Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hot days and haircuts.

The past weekend was extremely busy. On Saturday demonstrating spinning alpaca fibre at the Oamaru A and P show day.The weather was sweltering but 4 of us sat and spun on a variety of wheels. There were less animals on show this year, Sheep numbers well down.
We had our stand with a couple of pens of alpacas beside the main arena. The animals always catch a lot of attention. I found the heat trying and by midday all the alpacas were cushed down on the grass, chewing placidly and people watching.
On Sunday I was invited to talk about alpaca fibre processing at an alpaca stud’s open day in Dunedin.
Another scorching day. Fortunately plenty of shade provided by some mature trees.
During the day three alpaca/llama crosses from a neighbouring farm got a haircut each. Only managed to photograph the first, who, being a blue eyed white was also deaf and was the least bothered by the noise
of the electric blades. They also got their nails trimmed and vaccinations.
Hot work for Howard the shearer as there was a lot of fleece.
Sooo... hot, glad of a lie dow
n in the shade.

Quite like this attention.
What's he looking for in there?

Please not the poodle cut....

Came home with several bags of suri fleece (thanks Andy) and a much smaller bag of precious baby Guanaco fleece, ( big thanks) which I’m soooo looking forward to processing even though I know I’m going to be spending a large amount of time picking out the hairs. Guanaco being a dual coated, hair/down fleece.
The down is very short as I expected but very soft and honey coloured. Haven’t spun any Guanaco fleece
for many years.
Guinivere is now over 6 months old. She stayed way at the Back of the paddock with mum so I didn’t manage to get a good photo of her. She looks as noble as her mum and dad and is therefore aptly named.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Busy dyeing

Whilst the farmers have bemoaned all this fine summer weather and drought conditions I've been dyeing lots of yarn and fibre for my section of the shop.
It's been fantastic drying weather.
I've also been busy trying to get some projects finished which are paying customer orders.
I'm hoping to finish the knitted alpaca jacket by the end of this week and have several metres left to weave on my Jack loom of a broken herringbone tweed which is going to be tailored into a victorian skirt, hopefully in time for modelling at a fashion show at the black and coloured sheep breeders conference here in the south island in May.
Did sneak a new project of knitted fingerless gloves as I felt compelled to try out some of the new yarn colour I've just dyed, a shop sample of course! Have to show my customer's what can be done with a skein of yarn. this is actually a frequent question so am planning a few example finished items to show what can be made with only one skein.
Photos below of the 4ply pure wool skeins and some 200g balls for those people planning bigger things.

I've also been weaving with the wool yarns in both warp and weft and they've performed really well. The yarn is really smooth but washes into a softer fabric off loom which shows off the weaving pattern. See purple scarf entry previously with curlicues.
I do love a yarn that it versatile.
The wool is Anna Gratton's lovely yarn from the little wool company in the north island.
Same 4ply wool yarn in 50g skeins. These have been my big seller so far.
Ah well back to the dyepots.