Alpacas and a Shawl

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The kid and I drove to West Valley Alpaca Farm Sunday.  A very windy, sunny day it was in the valley too!  Above photo – shorn alpaca butt, photography by the kid.  Spending an afternoon on a farm sure is different than an afternoon running around Oakland.  The kid’s at an age where he exhibits a nice, healthy degree of caution with new experiences animals.  Once he warmed up and got used to the wind, he had a great time, mostly commandeering the camera.

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The whole alpaca.  The black one, Spartacus, is a friendly guy.  I turned around to find him kissing my head.  And no, the kid didn’t get that on camera. 

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This is a spinning wheel.  You knew that, right? I took this picture when the kid wouldn’t oblige me by showing the camera how he worked with the wheel.  There’s some lovely novelty yarn on the bobbin, spun in a collaboration by the kid and me. 

I learned something (actually, a lot of somethings) at the shearing.  Alpaca shearing is  quite different from sheep shearing.  Alpacas don’t have the lanolin, so the clippers need lubrication periodically.  Also, the fleece (?) doesn’t hold together.  Wool comes off the sheep in one piece, more or less.  Alpaca doesn’t.  The folks shearing grabbed handfuls each cut and collected them in separate spots depending on the quality.  No wonder alpaca yarn can be so soft – spun from fluff and clouds, if it’s first cut (if I’ve got the terms right).

I finished the kid’s shawl.

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The story.  The kid picked 2 skeins of Koigu KPPM for my birthday.   He requested that I make him a shawl with it.  So I did.

The details.

Koigu KPPM, ball band somewhere else so I have no idea which color.

Basic pattern taken from the Syrian Shawl in Jane Sowerby’s Victorian Lace Today.  I used the pattern from the triangle body of the shawl and did not add an edging.  It’s garter stitch, good for gorgeous variegated yarn, with a very simple pattern of yarnovers lining up as you see above.  This version looks totally different from the version in the book, done in something like Kidsilk Haze (again, book not at hand just now to check) and very delicate.  It’s really interesting to see the difference a change in yarn makes.  This is a pretty sturdy little shawl with very good drape after blocking.  Before blocking, it has a wonderful scrunchy cozy feel, but it was just a bit too small.  So I blocked it.

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3 Comments

Filed under Excursions, Kid Stories, Knitting and more knitting

3 responses to “Alpacas and a Shawl

  1. Kmom

    Man, do they (the alpacas) have long necks! You told me already, but I don’t remember–where does the best fiber come from? With the sheep, the crummy stuff was neck (from putting their heads into the feeders), head, of course, belly, and along the spine (from sun and weather exposure).

    Love the kid’s shawl. Just plain gorgeous.

  2. laflaka

    Best fiber – the sides.

    Gwen

  3. Pingback: Bits of Knitting « Small Scars

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