A small foray into alpaca

Since posting about the alpaca sample from Cathy, I’ve been given a new bunch of alpaca samples from kindly fiber folk. (I haven’t had much fiber time recently – too much work, mostly – but the generosity of friends will not be wasted!)

In the meantime, I did spin up the white alpaca.

It’s about heavy fingering weight or light sport weight. I liked spinning it so much (and this was before the samples were sent to me), I dug ’round the stash for the Henry’s Attic superfine alpaca yarn that I knew I’d purchased (mumble) years before.

Ah, yes. I cast on for a 2×2 ribbed scarf and have worked on it only while reading (or in the car, passenger) because I can knit 2×2 without looking. I can probably knit 2×2 in my sleep. The scarf is a little under 4 feet long and super springy. I think it will block into something wider and flatter.

The yarn feels really soft in the hand… but when I put it on my neck, it prickles. (Superfine alpaca prickles?! I seriously have Princess-and-Pea skin.) This may go into the gift pile if it doesn’t soften more after washing. I’ll have to find a man-recipient with less sensitive skin. Maybe it would help if he had a hairy neck and shoulders.

12 thoughts on “A small foray into alpaca

  1. Have you tried hair conditioner? My skin breaks out in hives with mohair, but alpaca doesn’t bother me as much (I am allergic to everything!). Sometimes conditioners helps, but it can also weigh down inelastic fibers like alpaca. Maybe a volumizing conditioner? (LOL!)

  2. My neck is super picky, too… I usually end up wearing some supersoft fuzzy nylon scarf I knit because most wool and alpaca drives me nuts.

  3. I have an alpaca scarf made out of that same yarn. It does prickle a little, but I wear it anyway. A bit of conditioner in the rinse water does help. I’ve also found that different colors of that Henry’s Attic yarn have different amounts of prickle. Out of the colors I have, the white is the softest. Knitting loosely also helps to decrease the prickle.

  4. I bought some Misti Baby Alpaca yarn for a scarf and had the same problem even though it was buttery soft yarn. I’m completely sympathetic with you on the prickle issue.

  5. I totally agree about the alpaca being itchy on the neck. You could never tell by touching it but a few minutes against the skin and ack. Feels great in mittens, though!

  6. I made a scarf for my boyfriend out of some superfine black alpaca that I spindle spun, I rinsed it with conditioner, and there is still some major prickle factor. Like yours it feels soooo soft to the hand – but not against the neck.

    Quite the bummer really – it was the first thing that I made him, and he has worn it, and not complained – but I just feel awful every time I look at it.

    I have worked with alpaca where there really wasn’t *any* prickle at all, I think it’s guard hairs or kempy bits that do it, and conditioner didn’t help much at all.

    Have fun!


  7. That skein is just gorgeous, and you’re not the only one who alpaca prickles, as already evidenced in the comments here. It doesn’t seem like it will, but it does.

  8. I agree with you in the previous entry.. I think most of what he said are common sense, but most of us don’t really stop to think and end up getting too caught up in our own world to ‘think of the big picture’..

    The white alpaca looks very pretty in a dainty way.. Maybe the scarf will soften out after a few washes? Personally I try not to buy alpaca because I have sensitive nose (all hell breaks loose when fibres start flying about)

  9. Any alpaca fleece/yarn that is produced from fiber that is not from an animal born and raised in the US may be “prickly” … try some handspun or commercial spun alpaca from the US. I’ll bet you’ll notice an immediate difference. We’re going to purchase animals in the next month and being an artist, I’m looking forward to diving into the fiber art end of it, so I hope to spin the sheer from my own animals this year. Your scarf does look beautiful just the same and will keep you nice and warm during the cold months… perhaps worn over a turtle neck : )

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