Sunday, January 25, 2009

I'm one step closer....

I went to a seminar at a local alpaca farm today. They owners were well informed, nice, and clearly care about their animals and their industry. They talked to us for four hour, and shared a wealth of information, and then took us out to see their animals. They even took extra time to talk to me after everyone else left. They gave me some more advice, and suggested a possible co-ownership with them on an animal. If anyone in CT is considering entering the alpaca farming industry, they should definitely start with a seminar or farm visit at New England Alpacas ( I'm getting closer to getting my first animal. I can't wait to be apart of the alpaca industry myself, even if it's only in a small way at first.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Plying some of my first wheelspun yarn

My awesome Fricke spinning wheel came with a bunch of different rovings for me to play with. I spun up a single of some Romney wool roving in natural brown, which I found to be very sticky and rough. Then I decided to experiment. I blended a bit of combed alpaca top in black with some merino/tencel top in teal. I just pulled apart the top and drafted the two colors together. This stuff was weird to spin because it was so slippery. I wanted to spin very thin singles so I went down a whorl size to add more twist, but it was tricky to find the right breakband resistance so the yarn would wind on before too much twist was added. The first singles were way overtwisted, but I was eventually able to draft fast enough to keep up with the twist. Neither the Romney, nor the alpaca/merino/tencel blend were enough to knit anything with, so I decided to practice plying with these singles. The result is this totally bizarre looking brown/black/teal blend, but the texture is interesting. I'm still plying right now. It will be interesting to see how the yarn turns out after I wash it to set the twist. I wonder what kind of bloom there will be, if any.

My most recent FO

I just completed these mitts on Monday. They're knit with Berocco Ultra Alpaca Fine. They are the warmest thing ever! Not too bad for my first attempt at stranded knitting. I thought I would end up in a tangle of yarn, with a piece full of puckers, but it was surprisingly easy and fun. There are some puckers from floats that are too tight, but some of that is blocking out as I wear them.

Not my alpacas.....

Sadly the two adorable animals in my title image are not mine. I borrowed the image due to it's cuteness overload factor. I will soon be a part of the alpaca industry, one way or another. I'm a full time music teacher, so no, I won't be wearing overalls and carrying a pitch fork any time soon. But, through the awesomeness of alpaca farmers in my area I found a farm where I can board animals. I'm going to a seminar tomorrow to learn about the industry and will be looking animals for possible purchase next weekend. I can't friggin wait! I only recently learned about alpaca farming, right after I got into spinning my own yarn, which was about a month ago. Since then I've gone from being fascinated to wanting alpacas more than I've ever wanted anything else before. So, tomorrow I learn more about alpaca farming, and hopefully in the next few weeks I have a pic of my own animal posted here.