My Aunt Susan and Uncle Kenny live in Tulsa, OK just a couple of hours from me and keep a few adorable alpacas. They are brown, black, and white and named Cocoa, Magnum, Jordan, and Willie (the last named after my granddad according to my Aunt). My uncle tried to get my aunt interested in spinning/crocheting/knitting since they have all the lovely alpaca wool, but it's just not her thing. A couple years back though she did send a bunch of wool out to be spun and she was kind enough to give me the giant box of resulting yarn when I was up there visiting last weekend.
Talk about the best present ever, it's 100% alpaca, DK weight, and super soft. I'm crocheting her a scarf with some of the black (with brown accents) but I haven't yet decided what to do with all the rest. One thing I did decide to try was dyeing some of the white. I was excited to learn I could use my procion fabric dyes but just had to soak the yarn in acid (vinegar, since it's a protein based fiber) rather than base (soda ash, like cotton which is cellulose based). Who knew?
I'm definitely a very novice dyer, but I followed Melody Johnson's easy wool dyeing tutorial which has really great instructions.
Presoaking in vinegar
Dribbling on the dye mix (because "rainbow" is my color of choice)
Wrapped for microwaving
Cooling in the sink.
Final dried yarn.
The colors turned out really pretty and soft, although I didn't get as much yellow as I'd like. Interestingly, the colors all looked much more intense during the dyeing process and a bunch more dye rinsed out than I thought. I don't know if I should have microwaved longer, or let it cool longer, or soaked in vinegar longer, or if alpaca wool dyes differently from regular wool? I suppose I can just use more dye next time, this was definitely not a precise dyeing process, but I still think it turned out really pretty.
Finally, one last question, I've been thinking of trying to sell some of the yarn to help my aunt make back some of the money she paid to have it spun. I don't have an etsy store, but thought about opening one or maybe just seeing if anyone has any other ideas?