Alpacas – Quick Update

I’ve been working with the alpacas twice a day – by taking them out and bringing them inside at night.

The poor little guys aren’t used to being handled, so this was a major project. At first I had limited progress, there was a lot of chasing and Grumpy did a lot of spitting when caught.

The change was very gradual – almost too subtle to mention, so I didn’t.

But yesterday had a ‘shining moment’ that needs to be recognised. While we were cornering the alpacas, I was able to easily hook Bashful’s halter. Grumpy was cussing at my husband

But when hubby reached out his hand to catch Grumpy’s halter, the alpaca pressed his neck into hubby’s hand.

The look on hubby’s face was priceless!

I’m used to dealing with these guys, and it really is great to see them try to figure out what we want them to do. Once we had the routine down, they’ve done small things to cooperate. They run into the catch area, it looks accidental. I always fuss and try to give them treats to let them know this is what I want.

It’s sad, in a way, to see just how badly they distrust humans. It’s plain no one has taken any time to tame them. Now, even the slightest sign of socialization is lavishly praised and rewarded. The upside is how Grumpy watches me with his ears up, curious about me. When I get too close, I get grunts and other grumpy noises, but the ears aren’t flat back, just turned back.

Even Bashful is trying to cooperate – he holds still, making anxious noises, but if I’m very gentle when I touch him, I get ears up, not back.

If I didn’t know ‘horsespeak’ like a second language, I would miss all these tiny changes.

Now, if I could just get the horses to lighten up so I can turn the alpacas out with the horses…maybe next month?

Spinning By Candlelight?

I can't believe it's really mine.

I can’t believe it’s really mine.

A really bad storm blew through last night, around 10 pm the lights went out.

I wandered through the house, pulling out a few candles and two oil lamps. I can light up the house with seven candles. I was bored enough to try spinning in by candle light. It worked out okay, though I quit after a few minutes. The alpaca I’m spinning is too pretty to play around with.

Today hubby and I carded the black llama fiber I need to finish up the last of my Christmas projects. We put quite a bit of blue firestar in it. Both a navy blue and a bright blue. There’s a really nice sparkle to it now.

Hubby also called his son to let him know his present will be late. I finished carding the chocolate llama fiber for the new hat last night. But it’s still gonna take me a couple of days to get around to it.

Merry Christmas, Bright Yule, Happy Holidays and so forth from all of us at Jordan’s Croft.

Otter Bee – Crafters’ Get Together

Three of us met for Otter Bee at Shoppes at Otter Creek yesterday.

I got to see my very first battery operated sewing machine in action. It was so tiny and so cute, but it really worked!

And a spinning buddy brought her tiny spinning wheel in. It was also tiny and cute! A direct drive wheel that she used to spin up some really lovely alpaca roving in soft golds and greens.

I took my beloved Kromski and spun up nearly all of my ‘Forest Sky’ alpaca roving. Unfortunately, the 4 oz roving had sat long enough that I couldn’t long-draw it. So I’m still working on it.

We also talked about my problem with staple length – the appalousa llama fleece was cut with less than a 2 inch staple length. I got some fake casmere to blend with it, and some Shetland roving to dye a dark blue and mix with the black llama. The black llama is even softer than the white, and the staple length is even shorter. But it’s so soft and fine that I’m determined to spin every bit of it.

No new photos today. I didn’t take any.

On the downside, I ‘lost’ a finished project for my step-son. I crocheted him a llama hat in chocolate and appalousa that was just dreamy soft and warm. But somehow, it grew legs and vanished from my house. I’ve looked everywhere!

The young man shaves his head, and lives in Upstate New York, where the winters are savagely cold. I’m afraid that I can’t make him a new hat before the holiday.

Cottage Industry – Fiber Anyone?

Digital Camera

I’ve been browsing and, looking at fiber offerings.

This is quite a cottage industry – isn’t it? I’ve seen hundreds of offers from dozens of vendors. That’s a whole lot more than I thought I’d find.

The prices are pretty high, which is good for the vendors. I don’t know all the places to look for fiber/fleece/wool, but I’m learning a lot from just bouncing around the interwebz. I’m very, very glad that I was able to get Tonka and Sabre – because I’m really into alpaca fiber.

I bought a Kitten carding machine from Fancy Kitty of Missouri. They have a terrific sale going on, 5% off orders that ship in the next few days. Mine shipped today, I should see it next week. Not in time to get all the Christmas gifts out, but I’ll have it for the other bags of fiber.

I’m going to NEED it for all that fiber. There are still 5 bags I haven’t touched, and half a crate each of black, appalousa and chocolate, plus a bag of washed Jacob. That’s a heck of a lot of fiber to card by hand.

The appalousa, even after a good washing, is still dirty. I’m puzzled, because I’m not sure how much this affects my ability to spin it. If I don’t put a LOT of twist in this fiber, it falls apart.

The black needs even more twist!

It’s a challenge, a challenge to my short spinning experience.

Got the Photos


These are a couple of skeins I spun last week. I think I did three the week before to get the infinity scarf done for the Llama Rescue people.

I had an ounce of appalousa llama carded by hand. I spun that up, it’s the little hank only 30 yards. I’m waiting for my order of firestar to come in before I spin any more appalousa. Those three fluffy batts are calling my name! But adding just a touch of sparkle will make them beyond fablous!

Un-Swirly Hats

These are the hats I made with the ‘Swirly Hat’ pattern. As you can see, the swirls didn’t happen. However I LOVE the look of these hats! I put a little bit of decoration on them with a band and two buttons. Just charming!

I’ll take another look at the photos to see if there are any more pictures I can post.

‘Tis the Season!