Total Pageviews

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Kissing Cousins

Just tried to put a little video of Bailey and Babycham on here, but it was taking far too long to load.  You can view it here instead if you want Facebook

They were quite playful today, and much more confident of me being in the field. Thankfully, so are their Mums!  Bailey is becoming very inquisitive and I think is getting used to me.  He's also learning to be naughty - he was really annoying Aunty Hope by jumping up and trying to wrap his neck around hers.  At the moment she's being quite tolerant and just pushing him away, but if he's not careful she's going to start spitting!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Baby Has a Name

Well, I drew up a shortlist of names and gradually went through crossing off the ones I really wasn't sure about.  The last two names on the list were Bailey and Barley and, because Barley was a little bit in the ilk of Daisy, which is more suited to a cow, I decided on Bailey.  I really think it suits him too!

So, Bailey on the left, and his playmate Babycham on the right.

Friday, 22 August 2014

The Long Wait is Over

Welcome to the world at last.  It's been a long wait since my alpaca Impala died last September, but finally my new baby was born yesterday morning around 11:30-midday.  I raced down the hill to my neighbours' farm as soon as I got the phone call to say he'd arrived, just in time to see him stand up for the first time.

Here he is at just half an hour old, being watched over carefully by Mum, Cerise.

Those long legs take a bit of co-ordinating when you've never used them before.  The trick is, get the back ones up first, then try the front ones without falling over!

Ha!  Made it!!

First wobbly steps!

Getting the hang of it now.  He's actually still damp here from being born.  I find it quite amazing that they learn to stand and walk so quickly after being born.  The whole process only took about an hour.

We went back yesterday evening to see how he was getting on and look at the difference:-

He's dried off and fluffed up and looks so much steadier on his feet.  He's even started to trot around a bit (shaky, but at least he's not falling over now).

So, the next question is, what's his name?  Well, I picked out names more than 11 months ago.  If he was white he was going to be called Bailey (Bailey's Irish Cream); if he was fawn he would be called Barley; if he was black he'd be called Bruno, and if he was brown he'd be Rob's (I don't do brown)!!  Now he's actually here, I'm not sure he looks like a Barley so I have to start thinking again.  I've had lots of suggestions on Facebook, so far none suitable to say the least!  Ah well, off to the worldwide web again to look at boy's names!

Just a spooky little comparison, I dug out some of the last photos I took of Impala before he died.  I couldn't believe how similar the two look :-

New baby
I've since found out that they are related.  I think Impala's father is my new baby's grandfather, so that explains the family resemblance.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014


See what happens when we go away for 4 or 5 days?  A baby alpaca arrives at our neighbours' farm and I miss all the excitement!

We left here on Thursday morning bound for Switzerland.  Eric's niece was getting married on the Friday and then we had a few more days of celebrating before coming home on Monday.  But that's the subject of another post - this one's about alpacas!

Here she is (yes, it's a girl so I'll have to wait a bit longer for my boy) :-

Isn't she a cutie?  She was born on Saturday morning, 9th August.  She's a light fawn colour, not many shades darker than white.

She hasn't quite got used to those long legs yet!

Now all she needs is a playmate!  Oh, and a name.  Hope Tammy and Rob don't take two weeks again to name her.  This year's babies will all begin with a B, and they've had lots of suggestions so far, from Backpacka (!) to Bijou to Blondie and beyond.  Brigitte Bardot maybe?  Bria the Cria?  Well, there's quite a list so we'll just have to wait and see what they decide.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

TdF Finale

This year's Tour de Fleece ended last Sunday, and already I'm looking forward to next year's.  It's a time when we can challenge ourselves and try new things - things we wouldn't normally have time for.

The last little challenge I set myself was to try and perfect coreless core spinning.  Same principle as core spinning, but without a pre-spun core.  I still had some of the baby alpaca left that I dyed for the first attempt at core spinning, so I added a bit of lichen-dyed merino and carded it into batts ready for spinning.

There's a bit of sparkle in there too.

I started off a bit shaky, but soon found I actually like this method better than ordinary core spinning.

So, how do you core spin without a core?  Easy - create the core as you spin.  You just separate a small portion of your fleece and let some spin enter before wrapping the rest of the fleece around it.  Simples!!  Well, it took a bit of getting used to.  It's actually not as easy as people make it look on youtube videos.

By this point, I'd improved quite a lot.  The trick is not to put too much twist in the fibre - just enough to hold it together.  The finished yarn was still a bit twisty and energetic, but a whole lot better than the core spun.  Think this will be my favourite method in the future . . . and there will be more of this, I really want to get it right so need more practice.

Core spinning and coreless core spinning usually come under the umbrella of "art yarn" - don't think I'm quite there yet though, mine's more "scribble" than "art"!!