- Not much has been happening since my last post. The sweater is still unfinished.
- I started a lace shawl with some handspun, but I had to put that down pretty early in its development because
- I agreed to do some more sample/test knitting. This means I can't show you what I'm working on.
- My LYS now carries BrooklynTweed yarn. It takes every ounce of strength to not go there every day.
- Last week (two weeks ago?) I was working a later shift at the coffee shop than I normally do and discovered a secret knitting group comprised of young, hip knitters.
- They said they tend to intimidate new people because they're "serious" about their knitting.
- I said bring on the cables and leave the crying at home.
- I'm playing with a symphony again, but I still get paid more to knit than I do to play my clarinet.
Alright, now we're all caught up. Wanna know what I did today?
I drove down to the Minnesota Alpaca Expo and hung out with these camelids! I had seen a post on Ravelry a couple weeks back about this event and immediately took the day off of work so I could be there. I had never gone to a fiber festival or anything of the sort and I thought it was high time I saw what all the hubbub was about.
Today the hubbub was all about alpacas. The expo was less about fiber crafts and more about the animals themselves. They had a halter competition (like a dog show) and there was a silent auction for live animals. Alpaca farmers from all over the midwest showed up with their best show animals to compete for a blue ribbon.
I, however, simply showed up to see these cute faces.
As I wandered around taking an obnoxious amount of blurry pictures of alpacas looking away from me, one of the handlers asked me if I had any questions. "No, I'm just looking..." I heard myself say. "Wellllll, maybe just one question." 45 minutes later and I had met two local alpaca farmers and was walking away with plans to start volunteering at an alpaca farm starting next weekend!
You think wool fumes in a yarn shop are bad? By the time I did one loop around this place I was ready to drop everything and start an alpaca farm of my own! The next best thing to do, in my mind, is to volunteer at someone else's as much as possible. The one I'll be visiting has 80 alpacas. I'm so excited!
Did you know there are two different kinds of alpacas? Huacaya alpacas are the ones I've been showing you above. They're soft and fluffy and have shorter fibers than the second type. Huacayas also make up 97% of the world's population of alpacas.
And just look at all the different natural colors they come in! Be still, my beating heart. (Full disclosure: I walked away with 8oz each of black, gray, and white fiber. I couldn't resist.)
The second type of alpacas, the 3% that's left, are the Suri alpacas. They have a very long staple length (the length of their fiber), which naturally forms into beautiful dreadlocks.
I apparently didn't do a very good job taking pictures of Suris. You can see that when there are children present, the alpacas won't even give you the time of day.
Suris make up 17% of the US population of alpacas, but even so, there are less than 20,000 of them in the country and they're no longer being imported. I'll be sure to get better pictures for you later because the farm that I plan on volunteering at? All Suri alpacas. I have to admit, I think they're less photogenic and look a little nerdy, but that's what makes me like them so much.
All together now: Awwwwwwww!