Weekend with a Llama (Inky Dinky Do… actually an Alpaca)

UMM how embarrassing…

I just found out that Inky Dinky Do is an alpaca… not a llama… should have guessed from the name.

When you read this please substitute “alpaca” for all of the “llama”s and fiber for all of the “wool”s  (hope Inky doesn’t sue me….) 

Hmmm… Where should I start?   I have so much to say about what I Inky Dinky Did.  (sorry if you don’t like cutesy word play… I can’t stop myself from Ink Dinky ‘in around… blame Claire  she named the llama).

I will not start at the beginning that would be too predictable.  I shall start with the feature picture for this post.   If you look closely at Ben you can see he is a bit annoyed.  I can’t be certain since you can never tell exactly what is going on with little ones but my guess is that I might have disappointed him by promising him that we would play with a llama Friday night.  I called him into my office so that he could have fun with our new llama wool(I think I may have omitted the “wool” word but it should have been implicitly understood).   I think in his young over imaginative mind he was expecting more as he entered the room and saw the ball of llama (wool)… Hey… he needs to lighten up.   This was just a small  Inky Dinky Lie

Llama Fleece .5.jpg

Our new friend Inky  along with an anonymous friend (a lamb fleece… lets call him Jacob)came to us all the way from England in a pair of parcels  sent from an incredibly generous person ( Claire – SmallHolding Dreams …second shameless plug… hey if by chance you have any questions about the Ottoman empire she is your man… or should I say woman)   I don’t know why this wonderful gift was sent but I have decided I must have won them in a “battle of wits”…  there is not a “match for my brains”…   have you ever heard of Plato, Aristotle, Socrates?… Morons! (I might have borrowed some of these lines from a movie)

My writing is probably stretching some of your patience in fact maybe you are feeling an Inky Dinky Dash of frustration.  Jesh… Third paragraph and I still have not introduced the subject of this post… I had best get to the Inky Dinky Point.   I am going to post a “How to” work with raw llama fleece.  In this post I will focus on skirting and washing.  I am not an expert  so if you see some missed steps or if you have a better way please leave it in the comments.  I am going to only wash a small portion of the wool…until I am certain that llama wool works like sheep wool (kind of  a “fear of ruining all of it”  based decision)

Skirting

Skirting is really… hmmm I was going to say a “fancy” word for picking poop (Inky Dinky Doo Doo) and vegetation out of the wool but I don’t think “skirting” is a fancy word.   Let’s just say “skirting” is another word for picking poop and vegetation out of the wool. There is not much to it other than just taking small pieces of wool at a time and removing everything that isn’t wool. (you also remove wool that is stuck together and looks gross).  This may sound horrible but skirting has an interesting side effect… like with sheep after picking through the wool my hands became very soft.  (not in a feminine way… more of a manly metrosexual way… hmm or ruralsexual way).

llama-fleece-1

Here is the wool cleaned of debris….   and while my wife was calling our new llama “Stinky Dinky Doo“. I was pleasantly surprised about how relatively clean Inky happened to be.  I am now curious… and have a small suspicion that Claire kept Inky in doors as a house pet.

Washing

This is really the part I worried about because I didn’t want to turn the wool into felt.  I am a llama virgin (wow that reads weird) and I wasn’t sure that llama wool behaved the same as sheep.  (I am pleased to say that the following steps worked very well  and I didn’t end up with felt)

Llama Fleece 2.jpg

Here is the equipment I used:

  • Rubber Wash Basin
  • Dish Soap (one that cuts grease)
  • A delicates wash bag
  • Washing machine (only for spinning out the water)

Step 1:  Place the wool into the delicates wash bag.

llama-fleece-3

Step 2:  Fill up the rubber basin with warm/hot water (115ºF -45ºC).  Add dish soap until the water feels slippery.  (That sounds odd but keep adding the soap and you will see there is a moment when the water will become slippery)

Step 3:  Place the wool into the basin and make sure the wool is completely under water.   Do not move it around… let it soak for at least 30 minutes. (give it some alone time)

llama-fleece-4

Step 4: Remove wool and put in the washing machine on a spin cycle (spin only).  I think if you don’t want to spin it in the washing machine you could hang it to dry out a little bit but I don’t know how long… just not long enough for it to stop dripping (not completely dry)

llama-fleece-5

Step 6:  I dump the water out… (not in a sink. or tub…. either outside or in the toilet).   You may be surprised about how dirty the water became.  Even Inky left behind some really filthy water.

llama-fleece-6

Rinse and Dry

Step 7:  Fill basin with warm water.  This water should be cooler than the soapy water but not much.   (90º F – 32ºC is the temperature I used).   Add wool back to the water and let soak for another 30 minutes.

llama-fleece-7

Step 8:   Remove wool and if the water is still dirty or soapy repeat step 7.  Once the wool is rinsed (clean and soap free) spin wool in washing machine again and let dry.  (or just let dry… just takes longer)

Inky Dinky Don’ts

  • Don’t pour water onto the wool.  Always add wool to water.
  • Don’t vary the water temperatures too much (soapy water and rinse water)
  • Don’t agitate the wool… in the basin or in the washing machine.
  • and last… as tempting as it may become…Don’t taste it…  It will not taste good… I promise

HERE IS THE END RESULT!

