Reader’s Digest version: This is going to take some practice.
Yesterday afternoon, David and I picked up my very own bag of baby alpaca fleece, courtesy of our friendly neighborhood Nakayama alpaca knits & crafts store. we were the first people who had ever requested the natural fleece from them, who normally specialize in yarn and knitwear. so I have a bag of the SOFTEST caramel-colored fleece. it smells clean and natural, although there are little bits of vegetable matter stuck in it. I read in my books about carding. realized i have no cards. whoops. but the fleece seemed selected, uniformly soft and fine and very fluffy, it wasn’t at all smelly or gross, so I just pulled out some hanks of it and made my first attempt on the wheel.
It took a while to figure out how the heck you get the wheel to alternately spin the yarn or wind it onto the bobbin. between the two of us (the one who made the spinning wheel and the one who is learning to use it) we eventually figured out how to adjust the brake tension. adjusting that helped enormously, because at first it was twisting the yarn without winding onto the bobbin, and then it was winding straightaway without twisting. gah! and I have no idea if i’m totally mauling the fur by just plucking at it with my fingers so the handfuls of fleece feed up a small amount of fibers at a time… or if that’s the general idea..? either way, it might do me good to invest in some carders so I can control the fiber more smoothly.
but despite my total inexperience with fleece and the wheel, I did manage to make about a foot and a half of something vaguely yarn-like — twisted fibers that didn’t break and only had one or two lumpy parts. alright!!