table of contents
April 13, 2008
And besides, the alpacas were pretty darned cute! We had a marvelous afternoon getting to know the critters. They're very calm and quiet, a bit skittish, but really pleasant animals. Less smelly and dirty than a dog, and, according to our hosts, Kari and Wythe Davis, easier to take care of.
And their fleece? Delightfully soft. Warm and light (alpaca hairs are hollow which makes them marvelous insulators). And much cleaner than sheep's wool because they don't produce lanolin. Even an unwashed fleece seemed at most "dusty" rather than dirty. The hairs are shorter, straighter and slipperier than a nice crimpy sheep's wool, but even as a neophyte, I didn't find it much trouble to spin. Alpacas come in a range of colors from a rich chocolatey black to creamy white. So even undyed, the color choices are interesting.
We got to wander around with the alpacas in their pen and learn about them and finished up our visit looking at the fibers, fleeces and yarns Kari had for sale. Meanwhile, the children were entertained with a box of kittens. Really. So if you're interested in alpaca yarn or fiber drop the Alpaca Valley Ranch a line. She's happy to ship fiber... but not kittens.
As far as what I'm knitting, I agreed to give myself a little vacation from my current must-knit, 3/4-done, all-the-mystery-is-gone project and cast on with my creamy fingering weight alpaca. What's on the needles? A pattern I've been rhapsodizing about for a long time, Hanami from Pink Lemon Twist. I have just finished the first repeat of the basketweave pattern. I have no expectation of getting it done quickly. I think it's one of those things your relish slowly.
*Or, one llama named Tina and some alpacas.
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