Spinners: Wildcat Hollow/Alpaca Endeavors at Lincoln Haymarket!

Here’s Autumn, my favorite Wildcat Hollow cria from last year. Look at her freckles! Isn’t she a doll? And I have her blanket.

I was busy spinning my yummy new Wildcat Hollow tricolor I started at Spinsters Club last weekend when I remembered: my favorite alpaca growers are going to be at the Lincoln Haymarket Farmer’s Market, so if you’re in Lincoln, go say hi!

Ed & Marta from Wildcat Hollow in Eskridge have formed an alpaca cooperative with a handful of other local growers called Alpaca Endeavors & they’ll be in Lincoln, Nebraska at the Haymarket August 30 and September 13 (in stalls 156 & 157) and September 20, October 4 and 11 (in stalls 129 & 130). They’ll have alpaca yarn, roving (single and tricolor), fiber for felting, fine fiber for spinning, plus handmade articles for sale.

I heartily recommend the new Wildcat Hollow tricolors. I’m currently spinning the one on the left, the sort of latte-colored blend, and it’s so soft and yummy. I’m trying my hand at spinning it woolen, which is how I used always to spin before I got fixated on worsted and forgot how. But it’s so soft and fuzzy and alpaca’s so warm that I want to make a really really weightless lofty yarn of it. We’ll see if I’m up to the task.

So far I really like the yarn. I love how when you spin it really fine, you don’t know what wisps of what color will get drawn in and you’ll have little solid stretches followed by contrasty twirly candycane spans followed by really subtle twisties. I don’t know what it’s going to bet yet. Maybe a garter yoke cardigan? I could either do the whole thing in the tricolor, or the yoke could be the tricolor and the rest could be just solid Marguerit (I think she’s the auburn stripe, but I have her solid roving, too).

(My poor old camera’s been ressurected & is still chugging along. For now. My birthday’s next week and Mama’s ponying up a new DSLR. I still haven’t picked, but I’m leaning toward the Sony after trying Jen’s husband’s at Spinsters on Sunday). The yarn’s too fine on the bobbin to tell how it will look plied, so in the meantime, you get pictures of the nice animals who made it! These were from shearing day last spring. It was the day after Yarn School & I was beat and never got around to writing up my little photo essay, which I really want to do, because I attended a really big alpaca shearing & a much smaller one, and the difference was interesting.

Marta with Autumn. She’s named after their granddaughter, who is also a cute leggy teenager, but much less furry.

Autumn’s coat is variegated. It’s her baby coat, so they say she’ll probably be a different color next year. This one goes from almost black to to gray to a reddish fawn. So pretty. I don’t quite know what to do with it, though. I’d hate to have it processed because I’m afraid it would lose its beautiful variation. Then again, it might be a wonderful heather. For the moment, it’s in limbo.

And here’s poor Autumn naked and woeful. Over on the left, I think that’s Marguerit. She’s the darker stripe in the latte tri-color roving. And here’s her blanket, glowing in the sunshine:

This is the shearing table. When they shear alpacas, they either use a table or a system of pulleys on the ground. Either way, the animal has to be tethered firmly. You can’t just flop them on their butts like sheep. With the table, you lean them against it, then swivel it over, strap their feet, and someone holds the wiggly head. Afterwards, they release the feet, swivel the table back down, lower the animal down, and she shakes off and is on her merry way. It’s hard to describe the other way–I’ll try to get pictures up soon. There seemed to be a lot less squalling with the table than the floor method, but that might be because it’s a much smaller farm and the animals are all handled a lot more. At the big farm, most of them are little wild. And the table was a lot slower, but I don’t know whether that’s inherent to the process or because the New Zealanders using the pulleys at the bigger farm were just more experienced. The results are the same either way: naked, puppety critters with mop top hairdos.

  • TPS says:

    They’re all so cute!

  • fuzzy says:

    Oh, I had never seen a shorn alpaca before. They look so fragile!

    …knitter in northern Arkansas here, learning about your creative endeavaors. Your schools this week look amazing– wish I didn’t have two kiddos under 3 this year!! Best of luck.

    Kim
    Harrison, Ark.

  • Farming Antiques says:

    Oh my gawd. Look at them. They are adorable – I have never seen one naked like that before.

    This blog is amazing. I love your photos and your enthusiasm! Learning lots. Thanks.

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