Spinning Up Clouds of Baby Alpaca

So while I was waxing lyrical about the new cashmere in the shop, I never said a word — not a word — about the little something I had up my sleeve for the spinners.  Why?  Because the holidays are all about surprises!

And this was a surprise worth keeping: the most amazingly soft combed top made from 50% Baby Alpaca and 50% Superfine Merino wool.  It’s incredibly light, incredibly soft…  It feels like clouds in your hands.  And it dyes up beautifully.

Baby Alpaca and Superfine Merino wool combed top 150/50 Baby Alpaca/Merino blend in Evening Fog (left) and Tarnished (right)

For those of you who’ve never tried alpaca, I turned to my friend Natalie — a more experienced and excellent spinner — for some advice.  She said, “Alpaca is warmer and lighter than wool.  For knitting, a worsted weight yarn would make an awfully warm sweater – possibly too warm for daily wear.  On the other hand, if you want outer gear like hats and gloves, a thick, woolen spun alpaca would be like carrying around your own little furnace!

“Alpaca is a little more difficult to control than straight wool because it has a shorter staple length and feels sort of slippery.  I hold my hands closer together when I’m drafting to adjust for the shorter staple length.  I also try to get twist into the fiber more quickly than I would usually do with wool.

“Also, remember that alpaca has practically no memory.  So, for knitting, it often works better blended with other fibers that will give it a little bit of elasticity and memory.”

Baby Alpaca and Superfine Merino wool combed top 250/50 Baby Alpaca/Merino blend in Rhubarb and Custard (left) and SeaFoam (right)

The blend of superfine merino and baby alpaca together will give your yarn the elasticity and memory that you need for knitting.  And the extra lightness and warmth that the alpaca gives you yarn will be perfect for warm winter mittens and hats.

And as I was in a mood for dyeing fiber, I went ahead and did a batch of Blue-Faced Leicester as well.  Enjoy!

BFL combed top Clockwise from top left:  BFL Combed top in Spice Trade, Sweetpeas, SeaFoam, and Sweetpeas.

Silk is for Spectacular

You know, I forgot how exciting pure silk is. I used to spin it a lot …but then I moved onto other fibers and I haven’t spun it in a while.  And I’d just forgotten. But I bought some pure silk at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival — on a bit of a whim, just to play with — and when I dyed it… Oh! OH! Yes, now I remember what I love about silk.

There is no fiber that can rival pure silk.  It takes ordinary colours and gives them an intensity and luster that is just amazing to see (and which, unfortunately, pictures cannot capture!).  And then you reach out and touch those colours and…  oh, there’s just nothing like silk.  After I dyed these braids, I showed them to a friend and she actually grabbed them out of my hands and began to squeal and dance across the room.  Really, they are that exciting!  And I was that excited as I pulled them out of the dyepot, so I understood her reaction.  If you love fiber, if you’re a spinner, this is what pure silk does to you.  And if you’ve never spun it before, you gotta try it!


Hand-dyed Combed Top, Tussah Silk, in SouthWest

Shimmering in the light, here is the burnt orange of desert rock, of terracotta walls, of the parched earth. And here beside it is the startling blue of turquoise, the desert’s own true jewel. Two bold colours that reach out and vie for attention. But there, nestled between them,is the softest of dusty roses, quiet and gentle and tempering them both, so that all three can sit together in harmony, and evoke the essence of the SouthWest.

This is over 2oz of the most incredibly soft Tussah Silk, which spins up beautifully into a lustrous and luxurious yarn.

Fiber Content: 100% Tussah Silk
Weight: Approximately 2.20oz / 60g
Colourway: SouthWest 100505-001
Care Instructions for the final item: Hand wash, Lay flat to dry.


Hand-dyed Combed Top, Tussah Silk, in Oil on Water

Where steam rises from the puddles that form in the road after a sudden summer storm, and the standing water lifts the grease from the tarmac and carries it like little oil slicks across its surface… there, as the sun breaks through the clouds, the light dances across the oils and creates a delicate rainbow — its shimmering greens, pinks, blues at once both murky and crystal clear — that always takes you by surprise and draws your eye back again and again, just to check that it is still there.

This is over 2oz of the most incredibly soft Tussah Silk, which spins up beautifully into a lustrous and luxurious yarn.

Fiber Content: 100% Tussah Silk
Weight: Approximately 2.05oz / 55g
Colourway: Oil on Water, 100504-001
Care Instructions for the final item: Hand wash, Lay flat to dry.

Each item is individually hand-dyed by the SpaceCadet, using professional grade acid dyes. Please be sure to buy enough for your project as the colours may not be able to be reproduced exactly.
SpaceCadet Creations is a smoke-free, pet-free environment.
Please remember that the colours in pictures may vary depending on your computer monitor. The colours in the photos are as accurate as possible.