Thursday, April 26, 2012
2011 shearing, Pierre,
Shearing season is coming up and we're excited to see our herd's true colors and feel their fluffy fiber fleeces in their raw form. I love to handle the raw fleece and feel all it has to offer. I encourage individuals to run their hands through the raw fleece if not the animal itself so they can truly feel "Soft". The traits on the fleece, fineness, crimp, staple length and density really show on shearing day. And, of course the weight of each Alpacas blanket. Here at Pen Cuckoo, "we love Heavy Weights". After each Alpaca is shorn their natural colors come to light, another wonderful component to raising Alpacas. What looks to be a medium brown on the outside can actually be a dark chocolate on the inside, it's really a fascinating color transformation right before our eyes.
We're using a new shearer this season and our enthusiasm is high. Last season it took a full day to shear eight Alpacas by using the shearing table method. There were several cuts, seconds and trash. The shearer we'll be using this season shears from the floor and has a crew of four. They shear one blanket. They do not shear seconds. I've been told it's the safer method, it's the quicker method and it's a method that's easier on the Alpaca. We're excited to see how it goes.
After all of the Alpacas are shorn we'll have bags upon bags of fleece. Absolutely beautiful soft, fluffy, fleece. And, what do we do with all of the fleece? We sell it in it's raw form and we ship some of it to a mill and ask to have it produced into yarn, roving and batting. Once it's been produced into yarn it's a pleasure to see artisans handle it and appreciate it's softness and then create with it. Hand spinners love Alpaca fleece also as do those crafters who weave and felt.
If you're ever in our neck of the woods, stop by for a visit and we'll introduce you to our herd. Our color palatte recently grew, we now offer light fawn, dark fawn, brown, dark brown, and true black. And, at the end of June and August we'll have two Cute, Cuddly Cria's. ::))
2011 shearing, Peter Pan