made up into skeins. I have tried having some fleeces professionally prepared into rovings and true, they are easier to work with (and a lot cleaner) but the cost far exceeds the benefits.
But I do have one big problem – the one of ‘image’. You see, it's not normally something that you associate with a 110 kilo, ex-rugby player… People come around to visit, they see the spinning wheel and automatically assume that it's my wife's. When she tells them that I'm the spinner, well, you can see the confusion on their faces - men just don't do that!
But they just don't understand. After all, in the evening, I'm not really just sitting on my fat backside, watching TV and drinking beer - I'm working!
Oh, and the wheel? It's my second one, an Ashford with some extra attachments that was an exchange for a trailer-load of alpaca dung - there's gold in them poo piles!