I think there’s an unwritten rule that says spinners need to draw others into spinning, and help them get started. Drove out on Saturday to Worden IL with Anna and a group from Knitty Couture for a visit to Prairieland Peruvian Alpacas and had a fabulous time! The owner, Lita Murphy, sat us down for a brief introduction on alpaca farming in the US, and told us about her animals, passing some fleece around. There were two spinners in the group, myself and Ellen, both of us picking over the samples with interest.
It was drizzling outside, and we waited in the barn while Lita called the females and the young alpaca in from their pasture.
Then we got to go meet the alpaca! Some of them were nervous, their ears were set flat and back like cats. When they relaxed the ears went forwards.
This one is Aria, and she wasn’t afraid of anyone. She nuzzled my collar and let us pet her. They’re getting sheared next week, so they have a LOT of fleece on them. The water only got the outermost layer, under that they were warm and fuzzy and wonderfully soft. After the shearing they’ll have a hard time figuring out who is who for about a half hour because all the familiar scents will be gone. They’ll do it by humming to each other instead.
We saw the males in their pastures, Mocha Joe (a beautiful black alpaca) came to the fence to be petted, but Royalty, the big white alpha male didn’t seem impressed by visitors. There were two Pyrenean Mountain dogs, Sampson and Delilah, out in the pastures, they are the guard dogs.
Lita also showed us how she cleans the fleeces to send out to mills for processing, and let us look at the roving and yarn made from her alpaca. I got beautiful grey roving from a female I got to pet, called Liberator. This is Liberator with Ellen. Liberator’s baby is next to her, he stayed close and hummed in short bursts like a kazoo.
Anna also got some roving. She’s not a spinner yet. Gave her some of my leftover Coopworth roving and other bits and bobs from the fibre stash, and loaned her a book, Spinning in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. Once she’s picked up a spindle, she’ll be coming over for lessons… And she only went out to pet the alpaca!