I had the opportunity to get a free Alpaca fleece a few years ago and said “yes!” in spite of not really knowing much about turning it into yarn other than having watched some of my various family members work with fiber of assorted origins over the years…

update: I obtained hand cards from Kind Mother, and a drop spindle at one of the annual sheep runs in Reedpoint, Montana. I washed a bit of the fleece and made a couple of attempts at hand carding and said to myself “heck with that!” Last summer/fall I got to play with a drum carder with a couple of friends and I’m here to tell you if you’re interested in turning fleece into roving and are not interested in the Zen of hand carding, the drum carder is the only way to go. (Or just send it off to one of those places that does the entire process and sends you yarn ready to knit or crochet!)

Some people like to prepare fiber. Some people like to use it. I lean more towards the “use it” end of the spectrum. Luckily my best friend loves to prepare it. She’s using my spinning wheel to make awesome yarn from the fleece from her very own slowly-expanding sheep herd!

August 16, 2006:

Yesterday I went in search of fleece hand cards locally. The nice quilt-shop guy gave me the name & number of a person who may know more. As well as info on where & when a knitting group meets (some of them also spin). AND, the tidbit that there’s a new yarn shop where the old Christmas Store used to be. That sells gorgeous fibers, not just nasty acrylic yarn.

So I stopped in at the yarn shop, and the nice yarn-shop lady gave me another name & number in the pursuit of the cards. I signed up for her mailing list. Some day, after I’ve successfully gotten cards, washed the alpaca fleece, and carded/spun the fiber into yarn, I’d like to make something.

I know I could just buy the fleece hand cards online, but I’d prefer to support someone in our general local area if I can. And I’m still intimidated by the wheel, so I’m thinking of getting a drop spindle too.