Wednesday, October 26, 2011

How to Show an Alpaca

This past weekend was the KY Classic Alpaca Show, for which I had volunteered to spin some fiber as part of the show.  Check a few posts back and you should find documentation of this, and my excitement.

Well, it was quite the experience.  First of all, I suppose I really am a city girl (as if there were any doubt) because it did not once occur to me that the area we were given might not actually be "paved".  The entire arena was dirt-floored.  So I and my Fantasia settled into the dirt along with my purse and my chair, and we sat in the dirt all day.  At least it seemed to be clean dirt, with no hay or poo or other things which would be worse to sit in all day.

Secondly, the alpacas sure were fun to watch.  They were judged in age and color classes, and the little ones were so cute.  Big ones were cute, too, but the little ones I just wanted to load in my car and take home with me.  

Lastly, it was interesting to find that some alpaca farmers truly don't know how to sell their fleeces.  Truly.  It was explained to me by a farmer who brought her knitting over to sit and chat a while that many alpaca farms have barns full of fleeces from the dawn of time.  Just sitting there.  With no one to love them, or pay for them, or take them home to wash and spin and knit.  My plan, and I think you'll join in with me, is to drive around the country, American Pickers-style, stopping wherever I see alpacas, looking for fleece someone's willing to part with for a reasonable sum of cash.  I can see it now:  picture me looking into the camera and whispering "I bet I can get $50 for that bag of fleece!"  Cha-ching.

As for the spinning itself, well, it was challenging.  It took a lot longer than I thought it would to straighten and fluff out the locks to get them ready to spin, and then it didn't go as smoothly as I would have liked.  I just have to keep telling myself that if I wanted even yarn, then I should have prepared the fiber more evenly.  Good thing I like things "rustic".  It's woolen-spun, and I believe that when it's plied it'll even out considerably.  I sure hope so.

This is how much I can spin in about four hours, apparently.


Anonymous said...

At least you thought to bring a chair! I would have totally spaced on that.

Not bad for having to prep the fiber while you spun, honestly. I don't get much more than that with top, even when I'm not being distracted by munchkins, so you're doing well.

I suspect a lot of sheep owners don't know how to sell their fleeces either. But it makes me wonder - why be a breeder if you're not benefiting from their fleeces? Now if you'll excuse me, I have some alpaca farms to visit...

That's a 7-letter Deborah, never a Deb said...

Yet more evidence for my theory that alpaca breeding is a pyramid scheme/tax shelter. I enjoyed your post; I'd definitely watch your tv show!

Jenn said...

What a great experience! I don't think I would've thought about a chair, either. Good for you! You'll be surprised by how much the yarn evens out by plying; I know I have been each time I plied my spun singles. From the picture, it's really hard to tell that the singles isn't even, and it's impressive how much you accomplished in 4 hours. Good job!

Grammy said...

Hi, Beth, I found your blog when I was looking for a pattern for a drawstring bag to make for my great grand-daughter for Christmas. Thank you so much for posting the pattern. I appreciate it so very much. Merry Christmas to you. (I see you haven't posted recently...I hope you are well and happy..God Bless you.) Ruby aka Blabbin' Grammy