(Scroll up to the first pictures if you have forgotten how it looked before we started)

llama-fleece-8

Fabulous! 

(I used that word because it was in an article I read today titled “Men Reveal the One Thing They Would Do If It Wasn’t Considered Feminine”… one of the things they would do was to say the word fabulous…    Is writing it  the same as saying it?  hmmm…  not sure that writing it did anything for me.)

Please stay tuned there is more to come.  I have combing, carding, and spinning.   I also have an idea for this small portion of the wool that may show up in the next post.

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31 thoughts on “Weekend with a Llama (Inky Dinky Do… actually an Alpaca)”

  1. Oh, what a wonderful mind you have! And, as always, your instruction is wonderfully rife with amusement…I especially loved “ruralsexual”…”give it some alone time” and your determination to shamelessly use the word “fabulous. I can’t wait to see what you doo-doo with the wool. P.S. Poor Ben….first the “India disappointment”, and now this. haha 🙂 Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Truly… I was hesitating between urbansexual and ruralsexual. I think I am actually more “urbansexual”… that is I can’t quite pull off the neatness and sophistication of metrosexual… assuming “urban” is not quite as sophisticated as “metro”… i.e.
      “Old Spice” versus “Bleu de Chanel”

      What is worse I am not sure that is even a valid example… is “Bleu de Chanel” sophisticated?

      I am going to have to be easy on Ben… maybe pick on his older brother Sam or older sister Gwen.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh noo… have I just assisted you to set new benchmark of weirdness?! To be fair, it wasn’t reading through your post sequentially that made me spit, but the fact that towards the end you asked us to reflect on what the puddle of “poop” was like in the beginning… Good one!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. spit-worthy is a totally cool concept. I used to aim to make my friend cry when I cooked for her. She once cried over a Roquefort and spring onion tart and after that it was my sole aim when she came to visit. But now I have spit-worthy adventures to aim for 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well done! I’m surprised you managed to keep the llama unfelted, I’ve once made a mess simply by spinning it dry on the washing machine…
    Can I just offer a little correction? Instead of wool, you should call it fibre – because wool is for sheep, and camelids (of which llamas are a part of) have hair instead, using the more universal word “fibre” makes it a more correct expression. I hope I helped, I’m not trying to be snarky! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks!!! especially for teaching me the difference between wool… hair… and the use of the word “Fibre”.. That is the exciting thing about sharing this with others and having kind people like you taking the time to help. I want to go back and correct myself or change the part about “winning a battle of wits”… but I think I will leave it as is.

      One other thing… I have always love your blog… but have not seen an update for a couple of months… (have you another one… or just have not had the time to post anything… no pressure there just curious)

      I consider you my go to blog for felting animals. (I have like the dyeing posts as well). If you were a neighbor I would have already knocked on your door and asked for felting lessons. I would love to felt a llama out of this llama fiber

      for everyone here is Leonor’s blog (check out her felted animals they are incredible… she also has a shop)
      https://feltbuddiesblog.co.uk/

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks! I’m glad you weren’t offended 😀 (Communicating through the internet can sometimes be hard!)
        As for my blog, I do have a new one, in my own site: http://www.feltbuddies.co.uk – it needs updating as well, but I’m currently juggling too many balls to worry too much about it now… I promise to try to post something soon! I do try to create a link to my new blog on the “old” one but I’ve noticed people haven’t realised I’m doing this 😳 Ah well!

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Inky Dinky Do would just like to add that she is an alpaca – this is important in terms of spitting propensity – believe me you don’t want to be spat on at all by a camelid – alpacas spit less than llamas …. or so I have heard.

            Liked by 1 person

  3. As an alternative to spinning in a washing machine you can just roll your bundle of fiber in a towel. Once it is rolled you can aggressively wring out the towel as the fibers are locked in place it works the same as the spin cycle. It may be easier for smaller amounts of fiber.

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  4. This is so exciting. I really want to say that Inky Dinky Do lives in the house and snuggles with us on the sofa, but alas I can’t. She has an important job to do guarding the poultry and as the two older step-sisters (Peanut and Juniper) are rather lax in their duties she shoulders the bulk of the guarding.

    I have suddenly realised I have a lot of say about alpaca poo and pooing. I might have to do a post about it ….. alpacas lift up their tails when they poo – they are very neat and tidy creatures – and have set toilet areas. Sheep are not so thoughtful.

    The muck in her fleece comes from rolling around on the ground, watching an alpaca roll around on the ground is brilliant.

    I am so glad you liked the fleece and found an opportunity to disappoint a child ….. reminds me of the time I told the campsite children I had found an alpaca egg – I had acquired a rhea egg from somewhere and thought it would be hilarious to convince them it was an alpaca egg. It was, I am a bad person ….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hey… quick question… my mother wanted me to ask about your name “inky dinky doo”… was it after the song. She said she used to sing it to me when I was little… (I cant remember her singing it nor the song…) I lied and said I remember her singing the song to me and that I would ask you… Now that I have asked… it is only a half lie and I am no longer a lier. I want to hear more about the pooping… sounds fascinating.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I couldn’t reply to your comment above, but I will thank Inky for you. Don’t worry about the llama slur, she is used to it ….. as are the sheep, everyone thinks they are goats when they have been sheared/shorn …. doesn’t matter that I tell them they are sheep no-one believes me!

    Liked by 1 person

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