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This was the fiber that I scored on Freecycle: 2 llama, 2 alpaca and 1 random surprise sheep fleeces from an animal rescue in this area.

In order of photos: Bags o’ Fiber, Alpaca #1, Alpaca #1 close up, Llama #1, Llama #2, Me with llamas 1 and 2.

Now, most of the llama that you see in the photos with me in it above was far too fragile to be processed, sad but true.  This happens when animals aren’t fed properly or on a regular schedule and aren’t treated right because the stress has an impact on their hair growth.  But, that beautiful chocolate brown?  Oh baby, it was super soft even when dusty and dirty so I divided it from the other colours and told Barry (of Taylored Fibers) that, if anything, I wanted him to process this in particular.  He looked at it and thought that it would be OK and, if that was what I wanted, would try it.  Best. Decision. Ever.

The alpaca I picked through to get out the vegetation and de-haired (that long, string-y looking thing in the 2nd photos).  Just like the chocolate llama, so, so soft and I knew that it would be a beautiful roving once that lighter cream tips were mixed with those beautiful milky coffee patches.  Holy. Alpaca.  Its so pretty and so very soft.

What you don’t see is that in the Alpaca #2 bag, which just went to Barry on the 15th, there was a random sheep fleece as a surprise!  The most surprising part was that this fleece wasn’t completely loaded with VM and actually was in very good shape.  When I had Barry assess the Alpaca #2, the sheep fleece just fell out of the bag and I was thrilled that it was something not only salvageable but a great find to boot.  The crimp is lovely and with a 3-4″ staple and soft enough to be close to skin worn, this turned into a perfect white roving.

Take a look at my beautiful new roving:  From L to R: Alpaca (4), Sheep (3), Llama (2)

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You can really see the creamy colour of the alpaca when compared to the bright white of the sheep.Image

And this perfect milk chocolate of the llama?  Heavenly.

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All told, I have 24.3 oz / 1.5 lbs of llama, 39.75 oz / 2.5 lbs of sheep and 47.3 oz / 2.95 lbs of alpaca.
And there is more wool coming within the month from Barry, both sheep and alpaca.

 

You must excuse me now.  I need to revel in my luck of finding such a grand find for free and start spinning my wheel so I can get this beautiful ITW August club Image

off my wheel and start with one of these beautiful natural wools.  Which to choose becomes the new conundrum!

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On the final day of the 4th Annual Olympic Peninsula Fiber Farm Tour, I visited Compass Rose Farm and their Icelandic sheep.

One of the first things that grabbed me was the colours of the sheep.  Not just black, brown, grey and white but all types of shades that comes from different breeding.   Light brown, dark brown, brown-black, red brown, tan, carmael, brown with white/grey/black/different brown spots grey, silver, grey-black, white white, off white, white with brown/black/grey spots, black with white/brown/grey spots, black-brown, black black…the list goes on and on and on…

And, just for MORE variety, there were two guard llamas looking on.  Yes, guard llamas.  And, just as their sheep are different colours, they are too!

I had a wonderful talk about the sheep themselves and breeding practises in the US versus Iceland (for multi-coloured wool here vs meat and milk there) and the practises of Compass Rose Farm.  It makes me so glad to hear that breeding for colour and fine-ness are hand in hand for them.

After talking sheep for a while, I then looked around a bit more and admired their garden and plants and realised that I really like their set-up with the chip lined pathways…

but kept being drawn back to the animals.

It was a wonderful visit.  They also have bees, though I failed to photograph their 3 hives.  Like most of the farms that we visited, these lovely folks have chickens too, 4 different breeds, and I had to buy some eggs.

 

And yes, since you asked, some wool DID follow me home.  There was a beautiful black for Mike, much more black than the dark grey (dark brown) Romney we found yesterday but with enough character for me than I won’t feel like I’m spinning into an abyss.  26 ounces (1.625 lbs) in 2 bumps.

And a cinnamon tweed for me:

36 ounces (2.25lbs) in 2 bumps.  It was love at first sight and no, I’m not sorry at all that there is barely any room in the spare room wool room.  If I could have still fed my family and bought the rest of the cinnamon tweed, I would have.  Granted, if I had bought it, I would have needed less fiber to clothe us but I didn’t think it would be in our best interests.

All in all, this has been such a stellar weekend.  The weather has been lovely, the people super friendly, the animals beautiful and the fiber abundant.  While at Taylored Fibers, Barry showed me the rescue/freecycle llama, alpaca and random breed of sheep wool fleeces that he had washed and was ready for the carding machine in the next few weeks.  With glee I gave over the Shetland and two other alpaca fleeces and should have those in 6 weeks or so.  I am so very excited about getting started spinning all my new lovely wool so the real question becomes:  Which do I spin first?  Suri Alpaca? Jacob?  Romney?  Icelandic Black or Cinnamon?

So many choices came into being this weekend, we shan’t speak of the beautiful colours that are already in the stash or coming from the ITW club.  While I’m selling my Ladybug this weekend, I am sorely tempted to get another wheel so I can have multiple projects going at once!  Wouldn’t it be smart to have two though?  One for natural colours, one for those beautiful dyed woolies?  Makes sense to me!