Last year, I went to the Windy Hill Alpaca Ranch in Somis and bided on a suri fleece from Whisper. It wasn’t much to look at because her fleece was dirty and looked like dread locks in many bad hair months. People at the ranch was raving about Suri alpacas but I’m used to see the crimps in sheep wool or the Huacaya alpacas so the dread locks of the Suri alpacas did not excite me. Nevertheless, I placed a minimum bid of $25 because Suri alpacas are rare and this will give me an opportunity to work with an unusual fiber.
A week later, the folks and Windy Hill emailed and let me know I’ve won Whisper’s fleece. I paid, and a week later, Whisper’s fleece arrived with two other Huacaya fleeces. Whisper’s fleece turns out to be the Cinderella of the three. She must like to roll in the dirt because the water was dirty (I’m not sure if this is true, but the lighter color alpacas are the ones who like to roll in the dirt the most). But after the dirt was washed off, I’m rewarded with soft, shinny, and lustrous liquid gold. I don’t have any projects in mind but I’ll have to be mindful that Suri alpaca doesn’t have crimps and scales like sheep wool. That means the knitted garment may lengthen over time, so rectangular shawls are out, but circular shawls are great possibilities.
Here’s Whisper and her fleece.
Whisper in the wash.
Whisper after hand combed
And the finale is Whisper blended with 30% silk on the drum carder.