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 5. Alpaca Fiber: End to End
 washing fiber
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Willow Glen Farm

162 Posts

Posted - 02/07/2013 :  10:53:12 AM  Show Profile  Visit Willow Glen Farm's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Has anyone had success in washing alpaca fiber in a front loading machine? I was thinking in a pillowcase cover and on delicate.

Thanks in advance.

Mary Ianni
Willow Glen Farm
Capron, IL 61012
willowglenalpacas@yahoo.com
www.alpacanation.com/willowglen.asp

lhmaggie

299 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2013 :  10:46:13 AM  Show Profile  Visit lhmaggie's Homepage  Click to see lhmaggie's MSN Messenger address  Reply with Quote
You will end up with a ball of felt. I have a front loader and am not happy with it. The best method is to soak wash it in a tub or large bucket. Do not agitate or rub, just soak. It may take several rinses. Wash and rinse in same temp water. I have good luck washing small batches. I lay on a screen to dry and keep turning it periodically.
Good Luck !

Margaret Laird
Lighthouse Alpacas
Jamestown, Pa 16134
lapaca@windstream.net
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Judith

4010 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2013 :  12:39:07 PM  Show Profile  Send Judith a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
Like Margaret, Ive had better luck hand washing small batches than using even my top loading washer. So I sort of do both. Machine wash once or twice and then hand wash small amounts right before I dye them.

Judith Korff
AlpacaNation Forum Co-Moderator
LadySong Farm Bolivian Suri Alpacas
Randolph, NY 14772
Cell: (716) 499-0383
www.alpacanation.com/ladysong.asp
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Willow Glen Farm

162 Posts

Posted - 02/08/2013 :  1:38:37 PM  Show Profile  Visit Willow Glen Farm's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I've always washed in small batches by hand before. But I have a larger
quantity that I want to get done and was hoping, since the front load has no agitator, that maybe it would work. I guess it'll be the slow process!
Thanks for your answers.

Mary Ianni
Willow Glen Farm
Capron, IL 61012
willowglenalpacas@yahoo.com
www.alpacanation.com/willowglen.asp
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rackapaca

663 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2013 :  1:11:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have never done this but my front loader has a delicate cycle with a very slow spin and it literally goes at about 1/2 the speed of the normal cycle. Might be worth a test run to see what happens.

Ruthann
Racka Paca Ranch
Kila, MT
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Willow Glen Farm

162 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2013 :  4:36:33 PM  Show Profile  Visit Willow Glen Farm's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Ruthann,
I decided to try that today. Not a pillowcase cover full, only about 1/3 full. Handwash cycle, light soil, light spin.

Did not felt! However, no where as clean as I expected. So I think I will try again with normal soil level. I also used just a small amount of powered detergent. May up that also.
I'll let you know.

Mary Ianni
Willow Glen Farm
Capron, IL 61012
willowglenalpacas@yahoo.com
www.alpacanation.com/willowglen.asp
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Offbeat Acres

90 Posts

Posted - 02/09/2013 :  9:33:15 PM  Show Profile  Visit Offbeat Acres's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Hi Mary,

I bought two big tubs from Target. They are big enough to hold a load of laundry, or in my case, an alpaca fleece. I also have a mesh laundry bag. The fleece goes in the laundry bag. I fill one tub with lukewarm water and little bit of dish soap, and soak the fleece filled bag for twenty minutes. The second tub is also filled with lukewarm water with a little dish soap, and the fleece goes in the second tub for another twenty minutes.

You can "swoosh" the bag around a little bit if the fleece is really dirty.

When the second tub is done, put it back in the first tub that is now filled with clean water.

When it's done, spread it out on a screen to dry. I wouldn't screw around with a washing machine and risk felting a fleece.

Paul & Erin Egan
Offbeat Acres Fruit & Fiber Farm
Cottage Grove, WI

info@offbeatacres.com
(608) 219-6369
www.offbeatacres.com
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Willow Glen Farm

162 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2013 :  09:59:55 AM  Show Profile  Visit Willow Glen Farm's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Just as a clarification, I am not washing the prime fiber.
Lots of 2nds, 3rds, and guard hair. As guard hair does not felt
as readily, perhaps that helped the fiber to not felt.

