Odorific Alpaca

July 15, 2013 at 10:17 pm 5 comments

Yes, I do seem to luck into a lot of fiber, but it all seems to be troubled fiber. Challenging fiber. Not precisely cream-of-the-crop fiber.

Take my alpaca fiber. (No, really. Someone take it off my hands.) I was gifted with pounds and pounds of the softest, cleanest alpaca wool in a most interesting shade of reddish-brown. I seriously think it may be an entire alpaca fleece. Had it smelled like alpaca sweat, alpaca spit, or excrement of alpaca, I would have been delighted. But no. It smelled like MOTHBALLS.

Yes, someone committed the crime of putting mothballs into the bags with the wool. (Actually, I think that’s both a crime and a mortal sin.)

I aired the wool in net bags outside for weeks and the smell did improve greatly. Instead of being able to smell it across the room, I now had to plunge my face into the bag to detect residual mothball. But, since I’m a gal that likes to get her nose up close and personal with the wool, residual wasn’t good enough.

Then I had the idea to blend it with some of my white Shetland. Yes! No smell to the yarn other than the gentle wool smell. But I wasn’t really happy with the color blend. So, next step: DYE!

Here’s the before picture. Shetland on the left, Alpaca on the right, and 3 mini-hanks of blended, quick-spun yarn.


I don’t have much to choose from in my dye stash right now. What I do have is some Wilton cake frosting dye in Moss Green, and 2 colors left from my Landscapes dyes from Australia: a dark purple and a kind of raspberry red. And, here are the finished products:


“Wait!” you say, “Why are there 4 yarn samples now?” You, my friends, are very observant! Please ignore the puny bit of green yarn on the left. That was a little white/grey yarn I stuck in the green dye at the last minute, just out of curiosity. The real show is on the right side.The red looks better in real life than it does in this photo. The purple is a bit strange looking since it turned out purple and brown. The green is not bad if you don’t mind a color like day-old guacamole.

So, I don’t know. I do want to blend the Alpaca, but maybe not with white. At least my odorific Alpaca is finally useable. Until the moths show up!

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. roguecrafter  |  July 16, 2013 at 10:30 am

    I once rode around in an old clunker car that reeked of mothballs…the worst! Much sympathy but good job getting the odor out.

    • 2. tess  |  July 16, 2013 at 4:16 pm

      It’s one of those smells I always associate with the elderly of a couple generations back. I wonder if it was the move to synthetic fabrics that has reduced the use of moth balls?

    • 3. roguecrafter  |  July 16, 2013 at 4:54 pm

      Could very well be!

  • 4. itwasjudith  |  December 12, 2015 at 3:00 pm

    You made me laugh – I committed such a crime and mortal sin to keep my yarn safe from pesky moths!
    Of course, I’d rather sniff the natural scent of wool, but I hadn’t realised that mothballs could be so horrorific ;-)

    • 5. tess  |  December 12, 2015 at 3:16 pm

      Hmmm…maybe I’m part moth. That would explain a lot. ;-)

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