...I have finally hit spinning SABLE.
My amazing friend YarnMaiden and her amazing aunt and uncle have provided me with three full alpaca fleeces. Kim and Brad from KB Alpacas had these fleeces just SITTING IN THEIR BASEMENT... these, and more. All the spinners in our group got a share, and we all are now drowning in alpaca.
--Drowning in alpaca is the softest, warmest, fluffiest death I could ever imagine.
The fibers are light fawn, caramel brown, and black. Staple lengths range from 2 to 5 inches, depending on the animal. All are very, very soft.
The fleeces are pretty much straight off the animal, but remarkably clean - nothing like sheep fleeces which have to be scoured, de-greased, washed and the like. This fiber I can card into little rolags with my dog-comb brushes and spin just like that. There's a bit of veggie matter and I can feel a little dust on my hands after spinning, but it's no trouble to wash my hands after spinning (and I'll be washing the yarn anyway).
It's amazing to see the different character that fiber off of each animal has. There's soft, light, short fibers from Vanilla Bean; springy, long, coarser hair off Brandie; and the deep black soft fleece off Black-Eyed Pea. They're all just wonderful to spin, each in their different way.
Commercial fibers are heavily blended, so the yarn you get from your LYS likely not only comes from many different sheep, but possibly many different breeds of sheep as well! As a spinner I've really come to appreciate the different qualities of each breed of sheep and each type of fiber animal. And spinning fiber that comes from an individual animal is an even more interesting experience.
I've got a looooot of spinning to do. Mmm, alpaca.