Thursday, 8 December 2011

Alpaca Fiber

Today I tried (and I think failed) to successfully wash a small amount of alpaca fiber. I know I have a lot to learn about the industry...feeding the alpacas is the easy part. I asked an experienced alpaca owner how to go about it and she was most helpful. I decided to try with a small amount first, as I would probably cry if I ruined an entire blanket.

What do alpacas and their fiber have to do with this blog you ask?

First of all, I have been wanting a herd of alpacas for years. We were finally able to purchase a small herd of 7 this spring and I absolutely adore them. When you read about them lowering blood pressure, they most definitely have that effect. I think the only time ours raise my blood pressure is when they are all trying to get to the feed bucket at the same time. I don't appreciate getting spit on. Although they don't direct it at me I have been caught in the crossfire....GROSS!

Secondly, alpacas are a low maintenance livestock ideal for anyone to raise. I grew up around cattle and they always scared me. The alpacas are much quieter, smaller and mild-mannered compared to some cows. Being a homemaker, I will be able to utilize my crafting abilities and make wonderful things from the fiber. Plus they will subsidize our income as time goes on; that in itself will be a bonus.

The best part is their fiber is warm, hypo-allergenic and comes in 22 natural colors. I have to admit, I have yet to work with the yarn but I can't wait. I know how soft and warm the fleece is on the alpacas; I can only imagine how warm mitts or a toque would be. And in our cold Alberta winters, anything that keeps my fingers from freezing is alright by me. If I ruined the fleece so I can't make yarn from it, I will be lining my chore mitts with it. My fingers were numb last night and this morning doing chores, and we haven't even reached our coldest part of winter yet.

I know I have a lot to learn about raising them and processing their fleece but it is a road I am very willing to take. Working with them will be a great asset for first hand information when I write about Hobby Farming (a book scheduled further in the series).

My question for you is have you used alpaca fiber? If so, what have you made from it? Please feel free to post comments below.

Have a great day!


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