yarn

Feature Friday #9

We’ve been so busy here on the farm, that Feature Friday slipped right by us, so we’re extending it to Saturday!   Our feature this week is one of our cornerstone products.  Each animal here on the farm contributes fiber to our products, and we try to honor that contribution by showcasing that particular animal in their YARN!  Although it isn’t always the easiest, or most cost efficient way to have yarn produced, we choose to process most of our fiber by animal.  There is nothing like having a customer purchase a skein of yarn from their favorite animal, and then come back with their finished product to take a picture with that animal!  If you purchase a handmade item from our store, you know the story of the animal behind it, and chances are you’ve met that animal during your visit.  Each one of these items are truly one of a kind, and it all starts with the yarn.

 

We offer our yarn in 200 yard hanks of DK/Sport weight and a few in fingering weight, in both Suri and Huacaya.  We offer yarn in an array of natural colors, as well as exclusive, indie dyed semi solids, tonals, and colorways.  Our dyed yarn is for sale only on a limited basis, and in small runs, so if you see one you love grab it while it is in stock!

Great handmade items start with great yarn, great yarn comes from great fiber, and great fiber comes from happy, healthy, fabulous animals.  We are proud to be home to a herd that embodies that idea.  Stop by and pick up a skein ( or two or twelve!) of our yarn produced right here in Tennessee; meet the animal who created that gorgeous, squishy goodness, and take home a bit of alpaca magic for your self!

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Categories: Alpaca, Arts & Crafts, Basics, Crochet, Feature Friday, fiber, Knitting, Media, Pick TN, Products, Shop, Shop local, Shop Small, weaving, yarn | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Feature Friday #6

Feature Friday this week will showcase an annual event here on the farm.

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Each year ,we open our gates the weekend following Thanksgiving.  We are happy to host our Annual Open Barn/Holiday Shop November 23-25th from 11 am- 4 pm each day.  The farm store will be open for holiday shopping, and the barn will be open to meet the alpacas!

Make plans to come by, visit with the alpacas, and get your holiday shopping done!

Categories: Alpaca, Arts & Crafts, Crochet, Feature Friday, fiber, Knitting, Media, Pick TN, Products, Sale, Shop, Shop local, Shop Small, weaving, yarn | Leave a comment

Feature Friday!

This week it is all about the FIBER!  

If you have ever visited us on the farm, in our store, or at an event, you know we love to talk fiber, so in this Feature Friday let’s talk about the star of the show: Alpaca Fiber.

We hear it all the time and at every event- “What’s so great about alpaca fiber?”  Sometimes you might hear us answer, “what’s NOT great about alpaca fiber?”

Alpaca fiber has been called “The Fiber of the Gods”, as it was traditionally reserved for wear by royalty only in the Inca culture. It is soft, luxurious and sustainable; truly a fiber fit for a king.

In all truth, alpaca fiber has some amazing qualities.  Let’s break those down.

Warmth:

Alpaca fiber is warm! According to Yocum-McCall:

“In the Yocum-McCall Testing Laboratories, alpaca was shown to be three times warmer than sheep’s wool. Why? One reason is that alpaca is more heavily medullated: in other words, there are tiny hollow areas in the centers of many individual alpaca fibers. These areas hold the warmth and, in addition, make alpaca lighter in weight than other animal fibers. Another study showed that if worn in a 0 degree F environment, alpaca would give a 50 degree F comfort range. Sheep’s wool would provide a 30 degree F comfort range in the same environment.”

 

Strong:

Fiber strength is defined in two ways

  • Tensile strength: the resistance of a material to breaking under tension (force is applied parallel to fabric – Think holes in suits due to pressure being applied parallel to the fabric)
    • The tensile strength of alpaca is equal to 50 N/ktex  In comparison, the tensile strength of sheep’s wool is 35-40 N/ktex
  • Shear strength : the ability of a material to resist external load against failure (force is applied perpendicular to fabric -Think holes in socks, due to repeated pressure applied perpendicular to the fabric)

Alpaca fiber excels in both areas! Which leads us to our next category.

Durable:

Alpaca is extremely durable and low pilling.  Alpaca is able to meet 15,000 cycles of abrasion, which meets upholstery standard.

Durable fabric lasts longer!  Alpaca fiber will hold up to repeated wearing better, and still look great.

Water Resistant:

One of the greatest characteristics of alpaca is its ability to be naturally water resistant, no special treatments required!  The alpaca fiber is also excellent at wicking moisture, with a water retention rate of 8% vs. most other wool at 16%-20%.

Wool is more likely to become heavy and saturated when wet, as it can absorb up to 35-50% of its weight in liquid.  After this saturation occurs, which can lead to increased discomfort, odor, and the likely hood of blisters.

According to the Gaston Fiber College, alpaca wicks, but does not absorb.  That makes alpaca more comfortable in ALL seasons.  Warmer in the winter, and cooler in the summer.  It also makes alpaca fiber naturally odor resistant.

Water resistance also leads to STAIN resistance!  Alpaca fiber is less likely to stain because of the unique qualities of the fiber itself.

