Big eyes with a gentle look - I got immediately hooked. Anyone who has ever had a face-to-face encounter with an Alpaca will never get this gentle animals out of his/her head again. I was lucky enough to visit an Alpaca Farm nearby and get to know these friendly characters. The Feicht Family breeds Huacaya Alpacas since 2010. They are having 25 Alpacas at the moment. Huacaya Alpacas belong to the species of the Camels. They are gregarious and flight animals and therefor pretty shy and always in a little "ball" together. zusammen. More Info at Wikipedia.
The Alpacas have a really nice life with the Feicht Family. Is the weather bad, they have a big stable to go in and for the nice weather they have lots of meadows to run around. They are getting hay and grass and during winter time and pregnancy additonally mineral feed. The stallions are seperated from the mares and babys at the age of 1 1/2 years. They are producing 5 to 8 offspring per year in June/July. The babys are born only during the day and are not getting licked dry by their mothers. Therefor they are giving birth in June/July so that the babys dry quickly.
And since here everything is about yarn, we are now coming to the interesting points for us knitters....
The shearing is once a year in May. The hair naturally needs a certain lengths for the yarn production. A hair of an Alpaca has a diameter of 15 – 25 Microns, is hollowly inside and therefor has a good interchange of heat. ist innen hohl und hat deswegen so einen guten Wärmeaustauscheffekt. It is very light and antiallergic because it has no lanolin. Only the A-quality of the torso, belly and back is spun for yarn. The B-quality of neck and legs is used for blankets and head pillows.
And what about the colours? Well, I thought the baby of 2 brown Alpacas will be brown but it is not. You simply can´t plan it as it is genetic. But for example, if a black stallion has had always black offsprings in his long ancestor line the chance of having black babys is really high. Otherwise - surprise, surprise.
Why is Baby Alpaca Yarn more expensive was my question. It is not because it is softer. The hair are much longer which makes it easier for all the hay to stick in. So more extensive cleaning is needed and therefor it is much more expensive.
The Feicht Family breeds Alpacas for the sell of the animals themselves and selling of the yarn. They have a little shop where you can buy products such as clothing and bedding out of Alpaca yarn. The undied yarn they are selling is pure Alpaca yarn without any blending and cost about €15/100g. At the moment they yarn from Hercules and Nannerl. However, t it is not possible to buy the yarn online but only direct at the the littel farm shop South of Munich. It is worth a visit if you are around. I promise - you are getting hooked, too by these gentle Alpacas. More Info at the Oberland Alpaca Website (just in German).
Mystery Blanket 2017 - designed by Debbie Abrahams. Not sure if anybody of you knows something about the next project I´m going to have on my needle. Debbie designs one blanket a year and offers pattern and good quality Rowan wool (and beads if needed) in one kit. And to keep it as a mystery you don´t know how it will look like in the beginning. You are getting patterns for up to 5 squares per month. And if you are on track you finish with a nice blanket at the end of the year (beginning is in February). 49 squares are forming the blanket and a nice edging is finalizing it. It is so much fun and you are learning a lot of techniques such as cables, beading, fair isle, etc., etc. And everything is very well explained.
If you like to know more about Debbie´s Mystery Blankets jut click on her website. She´s doing the same with cushions - one of them you see on my first page.
By the way I´m a big fan and it is already my 5th. blanket. Mystery Blanket for 2017 is already sold out but I think there are some places left for the mystery cushion club!!
I saw them at the fair in Cologne and they are so cute!! The Elk Sven, the Zebra Pia (my favorite...), the uniform Luna are just some of the crocheted trophies, with what you can pimp up your life.
Jutta Westphal had this beautiful idea with the crocheted trophies and all are waiting for getting a new home – either you adopt them as adults or your grow them up and crochet them by yourself. You can find more information here in the stable of the crocheted trophies.
Heaven and Hell the same time – Heaven because of the big amount of offers of material, tools, colours, etc and hell due to the fact that you can´t buy anything.
358 exhibitors on one day is not a chicken feed. But with a little pre-selection it was a bit less for me as I was just interested in all around wool. All big players such as Lana Grossa, Lang Yarns, Knitpro, Addi have been represented as well as a lot of interesting international manufacturers who want to break into the German market. A firework for the eyes looking to autumn/winter season and a real comfort for the hands with Alpaca, Llama, Yak and Merino.
The attendance of 16.0000 decision makers and procurement managers are showing it: Crafts is still the trend and is getting more and more multifaceted, younger, emotional and networked.