Alpaca Atlantic
of Tennessee's
Fiber Sale Barn

      Made in the USA!

 

Lisa Olsen (alias: Computer Wrangler)
Bill Fletcher (alias: Keeper of the Pacas)
5378 Woodbury Highway,  Manchester,  TN  37355
     E-Mail:   AlpacaAtlantic@gmail.com
     Phone:  (931) 728-6945
     Web Site:  Alpaca-Atlantic.com

The older I get, the more I appreciate keeping things simple.
I'm over 50 -- so this is really simple!

      I raise alpacas, and sell alpaca fiber that has been tumbled, picked, carded, and is ready to spin.

      Each batt is about 1/2 ounce.   The cost to you is $1.50 each, plus actual postage.
Buy 1 or 1,000. Mix and match to your heart's content!

      Give a call if you like, or send an E-mail.
My name is Lisa, and it would be my honor to introduce you, to what is sure to become an addiction
-- becaue no one can spin just one!

Speed shoppers can scoot to the photos below!


Here is the story behind the fiber I sell -- for those with some free time on their hands:
  • Bill and I own about 100 alpacas and have the full range of natural colors. We shear them all once a year in May - and don't enjoy this part of the job even a little bit. We're seriously not much fun to be around during shearing. We no longer contemplate divorce, but often end up with wounds that don't quite feel accidental. So if you want to visit, schedule something June through April!
  • Before the alpacas are even shorn, I remove as much debris as possible from their fiber, which includes dusting them in front of high powered fans. We all ingest enough dust to make up for the lunch we always work through!
  • As the alpacas are shorn:
    • Bill picks and picks and picks.
    • I shake out as many of the short cuts as possible as each section is shorn. These shorts come from shearing twice over the same location. Naturally I don't have many of these since I'm such an expert shearer....or energetic shaker....or neurotic picker!
    • I sort the prime (which are turned into rovings for this site), from the seconds (great for socks or rugs), from the thirds (great for using around the berry bushes).
  • The prime fiber is measured, weighed, bagged, and hung....and remains hanging around until I recover from shearing -- perhaps in July!
  • When I start working with a fleece, the first thing I do is tumble it in Fluffy for at least 15 minutes. This removes all the loose dirt and dust we didn't ingest during shearing. It also removes much of the stuff (hay, grass, straw segments) and blends any of the subtle color differences. Have you ever seen a lottery-ball tumbler? Well, that was Bill's inspiration for his contraption, lovingly nicknamed Fluffy. I usually tumble one fleece at a time, but can easily blend up to five, if I'm in a wild mood.
  • Now comes the first round of hand-picking and carding. At this point, I pick out the big stuff, and card a big messy batt that weighs about 2 ounces. That may not sound like much weight, but alpaca fiber is free of lanolin and is amazingly lightweight. Have a look at this photo if you don't believe me. This is dirty fiber, right out of the shearing bag!

  • After lots more hand-picking, the batt is divided into 4 strips. Each strip is pulled lengthwise to realign the fibers, then carded, and miraculously turns into a batt, sized perfectly for spinning or felting. If my failure to use the proper spinning lingo is driving you bonkers -- just take a deep breath and think pleasing thoughts. My goal here is to be understood, not to cause anyone to think, "Huh!!!"
  • Note my reading glasses for a size relationship!
  • Some fiber requires a 3rd or 4th picking and carding. I'll do whatever it takes to satisfy me, because I'm my own worst critic!
  • When I'm satisfied that the batts are clean, I take photos and update this site.
  • Then, it's time for a glass of wine! I don't care to calculate my price-per-hour cost, as I'm afraid it might make me want the bottle, rather than just a glass. For the sake of my sobriety, I don't give discounts!
      You may have noticed that I haven't addressed washing the fiber. That's because after years of experimentation, and since the birth of Fluffy, I've determined it's best to wash my alpaca fiber after it is spun. Those that live in dry climates claim it seems to draft smoother with less static. I've got some washing tips at the end of this page if you're interested, otherwise, it's finally time to look at some fiber photos!!!

Alpaca Fiber - Available Now!
Alpaca's name.

Fiber length.
If you're attracted to a length you aren't familiar with, please buy a sample batt and give it a test spin!

Horrible photos!
Hard to see the crimp, hard to tell the color because my auto-focus auto-changes it! Not really sure why I've gone to this trouble! One of these days I'll figure out what I'm doing wrong -- but it won't be today!
Fiber donor!
This is an accurate representation of the fiber's color!

Funny note: I used the same dark color purple fabric for all the center photos!

Bear

Fiber Length: 3 1/2"

Color: Light Fawn

Joze Cuervo

Fiber Length: 5"

Color: Dark Fawn

Sunburst Rooney

Fiber Length:
        4 1/2 to 5"

Color: Light Fawn

Macarena

Fiber Length: 4"

Color: Med Brown

Dude

Fiber Length: 4"

Color: Medium Fawn

Kalamazoo

Fiber Length: 5"

Color: Med Rose Grey. Lots of spotting, but blended evenly.

Norma Jean

Fiber Length: 4 1/2"

Color: White

Alpaca Fiber - In the Works!

Cailin

Fiber Length: 4"

Color: Rose Grey Will be well-blended!

Pink Panther

Fiber Length: 4 1/2"

Color: Dark Brown Sorry about the poor fiber picture!

Chloe

Fiber Length: 3 1/2"

Color: Silver Grey

Lisa's Washing Ritual

  • Wind your yarn into hanks. You can use a niddy-noddy, a swift, the back of a straight chair, or someone's arms. Be sure to use about 6 lengths of string to tie figure 8's around the hank so it doesn't tangle!
  • I use a series of 2 plastic tubs from any chepo-store, and do the washing in my bathtub.
  • The first tub is filled with warm water. Once full, add a short squirt of shampoo and mix with your hand, sudsing is not required (note - only use shampoo if you are not going to be dyeing the yarn!). My preference is Suave lilac scented shampoo.
  • Put your yarn in the water, and gently hold it under as if you are trying to drown it.
  • Once the last bubble of air has popped on the surface, you can release your death grip and start another project. Let it soak for a couple hours, or until you remember.....
  • When you return, fill your 2nd tub, same as the first. Lift your precious yarn out of the 1st tub, gently squeeze as much of the water out as possible, then start the drowning process over again.
  • Your third go-round will be a warm rinse, water only. Repeat this step until the water runs clear. Soaking is optional. And ALWAYS add the yarn to the water. Agitation (rough washing or having the water poured on to the soapy yarn) will create felt. I love felt - but that's another lesson and not what we're making here!
  • Most would stop at this point, but I'll often give the yarn a quick warm water rinse with a touch of Suave lilac-scented hair conditioner. I use Suave because it's cheap, and I adore the lilac scent!!!
  • Now, I take my wrung-out, lilac-scented yarn to the front porch for a little fulling action that helps set the twist. At this point, I'm careful not to be observed by anyone other than Bill.
    • I hold my hank through the loop and swing it around in a circle as if it were a Ninja weapon. Dressing in black, with a black ski mask is optional!
    • Once most of the water has been flung out, swing it around and whap it down HARD, on a smooth surface. You can use a table, porch swing (my favorite), or chair. If you don't have an absolutely smooth surface, just cover something with a large towel -- then whap away. I'll turn the hank 1/4 turn after every couple of whaps, so that the entire hank is punished evenly -- 8 whaps should be good.
  • Now you can hang your hanks out to dry and start looking for that perfect pattern!

This page and all photographs © Copyright 2006-2009, Alpaca Atlantic of Tennessee LLC.