Fire Retardant:

Yep.  You read that right.  Alpaca is naturally fiber retardant, meeting the standards of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s rigid testing specifications as a Class 1 fiber for use in clothing and furnishings. (Class 1 is the safest level for flame resistance.) Alpaca self extinguishes, and will not melt or stick to skin during a fire.

 Colors:

Alpaca comes in a wide range of natural colors, more than another other fiber animal out there  In the US, there are 16 officially recognized colors (white; beige; and  3 shades of fawn , 3 of brown,  2 of black, and 6 of grey) and a multitude of shades in between.

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If you would like a color not found naturally, alpaca readily accepts dye without losing the luster and brightness it is known for.

Low Allergenic:

  • Alpaca is naturally lanolin free.
    • Some people who where believed to be allergic to wools were allergic to lanolin.  Others have been found allergic to the chemicals used to remove lanolin from the wool, and not the wool or lanolin itself.
  • The “prickle factor,” where thick and/or hollow fibers of around 30 microns can prick the skin, causing rashes, discomfort, and other reactions, thereby making some wools very uncomfortable to wear.
    •   Some people who were believed to be allergic to lanolin, were instead reacting to the “prickle factor.”

Although some people who feel they cannot wear wool find that they can wear alpaca comfortably, there is not enough evidence to substantiate a claim that alpaca is hypoallergenic.  Alpaca is low-allergenic.

 

Now that you have the low down on some of  what makes alpaca fiber so great, make plans to visit us to see the fiber in person!  We’d be happy to show you how we go from barn to yarn, and everything in between.

 

 

 

Categories: Alpaca, Arts & Crafts, Basics, Feature Friday, fiber, Pick TN, Products, Sale, Shop, Shop local, Shop Small, yarn | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Onward and Upward!

National Alpaca Farm Days was a roaring success thanks to all of our farm friends who chose to come and spend some time visiting with the herd.

 

Every year gets just better, and this year was no different.  This year we were honored to have Jennifer and John Troyer demonstrating their fiber arts skills on the front porch of the brand new farm store.  Jennifer kindly demonstrated hand spinning for us both days, while John showed off his needle felting skills.  They also brought some of their completed fiber arts projects to showcase their work.  Jennifer also brought another of her passions with her to share with our guests.  Much to everyone’s delight, we were witness to the hatching and release of two Monarch butterflies!  Jennifer is passionate about conservation of our butterfly friends.  Each year she raises hundreds of caterpillars and tends them until they are ready to release as adult butterflies.  Her knowledge of these farm friends, and the passion with which she cares for them was a truly delightful addition to this year’s event!

We were pleased to open our onsite farm store for the very first time during National Alpaca Farm Days.  Our guests got a first look at some of the alpaca products we make and carry here at Rocking Chair Farm.  We are finish up some of the final touches to the farm store, so keep watching for updates!

If any of our friends would like to share pictures of their visit during National Alpaca Farm Days, please feel free to do so!  You can find us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rockingchairfarm   and tag us in those pictures @rockingchairfarm , or you can email them to us  rockingchairfarmalpacas@gmail.com, and we will post them to the website!

Where can you find us next?

Rocking Chair Farm is proud to participate in:

The 2018 Great Llama Race  Saturday, October 6th from 11-4.  Look for our tent and stop by and say hi!

The Fall Craft Fair at The Winery at Seven Springs Farm  Saturday, October 20th from 12-5 pm.  Start your holiday shopping early, while you sip wine at The Best Winery in East Tennessee, according to Tennessee Magazine

The 2nd Annual Holiday Bazaar and Craft Fair at The Venue at Lenoir City , Saturday October 27th from 10-2.  Join us for the official kick off of the holiday season!

 

Categories: Alpaca, Arts & Crafts, Crochet, Knitting, Media, Pick TN, Shop, yarn | Leave a comment

NATIONAL ALPACA FARM DAYS ARE COMING!

 

 

Once again, the crew here at Rocking Chair Farm will celebrate National Alpaca Farm Days, September 29-30 from 11 am -4 pm.

What are National Alpaca Farm Days, you ask?  The last weekend of September, alpaca farms across North America open their gates to the public!  During your visit with us you can

  • Experience  alpacas up close!
  • Tour the farm
  • Feel alpaca fleece
  • View live demonstrations
  • Learn about raising and breeding alpacas
  • Shop for alpaca products

 

This year we will have live demonstrations of spinning, felting, and other fiber arts throughout the weekend.

We will have tours beginning at the top of every hour beginning at 11 am  with the last tour beginning at 3 pm.

There is no charge for entry, but we do ask a few things:

  1.  NO outside food or drink
  2. NO outside animals allowed
  3. Closed toe shoes are required.

If you aren’t in our area and would like to experience National Alpaca Farm days , please FIND A FARM near you.

If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to contact us.  We welcome your questions regarding our policies, and look forward to seeing new faces and greeting old friends.

 

Categories: Alpaca, AOA, Arts & Crafts, Media, Pick TN, Shop, yarn | Leave a comment

2018 Natural Fiber Extravaganza

Rocking Chair Farm just returned from the 2018 Natural Fiber Extravaganza powered by AOA, held in Lebanon,TN. Check it out HERE! To say we are excited would be the understatement of the year!  Three days of classes, workshops and seminars, the AOA National Fleece Show, National Spin Off,  a Student Design Contest, a phenomenal Fiber Arts show, photo contest, a fiber artist marketplace, etc!  WOW!!!

