So who knew that I lived within driving distance of an Alpaca farm? Well, fortunately, my friend Petra. We decided that we needed to go for a little drive and check the place out.
First there was a stop at a very unique little yarn store. (Sorry, I don’t remember the name.) I knew that we were in for a real treat when we walked up to the door and there were three men, presumably different generations of the same family, sitting on rocking chairs and drinking beer. I was kind’ve surprised that one of them wasn’t whittling but I do think that I heard the distant strum of a banjo and really had to have faith that I wasn’t walking into a scene from Deliverance. But we summoned our courage and wondered in. There was yarn on the other side of those beer swilling gentlemen! The inside proved to be just as interesting as the outside. The yarn was displayed over two floors and was mixed in with the day-to-day goings-on of the house. It was a little odd realizing that I was in both the Lopi room (it really was shelves filled with Lopi and nothing else) and the guest bedroom at the same time.
The store had a very electic mix of yarns and produced both the most horrific yarn I have ever felt and some real shining gems.
Unfortunately, the clerk, who was not the owner of the store, seemed to be a little flustered (I have my suspicions as to why). And a while after leaving we realized that she quoted us one price for the sock yarn, then charged my friend $3 more than the price she told us, and then charged me an additional $4 more dollars for the same yarn. It was still a decent price for sock yarn, but I would have only bought one skein instead of two. I have been in touch with the owner and she doesn’t really seem inclined to do anything about the whole situation. What can you do? These things happen. (I do know what I’ll do. I’m going to make pretty socks or fingerless gloves so the story does have a happy ending.)
We left the odd, slightly horror-movie-set style store, and were off to the Alpaca Farm. (Here’s a thought. Why doesn’t the fleeing teenager ever lead the bad guy into a knitter’s house or LYS? We have lots of pointy sticks. Jamie Lee Curtis figured that out in the original Halloween. But I’ve never seen it done since. Sigh. Hollywood is missing out. That movie would have had a whole different ending if poor Jamie Lee had gotten ahold of a pair of Signatures.)
Anyway, we arrived at the farm only to discover that they were pretty much out of yarn since the fibre was still at the mill, but that she did have raw fleece available. Here’s where it gets really fun. We go out to the Alpaca pen and she hands us some feed and says “pat them and figure out which ones you like by appearance and feel.” Awesome!!!!!! It was so much fun and most of the Alpacas were very friendly and not shy at all. They were happy to nibble out of my hand and let me pat them. I really could have stayed much, much longer.
When she mentioned that they were selling some of their alpacas I briefly considered bringing one home. I figured it would take a good few seconds before my husband noticed it and by then it would be too late because he would be sucked in by the cuteness of the critter. But I couldn’t think of how you would paper train an Alpaca so I had to settle for 1 lb of cria fleece with another 1/2 lbs of second shear from Hope.
Hope is a lovely little girl who went unnoticed under a fence for a few hours after her birth and was rejected by her mother. After 13 days of bottle feeding her mama finally accepted her and now she’s a thriving little alpaca. So I have my fleece and a story to go with it, and I will be going back for more. This time I’ll take my husband and he can see how cute the alpacas are and maybe he’ll figure out how to paper train one.