A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

August 11, 2009

We Have Ribbons

Our Latest Ribbons From The AFCNA Continental Fleece Show

Our Latest Ribbons From The AFCNA Continental Fleece Show

 

Last Thursday we received a delivery via FedEx – our fleeces that we had submitted to the AFCNA Continental Fleece Show.

 

We were surprised to see our fleeces back so soon after the show, the show had concluded the Sunday before and sometimes it takes while for fleeces to be shipped back to their owners following a show.

 

It is always an exciting moment when you open your box of fleeces wondering if you have won ribbons and for us the answer was yes!

 

Our Windrush Zindel’s Atlas had placed 1st in his class and our Windrush White Blast placed 6th in his class. Unfortunately there were only four entries in Atlas’s class, Atlas has a gorgeous fleece and while we were happy to receive our blue ribbon it would have been good to see how he would do against more competition.

 

Blast’s fleece definitely had competition as he was 6th out of 15 in the ever competitive white classes. I had not been happy with Blast’s fleece when I sent it in as it had become tangled up prior to my skirting it. I didn’t feel that it looked as good as it could do, so I am happy to know that Blast’s fleece placed in a large class despite the mess it was in!

 

I don’t know if I will show Blast’s fleece again, it will depend on how it looks when I take it out of the bag. Maybe I will have got lucky and the fleece show volunteers were able to do a better job of straightening it out than I did! Atlas’s fleece will definitely be shown again.

 

Blast (Left), Biscotti (Center) and Atlas (Right) enjoy some hay, oblivious to Atlas and Blast's latest accomplishments

Blast (Left), Biscotti (Center) and Atlas (Right) enjoy some hay, oblivious to Atlas and Blast's latest accomplishments

So our two up and coming junior herdsires have some more credentials behind them. Atlas at just over a year old is not ready to breed yet, but we have some good news on Blast. It looks as if Blast has got a female pregnant at his first breeding attempt. We still have to confirm the pregnancy by ultrasound, but Dona is spitting hard and fast at any males that come near her so we are pretty confident she is pregnant. How exciting – now all we have to do is wait the 11 ½ months or so for the cria to be born, but if this year is anything to go by the time will go by in a flash!

 

Rosemary

July 23, 2009

To The Fleece Show We Go

 

 Well not us, but two of our fleeces headed off to the AFCNA Continental Fleece Show this afternoon.

 

If truth be known the fleeces probably should have left earlier, they will still arrive at the show with a day or two to spare but I hate taking a chance on something going wrong with the transportation and the fleeces arriving late. Also having been a fleece show superintendent myself I understand how nice it is to receive entries and fleeces well in advance of the show. (My apologies to all involved with the AFCNA Continental Fleece Show this year!).

 

So which fleeces did we send? After some discussion we settled on Windrush White Blast and Windrush Zindel’s Atlas.

 

White Blast did really well in fleece shows last year winning the white color champion at the TxOLAN Alpaca Spectacular against some stiff competition. Blast has a beautiful fleece with tiny micro bundles, high frequency crimp, superb brightness and a soft, soft hand.

 

When I went to prepare Blast’s fleece for the show I discovered that it had somehow become entangled within the bag and it took me a while to sort it out. That doesn’t happen often but when it does it is quite a challenge to unravel the puzzle of which piece of fleece needs to be turned in which direction. I had one heart stopping moment when I wondered if the fleece I had prepared was Blast’s 2008 fleece which had already been shown several times. That would have explained the twisting but would also have meant I had wasted my time and would have to start over on the 2009 fleece. I checked the fleece bag and “phew” the bag was marked Blast 2009! I did my best with Blast’s fleece but with it having become twisted I wonder if the judge will stumble across a piece of fleece that should have been skirted out. I wouldn’t’ be surprised if I get the “needs more skirting” comment on my scorecard.

 

Atlas did well in his first year of halter shows and this shearing was his first. Atlas also has a beautiful fleece in a bronzed light brown color. Atlas is really consistent with his fleece, with his crimp style extending all the way down to his belly and upper legs. Like Blast Atlas has a super bright fleece with high frequency crimp micro bundles. Atlas’s fleece was thankfully not tangled and so skirting it was a little easier, although I did start to wonder who allowed him to roll in the straw before shearing!

 

With the fleeces on the way to the show, now I can sit back and wait for the results. The really nice thing about this particular show is that you also get a DVD of the judges oral reasons on each class and of the seminars held at the show. If your fleece places, you get to see and hear the judges comments about it, which is great fun and a good addition to your herd records.

 

If you are thinking that you missed a great opportunity to show fleeces in the AFCNA Show then think again. The show deadline has been extended and late fees waived. Go to http://www.alpacawebsite.com/ for more information and then get your fleeces on the way to the show!

 

Rosemary

August 9, 2008

The Fleeces Are Back – With Ribbons

Winning Fleeces - Blast and Velvet

Winning Fleeces - Blast and Velvet

 

 

 

Thursday saw the arrival of the FedEx van and the return of the fleeces we sent in to the AFCNA Continental Fleece Show.

