Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cold and Wet

After a bit of Indian Summer last week, we are back to our cool and very wet fall.  The alpacas don't seem to mind, they are plenty warm under their warm coats.  They look like drowned rats, and they are eager to get into the hay every time I bring it out.

I love Ruby's cute face in that last photo :)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Cria Gang

I love watching them run around our pasture area!   It's quite the sight to see.

They have a loop that they run, through the pasture area, into the paddock, around their moms, and back out to the pasture area.  It's funny to me how every year the cria have this same loop they run, even through every year we have new cria who run the loop.  I don't know how they know the path, but they do.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Twilight Ear Flap Hat

We started with this, two award winning alpacas:

That's Twilight and Tucker.  Twilight is a very very dark silver gray.  Her fiber appears black with just a dusting of gray throughout.   Tucker is a light silver gray.

Each spring we shear off their fiber, our harvest for the year.

This is Twilight's fiber:

I skirt that fiber, and flick it, to make it into yarn:

Then I knit it into something:

All of this is done by us, 100% farm fresh!  You don't get any more local made than that!

I finished my Twilight Ear Flap Hat:

The picture does not begin to do this hat justice.  It is soft and warm and oh so comfortable to wear!

This Twilight Ear Flap Hat is for sale on our farm's Oak Haven Alpacas, LLC, ETSY page.

Friday, October 26, 2012


Here is the start of my current knitting project:

Here it is today:

I know my fellow knitting friends will note that my knitting goes along slowly.  It's true.  It's not that I knit slow, it's that I don't have a lot of knitting time.  I do what I can :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Headband Revisited

Remember my project

I haven't forgotten it either.  I have been working towards making one of these:

I found the pattern on pinterest, link here :)

A week or so ago I decided to just start knitting it, knowing full well that my bulky hand spun 100% alpaca yarn would knit up different than the yarn suggested by the pattern.  I know about doing a gauge swatch and all that, but how boring!  So I didn't.

And, I am learning that at least for my own hand spun 100% alpaca yarn, which is incredibly soft yarn, if I knit it with a small size knitting needle, that soft feel will fall into disguise.  Bulky yarn on a small needle = it knits so tight that the product almost feels hard and stiff, not alpaca like at all!

Combine all these things and I was not making a nice cute soft headband.  It was turning into a disproportionately big and stiff headband.  Not at all what I wanted!

So I frogged it. 

Which means to "rip it out, rip it out" commonly called frogging in the fiber arts world.

While at the alpaca show this weekend, I brought my yarn, larger size knitting needles, and a complete over haul of the pattern done specifically by me to fit my own yarn.

It is knitting up fast:

And best yet, it is soft and proportionate and everything I wanted this headband to be.

Monday, October 22, 2012

MIAF 2012

This past weekend we attended Michigan International Alpacafest (MIAF) in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  This show is about a 45 minute drive for us - so no excuse for not attending.   Though I will say living near the venue has it's pros and cons.  For example, we didn't need anyone to watch our farm because we would be home each evening.  But at the same time, we never really got away.  Part of what's fun about an alpaca show is to travel.  We did get to catch up with many of our alpaca friends.  And a show is always fun to talk to others about alpacas.

Our dilemma this fall was that we are between having a set show string.  Our show string from last spring has mostly matured - Rose and Twilight are now bred.  Gabriel and Vamil have started their breeding careers.  We wouldn't put show stress on a bred female, and it typically isn't fun to take a male once they are breeding (they can be hard to keep calm in a pen near all those pretty girls!).   At the same time this year's cria are too young to show yet (they have to be at least 6 months old to show, and given we breed for births from May to August, none have hit that age mark yet).  This left our yearlings: Thunder, Shamballa and Lady Bing.  So, that is who we took to the show.  But to be honest, it felt a bit discouraging because Lady Bing is at an awkward growth stage, and both of the yearling boys aren't quite the whole package.  For example, Thunder has incredible fiber, but is smaller than most his age.

Zack was nice enough to take some pictures of the venue to show what the alpaca show looks like inside the DeltaPlex Arena.

The far side with stalls set up for the alpacas:

The middle section where the judging was taking place:

And the far other side where there are more stalls with alpacas and products:

Zack took these pictures for me from way up in the stands :)

And if you are wondering why this is posting during the night, it seems I drank way too much caffeine over the weekend and find myself unable to sleep.

Friday, October 19, 2012


I have been busy spinning up yarn!

On the left is a big ball of yarn from Tehya's fiber (link to Tehya and link to her fiber ~ you can have some too), and a smaller ball of contrast yarn:

I have been making contrast yarn when I have a bit of odds and ends left over.  I ply them together:

Then I have a handy contrast yarn that can be the perfect touch to a final knit product.  A little stripe across the bottom of a hat, or scarf or head band.

Here is the ball of Tucker yarn, with a smaller ball of contrast yarn.  That contrast yarn is created from fiber off of Tucker and Challenger (link to his fiber).  Challenger is Tucker's son ~ I like that this is a family thing:

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Here is a bit of an update on some of our cria.

Cornelia Marie:

Cornelia with Night (they are best buds):


Ruby has become a family favorite.  Not only is she cute, but she became my baby too.  While her mom did nurse her, she wasn't getting enough milk.  So we were supplementing her with alpaca baby food (edited to add the link to the post explaining how and why to make alpaca baby food).  This meant three times a day I would syringe an alpaca baby food mash into her mouth.   We know it saved her, but she doesn't seem to think so.  She loves her mom and didn't appreciate our interfering.  Now she is eating alpaca grain on her own so we no longer need to do it.  But she still didn't want to look at me for this picture :)  She's a feisty one.  And cute too!

Monday, October 15, 2012


This time of year between the colorful leaves on the trees and the colorful alpacas, everything is camouflage:

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Show Time!!

Next weekend will be the Michigan International Alpacafest in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  This is the 17th year of this show, the second time it is being held in Grand Rapids.   We enjoyed this show a lot last year and can't wait to go again this year.

We will be taking 3 of our yearling alpacas (our juvis are too young yet, not yet 6 months old, and we typically don't take the ones older than 2 years old).

We will be taking:

Our Peruvian Dark Thunder
ATA Peruvian Shamballa
ATA Peruvian Lady Bing

Thursday, October 11, 2012


Rain and temps in the 50's isn't my ideal:

And I have to add that those temps are a bit higher than we actually see, being we are more north and more rural than this forecast.  For example right now it's about 7 p.m. and that says 57* when it's actually 47* at outside our house.

Today it was especially cold to me, the damp wet cloudy cold.  It didn't help that I put off some of the farm chores earlier this week and now need to catch up. I paid the price and had to catch up in the cold rain this afternoon. Thankfully I was home early enough I could get it all done well before dinner time.

But actually it's the night time temps that are so cold. We haven't had a real freeze yet, certainly not a hard freeze, but it's still cold and dark out there each morning. I've been unhooking the water hose every night, thinking about adding heated water bucket into the barns pretty soon.

Frost warning for us for tonight:

Sunday, October 7, 2012


I usually do a really good job of hiding from any pictures being taken but I was snatched in this picture on Saturday:

About 3/4 of me anyway :) 

I attended a joint event between White Cloud Alpacas and The Old Farm Girl which amounted to me being able to hang out with some spinning friends and spend the day spinning yarn.  What more could a girl ask for?
Pin It button on image hover