Archive for January 2013

Virginia Grown Alpaca Yarns

2012 Alpaca Yarns

Our alpaca yarns from our 2012 shearing have now arrived!  You can see them online and in the store!  These all natural, undyed, 100% alpaca yarns come from our herd of alpacas raised on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia.  We start with a careful breeding program by selecting breeding combinations that will give us the finest and most dense fiber.  Examples of the success of our breeding program are seen in Reserve Color Champion Peaceful Heart’s Lord Tennyson and his beautiful offspring.

Finishing shearing Tennyson's Becket

We shear our alpacas each May, and invite people to come observe.  As David has gotten older, he has become our primary shearer, and now shears for other alpaca farms in the area.  The shearing method we use focuses on maximizing the quantity of useable fiber off each alpaca and keeping the three sections of fiber (blanket, neck, and legs/belly) separate as we shear.

Fiber Sample from J Dubs 40

Once the fiber is off the alpaca, I sort it by color and fineness to create the best yarns possible.  Alpaca fiber is sorted by the fineness of the fiber, which is measured in microns.  We test a sample from all our alpaca blankets to confirm the fiber diameter for each.  For reference, human hair is approximately 100 microns thick.  Alpacas have been bred for their fine fiber since they were first domesticated by the Incas.  The fineness of the alpaca fiber is what makes it so soft and comfortable to the skin.  Alpaca fiber and yarn is named by the thickness of the fibers that make up that yarn.  Baby alpaca yarn is a great example, because it can be made from the fiber of any alpaca with fiber under 23 microns, no matter what their age is.  We have several alpacas up to six years of age that produce beautiful baby alpaca yarn (or finer) each year.  The list below is a guideline for classifying the fibers, and how it relates to the yarn we make.

Classification of Fiber in Microns

  • Grade 1: Royal Baby Alpaca Yarn: <20
  • Grade 2: Baby Alpaca Yarn: 20-22.9
  • Grade 3: Superfine Alpaca Yarn: 23 – 25.9
  • Grade 4: Fine Alpaca Yarn: 26 – 28.9
  • Grade 5: Medium Alpaca Yarn: 29-31.9
  • Grade 6: Strong Alpaca Yarn: 32-35

Sorting fiber from Temeraire's blanket (the baskets in the background hold the different grades of fiber as I sort)

You can see that there is very little difference between each of the grades, and proper sorting keeps the fiber that makes up a yarn more consistent.  This means that all the yarns have a lovely feel.  The finer the grade of fiber and yarn, the softer it will feel, with the royal baby and baby alpaca yarns having the most luxurious feel.

Baby Alpaca Yarn from Ruthie and Sugar Cookie

After the fiber is sorted and I decide how we would like each to be processed, I send the raw and sorted fiber to the mill in Tennessee who process the fiber into beautiful alpaca yarns made in the USA from Virginia raised alpacas.  This year I tried blending fibers from alpacas of two different colors that had similar fiber characteristics, such as the yarn to the left from sisters Ruthie (dark brown) and Sugar Cookie (light fawn).  I like the way they turned out in heathered tones.  I look forward to hearing feedback from you as you see them in the shop and work with them to create beautiful things.

These yarns are perfect for all your yarn needs including knitting, crochet and weaving.  You can see our alpaca yarns at our online store or at the farm.

This year’s alpaca yarns have turned out beautifully and are all spun in soft 3 ply natural colored, yarns with an incredible feel.  I hope you enjoy working with them as much as I do.

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New Alpaca Sales Lists Posted

Our January 2013 sales lists for male and female alpacas are now online. Each season we review our herd to decide which alpacas to make available for sale.  These decisions always require a lot of thought and discussion among the family as we take into account the genetics of everyone involved and how all our alpacas fit into our farm’s breeding goals.  We also take into account who has sold during the previous season, and make sure we not only maintain our genetic diversity, but have a very diverse group of alpacas available to offer for sale.

We have added some new faces to our female alpacas for sale.  This group of girls offers an incredible selection of colors, bloodlines and great fiber.  Most of them are pregnant and several are expecting crias as early as May of this year.  All of our pregnant girls sell with an additional breeding after they deliver, and those who are not currently pregnant sell with two breedings, making each girl her own three in one package.

Our group of young male alpacas for sale has also been revised and updated.  We have a group of boys who possess some incredible fiber characteristics and genetics.  Their ARI certificates and most recent fiber stats are online, but we can also discuss their and their parents’ fiber characteristics and EPDs to help you find the boys that will fit best with your breeding goals.

We do not currently have any pet and fiber boys listed for sale, but contact us if you are looking to add some non-breeding alpacas to your family.  We can help you find the right boys for you.

We offer discounts for the purchase of multiple alpacas, and enjoy working with people to help them create a package of alpacas that will best fit the goals they have for their farm.  Contact us today to discuss any of these great alpacas, and schedule a visit to meet them.

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Congratulations to Ocotillas Mountainside Alpacas

Congratulations to Ocotillas Mountainside Alpacas on the purchase of our beautiful young herdsire Timbuctoo.  Buc will be staying on our farm for a couple weeks as they work on fencing for his new pasture.  We will miss him, but know he is going to a great farm where he will be forming part of the foundation of their herd, as his sire Lord Tennyson and grandsire Powergrid have done for us.

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