Alpaca Yarn Processed and Back From the Fiber Mill

From farm to yarn, it is all quite a process, and I’m happy to say it comes with great satisfaction!  To raise the alpacas, and then be able to offer our very own Farm Yarn made from their fiber to knitters and crocheters and weavers to enjoy making things with it, just is pretty darn cool!  Occasionally I’ll use it myself, but mostly save it for customers, because when it’s gone, well it’s gone.  This is the case on a small alpaca farm that only harvests a limited amount of fiber each year from their herd, which makes if even more special.  There many steps involved in processing alpaca fiber into yarn, which I plan to write about in future posts.  When yarn finally arrives on our front porch, well it’s like Christmas!

Fiber Processing Steps

We delivered three years worth of alpaca fiber to Stramba Farm and Fiber Mill in Wampum, PA.  I shared with Terri that I’d like the huacaya spun into a worsted weight yarn, that I didn’t want all solid colors, and gave her “artistic license” to mix and match and blend.  That she did, and the yarn she and her staff created is beautiful!

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Alpaca Bird Nesting Balls

What is an Alpaca Bird Nesting Ball, you ask? It is a ball made of grapevine stuffed full of alpaca fiber, for the birds to pluck out and carry away to build nests for their young! Alpaca fiber is very soft, and very warm. Can you just imagine what a comfortable nest a mama bird could build for her babies!

BIRDS REALLY DO USE

The birds really do use this fiber and I frequently find it when cleaning out birdhouses in the Fall.  The grapevine balls are approximately 4″ in diameter and generously filled with 3 ounces or more of alpaca fiber inside, and sticking out of them. Nesting balls hang from a piece of twine, and can be hung on a branch or tied.

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10 Reasons to Raise Alpacas

Why did we start raising alpacas? We fell in love with them, and the alpaca lifestyle! There are soo many more reasons to choose to start an alpaca farm…here’s just ten of them!

1. Love of the Animals

Like I said, we fell in love with the animals! When we visited that first alpaca farm and saw those intriguing looking animals, it was love at first sight! There is a peacefulness about these gentle animals, with their long elegant necks, large eyes, long lashes, and gentle humming. Alpacas continue to transfix us, making them irresistible for those of us who have taken the “taken the plunge.” 

We raise both suris and huacayas!

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Preparing for Shearing Day

Shearing day is one of the most important days of the year on alpaca farms. It is the day that we harvest the beautiful fiber that our alpacas have grown over the last year. Getting organized for the day ahead of time certainly makes the day less stressful and chaotic. Teamwork and a well thought out plan will make shearing day run like a well oiled machine.

That being said, shearing is one of my least favorite parts of raising alpacas, because though our shearers claim it takes them just eight minutes to shear an alpaca, and though they are not harmed in any way, it still is a scary experience for them. Some tolerate it better than others. All of them feel better when it’s over.

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Cleaning Suri Alpaca Fiber for Doll Wigs

In each of our pastures, there is a bare spot where our alpacas like to roll.  It must really feel good, but they do get very dusty.  The suri fiber we sell gets tumbled which helps get much of the dust out, then rinsed multiple times.  As you can see in the video, there still is some muddy water when washing it again.  Each step of the processing is a step towards cleaner fiber.

How to Make a Suri Alpaca Doll Wig

Find out how to make a Suri Alpaca Weft for Doll Hair Wigs using techniques using several techniques much easier and less time consuming than rerooting can be.

What I Did With This Year’s Alpaca Fiber

There are many options when it comes to processing alpaca fiber into a value added product.  Finding a fiber mill that will help you evaluate and determine the best use of your fiber is very helpful.  Morning Star Fiber Mill, an artisan fiber mill in North Carolina, offers custom processing and did our processing for … Read more

Flowers, Flowers, Flowers

I love hats with flowers, maybe not on me, but a flower just sets off a hat, makes it so much more stylish!  I love flowers, and it is Spring, so thought I would share my Flowers, Flowers, Flowers Pinterest Board.  On it you will find crocheted, knitted, fiber, and felted flowers, some with instructions and … Read more

How to Separate Locks of Suri Fiber

Fiber of the suri alpaca grows vertically down the side of the body, hanging in long, separate, distinctive locks.  These individual locks are made up of many lustrous fibers.  Separating the locks of fiber is not hard, but it does take time.  I am a novice when it comes to video, so hope you’ll bear with … Read more

Tips for Purchasing Suri Fiber for Doll Hair

Doll makers are finding that suri alpaca makes beautiful doll hair!   Purchasing Suri Fiber in its natural form is the most economical way to purchase this silky, lustrous fiber.  There is a huge cost savings if purchasing an entire fleece, but this is usually way more fiber than needed for doll wigs. We offer our … Read more