 

One of the fun things about mail in fleece shows is the moment when you open your box and discover if your fleeces have won ribbons – it’s a little bit like opening a Christmas or birthday gift, except sometimes you experience a little disappointment if your fleeces have not won anything.  Still with a fleece show you at least get the scorecard in with the fleece showing you how your fleece scored in the various areas (fineness, handle, uniformity of micron/length/color, crimp style, staple type/density, brightness, lack of medullation, lack of impurities/stain/damage and fleece weight) and any comments from the judges.

 

So how did our fleeces do?  No firsts or seconds I am afraid, but we did get ribbons.  A 4th place for Velvet and a 5 th place for White Blast.  Not too shabby for a large show with over 300 entries.

 

Velvet’s fleece had been moved from the dark fawn class to the light brown class.  This is not the first time that has happened to Velvet.  Her color is between the two shades and we have found that it depends on the lighting at the facility as to which color designation she is given.  Having the vicuna shading (graduating from dark on her back to lighter fleece toward her belly) Velvet is always at a little bit of a disadvantage when compared to a solid brown or solid fawn alpaca.  When I skirt her fleece to prepare it for showing I end up removing all of the lightest shade, leaving just the dark and mid shade, which of course reflects in her fleece weight.  In fleece shows we are aiming to show the good qualities and consistency of the fleece and so to leave the lightest fiber on Velvet’s show fleece would result in fewer points for color consistency.  Velvet is also very fine which does not help her fleece weight either.  At the end of the day though there were three other fleeces that scored higher than Velvets.  Her score card will give me pointers as to which areas she is lacking in and will assist me in helping to decide which herdsire to breed her to when she comes to breeding age.

 

White Blast placed 5th in his class.  I know the competition in the white classes would have been stiff and so a 5th place is still an achievement.  Another bullet to add to Blast’s future herdsire resume!  Blast’s fleece scored high in all areas except his fleece weight where his fineness and small stature probably didn’t help him too much.  Blast is still young though and has been doing some good growing this summer.  While he will never be a large alpaca he is not undersized by any means and according to him he is ready to try his hand with the ladies.  As he is only 15 months old it will be a little while before he goes on his first date, but he definitely has the potential to make a good herdsire.  As well as Blast’s fleece scores the Judge had written the comment “Commendable Brightness” in the notes area of Blasts scorecard, which is a nice compliment in itself.

 

The fleeces will now go back out to the studio for storage until the next show.  They might need a little straightening out depending on how they were handled at the show, but it will not take much to get them ready for the next time.

 

We are proud of the achievement of our two young alpacas and have several more fleeces to show during the course of the year, which, fingers crossed, will also bring us more ribbons in due course.

 

Rosemary

July 16, 2008

Well Isn’t That Pretty

Blast's Fleece

Blast's Fleece

The last couple of days I have been busy preparing a couple of fleeces for the Alpaca Fiber Cooperative of North America (AFCNA) Continental Fleece Show which is to be held in Denver, Colorado on August 2 and 3.

 

I enjoy entering the AFCNA Show, it is a big show with good competition and included in the price of the entry fee is a DVD of all of the seminars given at the show, plus the judges’ oral reasons on the winning fleeces for each class.  It is so nice to “take part” in the seminars at your leisure at home, how many seminars have you attended in the past where you later wish you could repeat or re-hear part or all of the seminar.  Well with the AFCNA show seminars being recorded and sent out on DVD after the show you can repeat all or part of the seminar as you need.   It is also great to see the judges’ oral reasons on the winning fleeces, especially if your fleece is one of those winners; it gives you feedback which is accessible time and again.    My experience at shows is that usually you are so busy with the show itself that you do not get time to attend the seminars, if you are showing alpacas and win you hear the judges comments at the time of your class, but it is so easy to forget the exact words used and sometimes the PA system at the show grounds means that all you hear is a garbled noise.  With the AFCNA show the judges comments are available to you at your convenience – isn’t that a nice luxury.

 

I am sending in the fleeces of our young male Windrush White Blast, who is out of our dam Clarissa and a herdsire from Texas called FRA Lucero.  I have been really pleased with Blast and when we sheared him his fleece was so beautiful I knew it was a definite candidate for a show.  No doubt Blast’s fleece will be in a large highly competitive class, but I feel it is good enough to stand up to the competition.  Just look at it in the picture at the beginning of this blog entry, it is beautiful, bright and shiny with a consistent high frequency crimp – such a pretty fleece and I am sure it will catch the judges attention.

 

Also being sent off to the show is the fleece from our young female Windrush Zindel’s Velvet Princess.  Velvet is the first offspring from our herdsire Windrush Jennifer’s Zindel and she has a unique velvety handle to her fleece.  Velvet’s fleece has a higher frequency crimp than Blast’s but lower amplitude of crimp.  Two very different fleece styles but each beautiful in its own right.

Velvet's Beautiful Fleece

Velvet's Beautiful Fleece

 

So I will finish preparing the fleeces and send them on their way to the show later this week.  Fingers crossed they will win some nice ribbons, and even if they don’t at least I will get some education and fun from watching the show DVD’s.

 

Rosemary

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