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…
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 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).
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.
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)
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.
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)
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)
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.
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.
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)
(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.