Friday, January 25, 2013


No that isn't a misspelling of siri :)

Suri is a type of alpaca.  There are two types: huacaya and suri.  We have had huacaya alpacas since we started in this business in 2007.  However, in 2012 my husband added in a few suris. Now, this was recent and we don't have fiber off of our own suri girls yet.

I am spinning up this suri as on order for someone else.

Typically the huacaya alpacas are described as fluffy, or teddy bear like, while the suris are described as having dread locks.

With huacaya I often talk about bundles.  Well, with Suri it is called a lock:

I get it ready for spinning, placing the prepared locks on my lap:

And I finally had someone at home while I was spinning to take a picture of me drafting:

Drafting is what happens between my two hands.  My left hand holds the strand of yarn being twisted from the turning of the spinning wheel.  My right hand is on the cloud of fiber.  Between these two hands I pull the strands of fiber straight so that they will twist into yarn.

Now, there are different ways to spin.  Some spinners are very careful to make the drafting area extremely even in numbers of fibers so that their yarn is very consistent.  Some even brag about it looking just like mill spun.  That is where they lose me. If I want mill spun, I'll get mill spun. I like the inconsistencies of hand spun.  That's why I spin.  I think it adds texture and character to whatever is made out of the yarn.  So, I aim for character :)

An interesting note about drafting, and I have found this to be true, the distance between your hands should be about the length of the fiber you are working with.  If the strands are 4 inches, then your hands should be about that distance apart.  For this suri, it is longer than most of the huacaya I have spun, so my hands are further apart.


Debbie, Barnacre Alpacas said...

I've never tried spinning suri, how does it compare (other than the obvious length).

I quite fancy a couple of suris - not sure they'd like out weather though.

Louellen Lawson said...

Informative. Thanks.

oak haven alpacas said...

Debbie ~ we were not into suris initially either. We feared our weather was not ideal (it's cold and snowy here) and we wanted to focus on just huacaya. But after 5 years we were ready for something new :) We do coat our suris though people claim you don't need to, it makes me feel better :)

As for the differences in the fiber, I have been told that huacaya has more memory (due to the crimp) and that Suri yarn, due to not having much memory, is best for products that drape - like scarves and shawls.

I didn't notice huge differences during spinning. At first the suri felt more slippery but after the first skein I didn't notice that anymore.


A Country Chicken said...

Thanks for this Cara! I will keep trying to spin my Huacaya...which does not look mill spun at all, it has LOTS of character (and bumps LOL) :) Lisa

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