Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Hooray! for shearing day!!

today the llamas got sheared! i know i said they were alpacas, because i thought they were, but apparently not! sort of dissapointing because i have never felt alpaca before! BUT llama is also a great fiber to work with, if you have the tools to process it straight off the sheep.

some words about llama fleece:
i think it is imperitive to have wool combs. llamas have gaurd hairs that SHOULD be combed out; you can of course spin these with the rest of it, but they can be coarse and they tend to poke out from the yarn and be scratchy *not fun*. if you are lucky enough, i have spun llama with gaurd hairs, that were so soft, they didn't need to be removed, and made a good enough yarn, just not perfect. it's a preference thing. but if you WANT to remove these hairs, and you don't have combs, you have to pick them out by hand *trust me, i've tried to think of ANY other way, but didn't come up with any* needless to say, this is tedious, and because i am a picker, i would spend hours upon hours thinking every hair was a guard hair. i finally just gave up.

ok, that's enough education for one day, back to the story:
i was so excited to go, but i wish i could've been there to see the action, it was much to early in the morning for me to be able to get myself up and ready, and ON TOP of that, get both of the kids ready *one of whom is currently potty training, the other is miserable due to teething!* so i dropped the kids off with my grandparents, and went on my way. it was a slightly humid, drizzly day....blech.... but luckily, we were in a barn. as i was driving down the entrance, i could see the llamas all running about, they must have been so excited to have been shorn! it was super cute! unfortunately, the vet who shears them knows nothing about shearing for spinners, so picking through all the fleece was quite hard *there were 4 fleeces, but only the belly fur, they leave everything else on, i don't think all other people do this, but it IS actually better, because the neck and leg hair are usually coarser* but he know nothing about secong cuts, so there were alot of varrying lengths of cuts. and apparently, he RAKED all the fiber into a stall in the barn, so the top of the pile was okay, but once i got past that, it was almost unusable, i salvaged all i could, but he had raked up all the hay and poo along with it. i spent like two hours shaking vm out of the fleece. i was incredibly lucky enough, however, to get pretty much a whole fleece from the ONLY baby there, which is spectacular!!! it is a beautiful cinnamon color, and of course, uber-soft!!!

now here's the part where i really cringe: i forgot my camera!! i know, i know, trust me, nobody is more mad than myself! it didn't even cross my mind this morning! but i'll take some pictures of the fleece before or after i wash it. this will also be the first fleece i've washed...i'm nervous. it's a good beginner, though, since llamas don't have lanolin like sheep. but i did finalize my order for a little more than a pound and a half of targhee wool today! i'm just diving in head first!

my order came in from nancy's knit knacks today for the wpi tool! i'm so excited! this will definately make all the spinning coming up alot easier!

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