Wednesday, June 23, 2010
A couple of weeks ago, a neighbor of mine who attends the same church as we do made an offer: she knew somebody who raised alpacas but who wasn't interested in the fleece (why would you raise alpacas if you didn't care about fleece? Makes no sense) and who had been storing her unwanted fiber for years in her barn. The woman was threatening to make a bonfire of it, but my neighbor intervened and said she would come and pick it up.
She knew that Rowan was a fiber fanatic, so she offered us all the fleece in exchange for lessons on processing and spinning it, and a hunk of fleece to work with. Are you kidding? we asked, incredulous. Bring it on!
Well, today, she brought it on. She brought a pick-up truck full of hefty-trash bags full of fiber. She told us that in fact the pick-up load represented only a fourth or so of the fiber the woman had, but that she felt a little overwhelmed and decided enough was enough. I couldn't agree more.
nine bags full
There was black fiber, brown fiber, white fiber - there was high quality firsts and low quality seconds. There was enough fiber to clothe the Russian army (to paraphrase my mom). I'm going to guesstimate that there is something like forty or fifty pounds of raw alpaca fleece piled up in my shed.
pretty nice white fleece
Plus, she said that if we want, her brother-in-law, a shearer, has access to basically unlimited quantities of fresh alpaca fleece. Apparently, there are many people around who own alpacas but are not interested in fiber. I know - beats me, too. So, suffice to say, we have access to enough alpaca to keep us occupied until basically the end of time.
Now we are planning a fleece-processing party - a nice sunny day, a trio of kiddie pools, some chicken wire stapled to sawhorses, an industrial sized bottle of Dawn dishwashing liquid, and a case of beer. Maybe chips and salsa. Music. Make a party out of the hard, backbreaking work of processing fleece.
Many hands make light the work, and all. I love neighbors. I love it.