Thursday, November 11, 2010

It Was a Good Weekend!

This is one of Rowdy's favorite places to snooze, if you can believe it.  Tigger, the orphan kitten, is usually never far from Rowdy.  

As noted in my title, I think the OABA Alpacafest was a success for many.  I know I had a really good time.  My alpaca, Lightning, did not do as well as I would have liked, taking 5th in a class of 5. The competition is always very tough for white animals.  He is not as strong in the rear end as the judges like to see, but they really couldn't find anything wrong with his fleece.   But having said that, the real reason I attended the show was to participate once again in the OABA Member Market, which is a great opportunity for members of the Ohio Association to sell the products that come from their animals.  
At every show there are always lots of vendors of alpaca products.  Without exception, all of these are selling products that are made in Peru, the biggest producer of alpacas and commercial products.  The quality varies, with some extremely nice products, and some that are just ok.  Many of these vendors are trying to get alpaca breeders to open a wholesale account and stock their farm stores with their products.  I have no problem with this and have a wholesale account with one vendor myself (from which I bought some really CUTE hats to sell at the Christmas Festival in Woodsfield next month).  But, as American alpaca breeders, we need to show the American public what we can produce here.  We are still a very small industry and most American items are made by the alpaca farmers or sent to small mills.  Consequently, our prices are higher than the items from Peru.  Also, most of us do not have enough product to stock a vendor space and pay the fee.  Hence, the Member Market.  We encourage all OABA members to consign product from their alpacas and/or alpaca related items they produce to the Market, where it is displayed and show attendees can browse and purchase items from one or many breeders in one place.  We do charge a commission, some of which covers operating costs. 
I wish I had taken some photos of the Market and don't know why I didn't!  But we had lots of wonderful items from homemade fleece skirting tables, to yarn, hats, scarves, felted soaps, roving, hand made knitting needles, mittens, and Christmas ornaments.  
I took 3 pounds of dyed roving and again came home with only 1/2 pound.  I sold some of my yarn, some white roving and a couple of neck-warmers as well.  

My friend and fellow alpaca breeder, Becky attended the show with me and we had a good time together.  We even escaped the show venue and went to a nearby antique mall where I found a beautiful little painted washstand for my bathroom and also bought a Dazey butter churn.  

I also entered my beaded mystery shawl. which you may remember from last spring, and my recently finished cabled pullover in the Fiber Arts Competition.  Sadly, there was not much participation (they all knew I was coming!), but I was happy with my blue ribbon and Judge's Choice award for my shawl and my blue ribbon for my sweater.  I got such nice compliments all weekend on my shawl.   I will definitely be entering more of these in the future.

Handspun 3 ply 100% Alpaca sweater

And Rugs!  I finished weaving my first 2 rugs on Thursday, despite my loom giving me fits.  It has some kinks that need worked out, which I suppose can be expected from a piece of antique equipment.  I am anxious to get to work on some more rugs as soon as I can!  I think for a first try they came out pretty well.  Here is what they look like just off the loom before they are cut apart and have the ends hemmed.  I could also finish them with fringe on the ends, but I opted for hemmed ends on my first rugs.


The one farthest from the camera came out the best,  I made the first one a little bit too short.  Did not do my calculations right.  

Now, here is the second one (farthest from the camera in first photo) being modeled by, who else, Rowdy.  It really compliments his coat, don't you think?

And of course, Sam has his projects going on, at least when he is not sitting in a tree with his bow.    His latest project has been a roof over his sawmill.  He has been using more of those old electric poles he picked up for free a couple of years ago and has made the rafters from 2 X 4s he cut on the sawmill.  While I am at the office today he hopes to get the metal roof on and be finished with this project.  I'm not sure what his next one will be.  Maybe he will help me as I am planning to clean out my summer kitchen and turn it into a studio for myself.  

When I went out to take this photo of the sawmill this morning, the sun was just coming up over the ridge above the horse/hay barn.  I thought it looked pretty cool and no car battery had to die to get a photo!

 Breeding season is winding down.  Unfortunately, my new boy Lightning has yet to prove himself.  I am hoping that tomorrow a couple of the females he has bred will spit off for the second week in a row.  If not, I may use someone else with them as this is the last week I will do any breedings.  I want all our fall crias to arrive by the end of October at the latest and if we do any breedings later than this, we may go into November.    

My 2 sons moved from Yosemite California to Lake Tahoe Nevada last week.  Older son Ian already has a job.  His brother and their other 2 roommates are still looking.  Ian will be working retail for Heavenly ski resort, which means he gets a ski pass for the winter and he says from their condo he can actually ski to work and back once there is enough snow.  I guess life is really tough at the  moment!

Other than rug weaving, I am working on some small projects since I have a local Christmas Festival coming up in December.  Small ticket items sell better at this type of venue, so mittens and neck warmers are the thing.  The weather is supposed to be nice yet for a few days, so I am sure the housework will continue to suffer.  Tonight I have my monthly spinning guild meeting.  No worries here, I won't get bored!

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