Alpaca fiber is very fine and has scales? You can't see the scales with the naked eye. You would have to look through a microscope to observe them. Why would you care about these scales? Because they are what makes our favorite craft of felting possible.
The scales open up when you use hot soapy water. This allows the hairs to slide across one another and lock. When pressure is applied, the fibers tangle and end up as the material we know as felt.
There are several different methods of feltmaking that include plain old wet felting flat pieces of fleece, cobweb, nuno, and dry needle techniques.
You can use some of your lesser quality fleece depending on the project and the feel you want. That's whats so great making your own fabulous fuzzy material. You are in control of the look and feel of your final product.
We get asked a lot about shedding/pilling after you have finished your project. Try a cornstarch rinse and see if that helps the problem. It won't harden your fiber.
You can make money at home with your projects. There are several ways to make money using alpaca fiber and simple craft skills. Find some money making projects on this page that interest you and add another dimension to your fleece business.
You can get books to quickly learn feltmaking skills. It is easy to master, is a very versatile craft, and requires very little supplies.
Now...hold on to your felt hat, 'cause you're in for some exciting ideas as you work your way down this page.
Because the hair from a fuzzy camelid is partially hollow, your project will turn out lighter, warmer, softer, and have better insulating properties than sheeps wool. Even if you use your
poorer quality fleece. Itchiness is less of a factor, too.
To make your project you must prepare your alpaca fiber by carding it into batts.
No need to wash it first if you are going to use the wet method as you use soap during the process. We do wash our fleece
if it is destined for dry needling, but only because of the dirt contained in the hair. Alpaca does not have lanolin like sheeps wool so it does not have to be scrubbed. If it will be combined with the wet technique then you won't need to wash it either. Visit our
page to learn how to wash and other processing aspects of alpaca fleece.
After the preparation is completed, you can choose either
or dry feltmaking. Or you can combine the two techniques in a single project. We think you should check out our
and give our free instructions a try. You'll create a beautiful flower that you can use to embellish other projects.
Ever thought about using a screen to make your felt more even? We really like using one. The following video shows how we use a screen to get smoother felt.
Wear glasses? Here's a complimentary craft project to make for yourself or to sell. An
This project is easy and quick to make. We show you how to monogram your finished case.
Go to our
page where we offer at no charge a drawstring purse tutorial.
Need a gift for a baby shower? Or how about something else to make to sell. Get our
baby moccasin pattern
and create soft booties for babys feet.
A favorite of ours is needle felting. We have sold characters made using this method on ebay and locally. We have earned enough to feed and shear our animals for the year with this endeavor.
We want to share a little about our
small home business
which is very satisfying for us. One important thing to do if you are going to sell your alpaca fiber is to know how the fleece from each animal handles and how to best use it.
For instance, we know that the fiber from our two white alpacas make excellent needle felted items. Yarn from our two fawn colored alpacas is to die for. Our grey alpaca produces fiber that we like best for purses.
If you know the qualities of each of the individual fleeces produced, you can make better decisions on selling it and have happier customers.
We have learned what it takes to run a home business.
Follow these 5 steps
and you can probably have a successful career with handmade crafts.
About half of our needle felted items are sold on ebay. We offer up our
ebay selling tips
to get your alpaca crafts turning into money.
Producing our characters for sale is not the only reason we like dry needling. It's just plain fun! This photo shows just some of the items we have created.
Watch the following video to see what supplies you need to start and some samples of what you can make once you learn the technique.
Check out this pillow using alpaca fiber.
Wouldn't you like to design your own? It's so satisfying to create your special design. We have put together instructions on preparing your own pattern for a
unique pillow front.
Another possible business venture if you invent original cushions with excellent quality.
Your alpaca fibre creations are only limited by your imagination. If you can think it up, you can make it. Take a peek here for more
information on needle felting.
Would you like to learn how to construct a simple head? Follow this
and you will be able to make a special noggin for a character.
Visit our "More Felting" page for instruction on making a fawn if you would like to create another critter. Wings and another character are available, too.
We created a dragon and video taped the shaping of this cute guy. Visit our
page to get our DVD.
Now that you have seen some of the wonderful pieces you can create with this process you'll need supplies to get started. Spinning wheels and drum carders are not cheap. If you can afford new ones great, but try checking out ebay for some used ones. Or see if you have a local fiber club who might know members wanting to sell their equipment.
Alpaca fiber works fantastic for any type of project you choose. Try a couple of felting projects and HAVE FUN!