Alpaca interlude

In between knitting sessions, I jumped at the opportunity to visit a local alpaca farm with friends, and was totally and completely charmed by those huge eyes and soft coats!

Alpaca herd

Alpaca herd

That’s Frosty looking at the camera – she’s a rose grey.  I gather she’s at the ‘rose’ end of the spectrum.  Levi, the herd sire you can see at the center back of this picture, is at the ‘grey’ end of the color.

Alpacas grazing

Alpacas grazing

You can see all three of this year’s babies (crias) in this picture.  A friend ‘discovered’ the Sunflower Alpaca Farm through a Chamber of Commerce event recently, and contacted the owners about a little tour for some spinners.  I was disappointed to learn that they are getting ready to move some 130 miles east in just a few weeks.  They are located just a mile south of the nearby town where our daughters went to high school, have had the alpacas about 6 years, and I never knew!!  Aargh.

We wanted to make the most of our visit, since it would be our only chance.  So we had a nice long visit with the owners, Glen and Laura Haigler, and the alpacas.  These are Huacaya alpacas, the more common kind, with shorter, fluffier wool than Suri alpacas.  They are curious and gentle, but don’t really appreciate petting, although a neck scratch seems to be acceptable.  We were interested to learn a fair bit about their care and history, and I was especially intrigued to find out that their registry requires not just pedigree information, but DNA samples.  No paper-switching with this species!

Alpaca kisses

Alpaca kisses

This little guy, a yearling, has apparently appointed himself official ambassador.  He gives warm and fuzzy alpaca kisses!  I don’t think he has ever met a stranger.  *sigh*  I wanted to take him home with me.

These two are the herd sires.  I didn’t catch the name of the brown one, but you can see that Levi is putting that long neck to good advantage!

Snack time

Snack time

Then we were introduced to a cria born this year – he’s about four months old, I think.  He may be a brother or half-brother of Mr. Ambassador; he certainly has the same friendly attitude!

Male cria

Male cria

And then, just when we thought we couldn’t be more smitten, we touched his coat.  Now, I’ve felt soft before.  My rabbits have the most wonderful, velvety coats.  But this guy’s baby wool is SO fluffy and touchable, I just about melted right there.  This is the closest I can come to sharing it with you:

Soft baby alpaca wool!

Soft baby alpaca wool!

Well, it did have to end some time.  We said goodbye to the alpacas and headed over to the barn.  Laura and Glen started going through the wool  from this year’s clip, and patiently let us ooh and ahh and decide what we couldn’t live without.  As you could tell from the photos, alpacas come in a beautiful range of colors, most of which are represented in this herd.  I think I took this picture before all the bags were out and opened, but you get the idea.

Alpaca wool 'rainbow'

Alpaca wool 'rainbow'

And before you ask, yes, I did buy some.  Some of every color, as a matter of fact.  The fiber was so gorgeous, and so open and clean, that it could be spun straight from the bag!  We saw first-hand that alpacas like to roll in the dust, but the white is the only color that really shows it here.

Now, what small project would show off this lovely stuff?  I’m envisioning some Fair Isle gloves… fine three-ply yarn… the two lightest colors for background, with the darker colors providing the pattern…

Like I need another project.

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4 Responses to Alpaca interlude

  1. KiniaCat says:

    Too fun! I became similarly smitten with Alpacas in February in the White Mountains. (I think you saw the pictures already).
    You obviously did a MUCH better job listening to the educational part of the tour than I did!
    Lovely, lovely stuff!
    Can’t wait to see what you make!!

  2. Judy says:

    You took great pictures. It was a great time. I haven’t decided what to make yet from what I got that day.

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