I received my wool order yesterday. Lots of predyed alpaca wool, Wenslydale scoured wool, Norwegian scoured wool, hemp, cotton, bamboo and olive soap. I read somewhere recently that olive soap is best because it produces less suds.
So this is my first attempt at wet felting with alpaca wool. Linda of Fiber Fabrications kindly explained to me that:-
Sheep's wool is comprised of fibers made up of many, many scales that have barbs on the ends. (This is microscopically) Those barbs are what make wool prickly to many people. Alpaca fiber has much bigger scales that are smoother and do not have barbs.
The piece photographed above consists of 5 shades of alpaca wool, 2x green, 2x blue and apricot. I have scattered some bamboo fibres in between the layers and have also layered some cotton circles. My energy levels were flagging after a while so I hung the piece out to dry.
Its interesting seeing how different fibres behave. I found that the alpaca wool seems to take a lot more time to felt than merino wool and doesn't seem to have much shrinkage, but it looks incredibly silky when wet and is wonderfully soft.
The above piece will need a second wet felting session to make it functional as a scarf but I enjoyed taking time out to study it and the directions the fibres seem to be moving in. I think this transitional stage is very pretty.
If you are interested in learning more about alpaca's and alpaca wool crafts please visit Linda at Fiber Fabrications. Click HERE to see Linda's wonderful felt soap tutorial.