Thursday, August 13, 2009

Busy with Fiber

Fiber is what they call the fur on the alpacas. Selling the fiber and fiber products should bring in enough income to offset the cost of feeding and vet care of the alpacas for the year. Though, I have to say when we initially went to visit alpaca farms, we found many of them had bags and bags of fiber in their basement or attic. I swore I was getting into alpacas to do something with the fiber. I had envisioned having yarn made at a mill, then I would knit product. After seeing someone hand spin, I decided I wanted to give that a try too. I love it! Knitting is great too :)

So, now comes the hard part of marketing our product. Well, not hard, but not my personal favorite thing to do. I'm more a behind the scenes person. I love spinning the fiber and knitting things. I'm not so fond of washing fiber and flicking (sort of like carding) the fiber, and promoting it. But it's all part of the process.

To start, I put fiber lots on our Alpaca Nation page. I didn't expect that to draw in a lot of people since many farms have fiber up for sale. Plus, most people on Alpaca Nation have their own alpacas. But, it got me to sort our fiber and start the process of selling it. I also set up my Etsy store. I am excited about getting that up and running. A dear friend of mine, Eliz, bought the first lot of fiber from us. She wants to try dying and felting. She bought some of our coarse fiber for this project. I am anxious to hear how her projects work out!

We will have a booth at Grant's Frontier Festival in mid-August. They will allow us to have some alpacas there, so we are planning to take Shelby, Tehya and Brooklyn. Ashton Stone Alpacas will be there too. I think Jillian and I will spin some yarn and see who stops by the booth. I won't have a lot of product ready by then, but I will have raw fiber available, and I will have samples of yarn and products (scarves) for people to see. We will have order forms since I don't have product ready for purchase. I am also looking into getting a booth at a fiber fair in White Cloud for Labor Day weekend. I likely will only have raw fiber for them too.

I have been very busy getting samples of product put together. I washed a sample of Maddie's fiber, Tehya's fiber and Victoria's fiber, and have that spun into a sample of yarn. Maddie's I started to knit into a scarf to show what it will look like in a finished product. I have to say Tehya's was the most fun to spin! She has variation of color (beige to light fawn to medium fawn). The yarn is so soft because it's her first fleece, and the color is heathered that looks so neat. I still need to get a sample of Sommerfield's spun up (it's washed but not spun). For fun, I mixed up some yarn, for example, I had a bit of Victoria's spun up but only 1 strand, so I plied it with a strand of Maddie's fiber. The mix of brown and black is really neat. I knit up a sample of what that will look like in a product. I also did a mix of Victoria (brown) and Tehya (heathered fawn). That one is so pretty too.

This has been what has been keeping me busy lately. It's all about fiber :)

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