Have you seen the “bumps” of alpaca rug yarn that seem to be popular at fiber fairs and events? Some are all alpaca, others have cotton or rayon blend cores. (These cotton-cored alpaca bumps are from Las Flores del Altiplano Alpacas in southern Washington state.) I added several bumps of Las Flores alpaca rug yarn to my stash.
Last month I met Tracylyn Robertson of Ram’s Head Station at Oregon Flock & Fiber Festival; her small basket of rug yarn (cotton-cored Icelandic wool), caught my eye. Of course I just had to buy some, but she didn’t have enough of the color I wanted.
A few days later I drove out to Ram’s Head Station to buy rug yarn. I also got to meet her sheep. Meet Dot, a particularly friendly Icelandic sheep!
Strolling through the last couple of fiber gatherings I’ve attended, I’ve had the opportunity to see what people are doing with such bumps of yarn.
At the Black Sheep Gathering last June, I watched an alpaca breeder demonstrate how to “hand crochet” a rug using her bumps. Hmmm … the resulting rug looked okay but given the vast amount of space between the loops, it was not destined to wear well (and certainly provided too many opportunities to get a toe caught in a loop). I decided to these bumps would be better put to use in tightly packed into a woven rug.
I also visited the booth of a vendor selling alpaca rug yarn along with what might have been the biggest (in diameter) knitting needles I had ever seen. Her rug yarn and needles flew off her shelf, but my wrists ached just thinking of what it would be like to knit or crochet with that yarn and those needles or an equally large crochet hook!
I was happy to finally stumble across another Black Sheep vendor who was showing rugs he had woven from alpaca bumps. Hmmmm … definitely not a tight enough pack (I could easily poke my fingers through), and it clearly had not been woven under a tight tension.
At OFFF I browsed through the alpaca-created wares of another breeder. Oh dear, the woven rug on display (and for sale) was worse (in technical structure), than the similar woven rug I saw at Black Sheep.
I am very pleased with the many bumps of rug yarns I purchased from Las Flores and Ram’s Head. From perusing what others have made – and how – from similar yarns, I have a good sense what not to do. The bumps I selected are destined to be woven into tightly packed rugs.
Have you ever worked with a similar bulky rug yarn?