Monday, April 5, 2010

An alpaca steps into a mill, goes through the picker and comes out a batt.

So a few days back I mentioned something cool was coming.....and then life took over and 3 days went by and I was all "oh no, I left them hanging and again, I have failed. I've let THEM down!"  Now I know you are a forgiving group and actually weren't hanging on the edge of you seat, or maybe you were?  I tend to hold people to stuff and am easily disappointed, so now I'm just projecting.  But back to the cool stuff.  Ready?

Last week, my Mother and I ventured out on a little field trip.  Off to the edges of a county I rarely explore.  We were off to see a mill.  A what?  A mill.  A what?  Okay, let me explain.  A mill is a place where raw fiber (in this case, alpaca) is processed.  This mill processes the raw fiber into yarn.  Lovely yarn.  We are not here for the yarn.

This was the first machine we met, it spins the processed fiber into strands that are then woven with another strand to make yarn.  It is one of the last steps in the process however it was an interesting place to start.

The operator of this mill was making a "chunky and funky" yarn on this pass and you can see it here.  Not particularly even and quite lovely.

Here we are seeing one of the first processes, once the fiber has been washed.  This is "The Picker."  I know what you are all saying, "Oh there's a kid in my kid's preschool that is called The Picker."  This takes this gnarly mess of fiber and removes dirt, vegetation, you name it that didn't come out in the wash.       
It is shocking how the fiber comes out.

Can you believe how fluffy it's become?!  Now through the comb.  This prepares the fiber to head to the carder.

Meet the carder.  This one is is awesome and big. 

Here you are seeing "a web."  This web is rolled onto itself to make a batt.  The batt is what we came to see.  We are here for batts.

Here are the finished product batts.  They are soft and fluffy and scrumptious.  These are alpaca batts.  They will become alpaca felt.  What?  Alpaca felt.  Did you say alpaca felt?  Oh yes I did.  

Stay tuned for more info.  I told you it was exciting.  Told ya.  Told ya!


  1. quite interesting process. I had no idea how these things work. I'm still quite curious. Who have you failed? no one.

  2. Alpaca felt!!! oh my you have made me start to drool!!!! this is exciting!

  3. Oh, I can't wait to see what you make!

  4. very cool! I am feeling crafty! I wish I knew how to knit. I think you should adopt an Alpaca and he could live in your backyard.... and you could send your own fiber to the mill.... what do you think?


Thanks Carol@ Songberries