Monday, January 31, 2011

Spinning my Wheel!

I recently had a great opportunity to visit with friends in NE Ohio for a little fiber retreat (more here). Although I have recently been more in the mood for felting, that quickly changed as I was introduced to carding art batts and spinning art yarns at the retreat.
My friends Donna and Robbie have The Alpaca Fiber Studio in Chagrin Falls, where they create incredible yarns, dyed fibers, and felted products, as well as teaching classes in spinning. They are great teachers and got me excited about using my carder to produce colorful and unique batts for spinning and felting.
The coolest yarn I've ever produced was this skein of coiled yarn. It was tedious to spin, but using multicolored roving made it more fun as the combinations changed each time I added a coil. I just keep looking at it and thinking of the possibilities for using this in felt or as trim on knitted works. The thing I loved best about spinning art yarns? NO RULES, no "you're supposed to do it this way." That's my style.... and if I can do it, so can YOU!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Mikey's Back!

... the gorgeous El Nino's Accoyo Michelangelo, that is. We've owned him with two other farms since 2005 (purchased as a yearling at the Parade of Champions Auction), and he moves around for breeding throughout the year between Illinois, Ohio and Kentucky. It's been a wonderful and amiable partnership with great communication and mutual respect amongst the three farms, I'm happy to say! Larry Johnson of Likada Farm and Paul Kezdi of North Coast Alpacas are wonderful partners.

Besides holding a beautiful fleece with record-breaking density, softness and enduring fineness and siring champions in every color group coveted by farms across the country, Michelangelo has about the best disposition of ANY alpaca I've ever known!
Last weekend we met Paul for the handoff in the back of the parking lot of Kenwood Mall in Cincinnati. I was frustrated that I had forgotten to bring a halter when Paul got him off his trailer without one. He said, "don't worry, I never use a halter with him." Yes, I've gotten him out of our pasture just by putting my arm around his neck and have led him that way to the female barn for breeding, but I was a little nervous about having him in a busy parking lot. My concern didn't last long, as he stood quietly while I hugged him.
Some passers-by stopped and asked to see him up close- we stepped back and let them hold on to Michelangelo while they got their photos taken! The woman was from Argentina and quite familiar with alpaca products, but she had never touched an alpaca before and she was thrilled!

Mike jumped willingly into the back of my Suburban for the ride home and laid down instantly, familiar with this semi- annual ritual. A security guard walked over and remarked that this was a new sight for him after several years of watching over the lot!
As we approached the farm, Michelangelo began humming and it was obvious that he knew where he was once again. He got out of the car willingly and pranced into the barn, looking for girls! He'll be with us through May, and is available for breedings at a new 2011 fee of $3,500.