Today I was asked to participate at my son’s Alpaca farm for Alpaca farm Days. Something the Alpaca farms do here this time of year every year. Do they do this all over the country?
It was fun, many more people than was expected came and enjoyed the Alpacas, and the Alpaca products my son and his spouse had for sale. They had a sock machine, a hat machine, and a drum carder out for people to see how they worked. They also had a screened table, which allows dirt and vm (vegetable matter) to fall to the ground, and show people how they skirt and pick through the fleece 2nds (the smaller less desirable parts of the fleece, tho they are still very soft they are shorter). They use the 2nds to make the felted dryer balls people love to use :), the 1sts are sent to a fiber mill to be washed and spun into yarn. A friend and I spent the day spinning on our spinning wheels and answering questions regarding spinning and using my blending board and carders. I look forward to doing this again next year. 🙂 Please enjoy the pictures above, oh the two Alpacas are not kissing lol, they are not as close to each other as it looks, but it made for a cute picture.
I wasn’t sure at all about the colors when I blended them on my blending board, just playing around with colors from a bag of various colored bits of roving that had been given to me. The first bobbin (on the right) was 2 shades of orange (med orange and a light orange that looks yellow, but it’s not.) The 2nd bobbin was a repeating range of complimentary colors to the oranges. So I put together the colors I thought might blend together the best and there we have it, these were the rolags I made with the fiber. I am very pleased with the final skein of yarn :). My next spin will be some white roving (not sure what the sheep breed is, but it might be merino) and blend it on my blending board with an alpaca batt I have . I will either kettle dye it or play around and try to make it a gradient when I am done spinning it . It will probably be sometime next month before I start it, I have knitting I need to finish first. I’m glad I got the blending board put together, it’s offered me a lot more creativity with colors and ability to bend different fibers together. 🙂
**Forgot to say this ended up being 368 yards and 90 grams, a good fingering weight. I’m thinking fingerless mitts :).
We got 2 inches of snow on Sunday morning/afternoon, and from yesterday evening until this morning when I took the picture we got a little over 3 more inches of snow. So the ground is once more white with snow, and more snow is on the way on Thursday or Friday, sigh. I just keep saying Spring is right around the corner, Spring is right around the corner, Spring is right around the corner…..
I finished the Basia hat, and gave it to the intended recipient. She was very pleased. I knit this on size 4, 16 inch circular needle for the ribbing and changing to size 6, 16 inch circular needles and (at the end when it got to small around for the 16 inch needles) size 6 double pointed needles for the crown, instead of going up a needle size for the slighter heavier wt yarn, causing it to be a bit denser and heavier. I used the sport/DK wt Polypay, which dyed up a lighter brown, and a dark brown alpaca, which I hand spun as heavy fingering wt. These two yarns used together was a heavier weight close to, but maybe a little heavier than the worsted wt called for and oh my it will be so warm. I had promised my family member that I would hand spin alpaca for her hat, but since the Basia hat she chose calls for worsted wt and I truly did not want to want to have to do the math for the lighter wt yarn (I’m not a math person :P), I added the Sport/DK wt wool I had on hand which made it a little heavier than a worsted wt. She is happy with the hat, and with the sub zero weather we have been having I’m sure it will be a welcome addition to her winter wear :). I think you can see better the lighter and darker browns together and how they play well with each other :). I forgot to get a picture before she left, she was kind enough to send me one for my blog ;).
These hats are now washed and blocked and ready to give as a gift. They are soft and squishy, however, because this yarn (see 2 blogs down), even tho it is 100% acrylic, will require a little bit of special care. It can be washed in the washing machine on gentle and cold water but, it can’t go in the dryer, it must be laid flat to dry, and they took a full day and night to dry (maybe because of the weather or because they are so thick), would be less time I’m sure if you put a fan on it during the day. That might be a problem for people who aren’t familiar with knitwear care. So I will reserve this yarn for family and friends who are knit worthy :P. The friend, who these were made for, is knit worthy, but because she is a busy nurse I hope this won’t be a pain for her. Her babies will be warm tho :).
Now to work on a hat for my daughter out of some hand spun alpaca.
These are the cria that were born on my son’s alpaca farm last month. They are so cute, I was able to go see them today, so little!! They are enjoying a shower from the hose on this very hot afternoon. **Correction on the cute white faced cria, her name is Liza not Liz :)**
I do my best, but my photography skills lack so much :P. I purchased a new set of stitch markers for my sock knitting from a pod-caster I listen to, the Knitting Samurai and Her Guys. These are so cute and she even has a little tag on one of the stitch markers so I can remember where the beginning of my row is in the round. The progress keeper is the colorful sheep that is covered in balls of yarn and it is sooo cute, it is now my favorite progress keeper. Her shop is AdoreKnit on etsy. She has soooo many cute stitch markers at a very reasonable price :).
Ok, I finished spinning on Thursday but didn’t have time to ply until today. It’s offically yarn :). It is soooo soft. It came out about 16 wpi (“wraps per inch” for those who are yarn impared :P) that is, depending on what chart you use, fingerling to sport weight and I’m gonna call it sport weight, and this skein is 224 yards. I was worried that I might over ply but I didn’t and it is luxurious to handle. You can see one of the spools of singles and the fiber on my August 17th post.
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I’ve put this picture up so you can see the twist. I’m pretty impressed with the results of this Cria Alpaca yarn. I will need to buy some more of the fiber tho, as this was not enough for a shawl or capelett, it used about 4 of the 6 ozs. I will need to spin probably 1 & 1/2 to 2 more skiens. It will be a pleasure to spin more but I’m sorry that I have to wait to knit it up :P. Maybe I’ll knit as I spin to urge me to spin more frequently to finish :).
I purchased this wonderful roving from Deer Trace Farm in Fayetteville, TN. They don’t appear to have a website so if you are interested in contacting them regarding some fiber just email me and I will hook you up with their email addy and/or phone number.
Oh yeah, I got to watch the Dallas Cowboys play yesterday evening (still indoctrinating my 3 year old grand daughter to be a Cowboy fan :P.) They won, I wasn’t sure they were going to, they certainly did not have it all together the 1st half and were down by 2 touch downs, but then they revved it up during the 2nd half and won. But then they have always been known as a 2nd half team. 🙂
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This is the Wisp shawl. I made it a little wider than the pattern (I think the pattern was probably written for someone who wears a size 6 :P.) I put ribbon around the neck line so it wouldn’t fall down. It seems tho that you button the short button side to the long side or you can put ribbon in the neck line (which is only woven in and can be adjusted to fit) and button the top button like I did for a more traditional style cape type shawl. Hope my friend will enjoy this :).
I have started spinning my beautiful and extreemly soft baby alpaca roving. I can not reiterate enough, how soft this stuff is!!! I’m gonna love the capelet I make with it. Searching for patterns now. 🙂