The AOA (Alpaca Owners Association) and all the sponsors, vendors, speakers and participants worked together to make this a show for the history books.  We were able to see some truly fabulous fleece entries from farms that are redefining just how great alpaca fiber can be, we met new friends, got to catch up with longtime friends and colleagues,  and met in person several “online” friends that have been invaluable to us.

We’ve come away from this show with a renewed passion for the alpaca industry, some great ideas, and some new directions for our farm!

We are also pleased to announce a few wins for our farm!  In the National Spin Off, both Charlemagne’s Rebellion (REBEL), and Legend’s Faber came away with first place in their respective divisions.  In the photo contest, Farmer David won a third place ribbon with his photo of Victory (Vic) and an honorable mention for his close up of Faber.

Our host hotel, Holiday Inn Express and Suites, Lebanon Check them out HERE were gracious and hospitable , and made our stay a joy.

Wilson County Exposition Center also did a tremendous job hosting the event, providing plenty of parking, clean and modern facilities, and a gracious staff.

The Natural Fiber Extravaganza is already gearing up to be held next year, at the same event center.  Make plans to attend NOW!!

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Categories: Alpaca, AOA, Arts & Crafts, Media, Pick TN, Shop, Show, yarn | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and love is in the air!  We love what we do, and we love our customers!  To celebrate we are offering a special discount for all of our customers through Feb 14th.  Shop online HERE and use the code: BEMINE for 14% off your order.  You can also shop here on the farm if you would like, just call to schedule an appointment.

If you are still looking for a unique gift for that extra special someone, choose alpaca!

Categories: Alpaca, Arts & Crafts, Crochet, Knitting, Media, Pick TN, Sale, Shop, yarn | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Holiday Happenings

Hello all!

Faber’s birthday bash was a resounding success!  Our little guy enjoyed all of his friends and fans stopping by to see him and wishing him well.  It was a cold and blustery day, but the critters didn’t seem to mind.  They were all very pleased with the extra treats that Faber’s big day supplied for everyone!

We have finished our last open barn for this year, but we will be open for last minute holiday gifts.  If you find yourself in need of some of our cuddly alpaca yarn, give us a call, text, email or send us a message on social media and we will do our best to help you get what you need.  If you would like alpaca goodness shipped to a special person and are out of state or unable to come by the farm, we would be happy to help in that respect as well.

In other news, the flock has been enjoying the wet weather we are finally receiving.  They spend most of their day out in the fields pecking at worms and bugs that have sprung to life with the rain.  All of the hens are now laying and we receive between 5-7 eggs /day in an assortment of colors.  Henry, the rooster, keeps busy watching over his girls and finding yummy treats for his favorite hens.  He has decided Farmer David is lots of fun, and asks to be carried around and hugged often.

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The alpacas are also enjoying the cooler weather and rain.  They spend most of the day in the barn and the evenings enjoying the fields.  They are all getting ready for the holidays and the new year when we will open the barn back up for more visitors.  They are also working a a very special treat for their fans, that we will introduce soon!

Until then,

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Categories: Alpaca, Arts & Crafts, Basics, Chickens, Crochet, Knitting, Media, Pick TN, Shop, yarn | Leave a comment

National Alpaca Farm Days!

Rocking Chair Farm will be participating again in 2016!  Come visit the farm Saturday, September 24th from 10-6 or on Sunday, September 25th from 12-5.  Our critters all love visitors, and they are hoping to meet some of their followers.  We will have extra treats on hand, and they have seen us bring them into the barn…

Check out the video below, then make plans to come and visit the farm.

Why visit for Farm Days?

Categories: Alpaca, Arts & Crafts, Basics, Pick TN, Shop, yarn | Leave a comment

Pick TN Products and some Publicity!

Rocking Chair Farm is pleased to announce we have been selected to participate in the TN Department of Agriculture’s Pick Tennessee Products. The Mission of Pick TN Products is “to maximize economic opportunities for Tennessee farmers and agribusinesses through innovative and effective marketing and promotional services.” Its aim is to increase farm income. We support our local farmers and encourage others to do the same.  Look for the following logo to assure you are supporting Tennessee’s farmers.

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You can check out our official listing HERE .  While you are there, be sure to check out some of the other fine TN farms.

In other BIG news, Rocking Chair Farm was recently featured in one of our local papers.  The Union County Shopper News stopped by and visited with the herd and the good shepherds.  Reporter Seth Norris, did a fantastic job featuring our little slice of heaven.  You can check out the featured edition HERE .  You’ll find us in the community section on page 3, but feel free to browse around and see what our area has to offer.

To say we’ve been a bit busy here is a slight understatement, but we wouldn’t have it any other way.  We have more news to share, but that may have to wait for another day.

Categories: Alpaca, Arts & Crafts, Crochet, Knitting, Media, Pick TN, Shop, yarn | Leave a comment

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