Clever name, right? Six Paca Farm. Each new cria born on the farm gets named after a brew. It was a soft October day, well ahead of the height of fall color, heavy with the coming rain.
Joe introduced to us to some of the females and the quickly growing brood of cria. Patriot is the youngest of the herd, born on Memorial Day. He is a cutie!
There are 37 alpaca on the farm at the moment. They live in a bucolic setting in Bozrah, Connecticut. Along with the farm, there is a nice shop full of alpaca things–from yarn to finished garments and hats/mittens/socks, and items from other local farms, such as cheese, milk, meat. The owner Linda is a gracious host! She set up tables and chairs under an awning for us to enjoy the lunches we brought, and she had coffee going, both at the farm and her mill that is just down the road.
The alpacas came out of the barn in small groups. They weren’t entirely sure about visitors at first.
They each had such unique features.
Eventually they all came out and enjoyed some attention.
It’s clear that Joe loves these animals, and they love him.
He told us so much about raising alpacas–their life span, what they eat, how to keep them healthy on a farm, pregnancy and gestation (11 months!), weaning the babies, and breeding for soft fiber and color.
Prior to visiting the farm, we met at the mill down the street. Linda owns the mill and the farm, and she started the mill about 9 years ago, when she was tired of waiting for her fiber to be processed at outside mills. Back then it might take as long as 9 months to get her alpaca yarns back from a mill. Now that she takes outside orders at her own mill, she says it sometimes still takes about 9 months to get her own fiber processing done.
Linda (behind the desk) is giving us some background information before go into the mill.
All her mill equipment is brand new. She bought equipment from all over the world and learned to use it as quickly as she could. The picker is from New Zealand. The carder is from Italy.
This is a pretty fancy washing station. There are seven separate bins, each with a heating element and a drain.
Freshly washed fiber is about to go through the carder.
She dyes fiber as well.
Her carder produces a semi worsted roving. These rovings are being sent through the pin carder.
We couldn’t resist fondling the end product, even though we were told that this particular yarn was not the best quality alpaca fibers. It was still soft!
Last week I dyed two onesies to give to our grand-twins, Emme and Rhett. Barbara from my small weavers’ group gave them to me when we all met for our annual dye day. I was not able to stay and dye, so I brought them home. In my dye stash I have a color I love called ‘wasabi.’ It’s a ProChem MX dye. I thought it was the perfect name–and color– for a couple of babies who are peas in the same pod. This is Emme’s.
and Rhett’s too.
When we got back from our visit to the kids and grandkids, I decided to make a project I’d once made ages ago. A few decades ago my embroidery guild in New Jersey asked each member to make a tote bag for small projects. It was so clever. You start with a store-bought placemat and coordinating napkin. It’s a quick project and feels a bit like a magic trick when it’s done.
I’ll post more photos and the instructions for this when I return from my next jaunt.
I’m heading off again for another fun workshop. I’ll be at Red Stone Glen for the weekend to take a class with Rodrick Owen on the taka dai. Remember my practice pieces from the summer in preparation for this class? If not, you can see them here and here. I haven’t seen Rodrick in 20 years. It’s going to be fun, and I only have about a year left to wait for me own taka dai. Patience….