A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

April 8, 2009

A Weekend of Felting Fun

 My weekend in Colorado was a great success and a lot of fun too.  The weather behaved and while the drive up on Friday was a little windy, the snow cooperated by arriving on Saturday and being gone by the time I left on Sunday.  Those who know me know that I am not a fan of being out in the snow and even less of a fan of driving in it, so to enjoy the beauty of a snowy mountain landscape while having the luxury of staying inside and working on fiber arts was a treat.

 

Friday evening and Saturday morning were spent working on a silk and alpaca felt scarf using the Nuno Felting technique.  The combination of silk and alpaca is a great one and it was interesting to feel how quickly the alpaca felts beneath your fingers.  This was my first venture in felting alpaca this way, I have felted alpaca before by knitting and then putting the knitted product in the washing machine, but have not felted by hand until now.  The felting process was really not hard at all and under the guidance of my friend and teacher Judy Sims-Barlow I soon produced my first silk and alpaca scarf.

 

Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning we moved onto the next project – making an alpaca felt hat.  This was a little more involved and sadly I was unable to use either of the two fleeces I had taken with me.  Both Chamberino and Ma Cushla’s fleeces were deemed to be too hairy and so they will need to be dehaired before being used.  Fortunately Judy had some alpaca batting from her alpaca Ruby Moonlight that was suitable for hat making.

 

By Sunday afternoon I had also completed the hat.  It’s amazing what you can do when you have the time available to work on nothing but that one project. 

 

I will post pictures of my two creations in days to come, for a first time attempt they came out really well.

 

A big Thank You goes out to Judy and Will Sims-Barlow of Spanish Peaks Alpacas for accommodating me over the weekend, for the wonderful meals they provided and for teaching me new skills I am now eager to put to use.

 

Rosemary

April 3, 2009

North To Colorado

 

This morning I will be headed north to La Veta, Colorado.  There I will spend the weekend with Judy and Will Sims-Barlow of Spanish Peaks Alpacas and receive lessons from Judy in how to make an alpaca felt hat and a silk and alpaca felt scarf.

 

Judy is extremely talented with her felting, I saw some of her hats a couple of years ago when I delivered one of our girls to their farm for a breeding to one of their males.  The hats Judy makes are beautiful with such a lovely smooth finish.

 

Ever since I saw Judy’s hats I have been asking her to show me how to felt alpaca, and now we finally have a weekend when we are both available!

 

I am taking two fleeces with me – Chamberino’s (a dark brown/maroon fleece) and Ma Cushla’s (a pretty medium silver grey) plus some fawn roving from one of our boys, Homer, and some white roving that is a combination of several white fleeces from the herd.

 

When Judy sent me information on the type of fleeces to use for felting she mentioned that the micron count of the fleece for the hats should be around 27 micron.  That made me happy as we still have Chamberino’s blanket fleece from 2008 and dear Chamberino is a consistent 30 microns across his fleece.  For an alpaca 30 microns is not a desirable figure.

 

Chamberino’s fleece still spins up to a soft yarn and has a lovely handle to the yarn partly due to the consistency of his fleece.  It will be great to have something different to use that fleece for and I am looking forward to seeing the end product.

 

While I am away learning how to felt alpaca, Ric will be home looking after the herd.  We don’t have any cria due yet and all that needs to be done is routine chores so it shouldn’t be too much for Ric to handle – except of course for the 75 mph wind gusts we are expected to get in Clovis on Saturday which might just make chores a little bit challenging.

 

Rosemary

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