Welcome to our blog about life with six alpaca "fiber boys" in the Colorado foothills! We post once a week, usually on the weekend, when life slows down to sweet, slow dance. ~ Gib & Lisa

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A Full Week: Shearing on Wednesday, Dyeing on Friday!

Please excuse this LOOOOONG post, but both of these events were just so much fun, I wanted to share lots of photos!

Harvesting fleece is the fun part!  After a whole year of waiting, our boys were shorn on June 8.  I carefully brushed each one of them beforehand, and left them in swept-out stalls with NO hay (what a mean Paca Mom)!  Then, our shearer Steve Salter took over; he was ably assisted by his daughter Rebecca, and shearer-in-training Todd Westfall.

Below  are the before and after photos of each alpaca; for more photos of the entire two-hour process, click HERE ~ please note, the photos may be a bit scary-looking; to shear an alpaca, you must stretch our its wrinkly skin, so the shearers stretch out the animal by pulling its legs out in each direction.  It looks cruel, but it does not hurt the animal.  That doesn't mean they don't complain a lot, until they hop up and realize they've lost a few scratchy pounds, then they run around like they are crias again!
Steve convincing Chocolate that he will like it!

Chocolate feeling good afterward!

EB looking plump

"I feel 10 pounds lighter!"

Jake pretending he can't see what's going on behind him

Jake looking too cute!

George looking regal...and woolly!

George feeling a bit bare!

Ralphie looking apprehensive ~ it was only his second-ever shearing!

Ralphie relieved!

Ben itching to get his hair cut!  Sorry, no "after" photo of Ben...

Two days after the shearing (June 10), I attended my first class ever at the Estes Park Wool Market.  Look at the setting outside our classroom window...amazing!

My sweet friend Liz Moncrief was teaching a dyeing class, and we spent the day luxuriating in color. The 13 students came from all over the country, including far-flung places such as New York and Texas, and I'm not sure what was more fun ~ learning how to create vibrant, make-your-heart-soar colored yarn, or spending time with fellow fiber fanatics who understood each other's passion for soft, silky fibers and all their possibilities!  Below are just a few photos from the day; to see more, click HERE.

Liz spent the whole day on the move...
...keeping all 13 of us on task and busy!

First, she had us choose just the "right" yarn to dye.
We put the yarn in a citric acid bath...
...which reminded me of a big bucket of spaghetti!

It seemed appropriate to use a turkey roaster to dye the "spaghetti"...
...and ketchup bottles for the dye!
The results were fabulous!

The cooking theme continued...
...with dyed locks in a crock pot.
We proved that too many cooks...
...just make things more interesting!

Don't reuse the crock pot for food!!!
Later, we got to dye soft, silky roving using several techniques.
One was to apply the color...
...cover the roving in plastic wrap...

...blend the colors by "squishing" them...
...wrap the roving into sausage rolls...
...and steam them!
We even dyed silk "hankie" squares...

Liz showed results from a previous class...
...including this rainbow by a first-time spinner!

No comments:

Post a Comment