Mary Ianni
Willow Glen Farm
Capron, IL 61012
willowglenalpacas@yahoo.com
www.alpacanation.com/willowglen.asp
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Judith

4010 Posts

Posted - 02/11/2013 :  12:26:19 PM  Show Profile  Send Judith a Yahoo! Message  Reply with Quote
I'm with you, Mary! No matter how I wash them, they never come as clean as I want or think they should. I have some fleeces that I've washed twice in the washing machine using half a bottle of dish detergent, and then I rewashed them by hand just prior to dyeing and they were still filthy! And that's after I've skirted the dickens out of them and shaken them out so hard you'd think gold coins would fall out!

Judith Korff
AlpacaNation Forum Co-Moderator
LadySong Farm Bolivian Suri Alpacas
Randolph, NY 14772
Cell: (716) 499-0383
www.alpacanation.com/ladysong.asp
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johnson

219 Posts

Posted - 02/12/2013 :  08:33:42 AM  Show Profile  Visit johnson's Homepage  Reply with Quote
This thread is the reason why I would recommend somebody open a scouring facility.

We get folks all the time visiting our mill in the hopes of starting their own mill. I tell every one of our visitors
"If you want a busy profitable business, open a scouring facility".

FYI, for the record this very same suggestion was made to me by multiple mills including one of the largest on the East Coast here in PA.
I did not take them up on it either but,.... not to say we are not investing a facility for scouring fiber.

If you do wash a lot of fiber and you have the space for an extra wash machine I would suggest you purchase one at an auction for next to nothing and take the agitator out of it. Hook it up to hot water only and soak wash your fiber without agitation using mesh laundry bags. Dedicate this washer to only fiber.

Good luck to you all.
Craig

Craig & Jane Johnson Worthington Acres Alpacas
FeltPAC LLC.
Unityville, Pa.
ff1730@dishmail.net
www.worthingtonacresalpacas.com
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renfarms

439 Posts

Posted - 02/12/2013 :  10:07:31 PM  Show Profile  Visit renfarms's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Craig,
It's my understanding that the biggest obstacle to large-scale scouring operations starting up here in the states is that the chemicals used to dissolve the vegetable matter during the process are a problem in discharging any waste-water from such an operation. I was told that was why most large scouring operations are in China, where there are more lax environmental controls.

My sources on this could be mistaken, and I would very much be interested in hearing if that is so, as it would immediately eliminate what I perceive to be the only major roadblock to someone doing this to generate income.

Any knowledgeable input on this topic would be welcome!

Bill

Bill and Louise Goebel
Renaissance Farms
McArthur, Ohio 45651
(740) 596-1468
renfarms@starband.net
www.alpacanation.com/renaissancefarms.asp
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johnson

219 Posts

Posted - 02/19/2013 :  2:05:47 PM  Show Profile  Visit johnson's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Sorry it has taken so long to reply.

Yes, I agree that chemicals used to disolve VM would be an environmental issue.

I wouldn't use any chemicals. I would invest in a tumbler and tumble orders prior to washing to remove as much VM as possible.

Also, if a person was going to reclaim I would suggest they reclaim lanolin from the sheep wool. It can be utilized for making soaps, salves etc....

I do not believe in disolving with chemicals. I would rather keep all my products natural even if it means there is a little VM here and there.

I would like to someday open a washing facility using the Belfast system with water reclaimer. The issue in our current facility is space.

So there you go. If your looking to open a fiber business without the huge investment of fiber processing equipment open a fiber washing business with Belfast washing equipment. A lot less money in fact you could purchase a couple of washers for the price of 1 carder !

Craig

Craig & Jane Johnson Worthington Acres Alpacas
FeltPAC LLC.
Unityville, Pa.
ff1730@dishmail.net
www.worthingtonacresalpacas.com
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