Posts Tagged With: yarn

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.

 

 

 

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

Where has all the time gone?

Where has all the time gone?  It is rapidly changing from summer into fall here on the farm.  Little Rebel is growing into a handsome teenage alpaca, we have added to our security team, the flock has grown and changed and the leaves are changing while nights get cooler and the days get shorter.

We just celebrated National Alpaca Farm Days and had a record turnout for our farm.  One of our local television affiliates stopped by to visit with us and film the herd.  Check out the clip HERE

We have also increased our security team by two.  We are happy to welcome Colby and Casey , a pair of Great Pyrenees females, to Sneaky Dog Protection Service!  Mason is enjoying having help with the job of protecting all things great and small, and the girls are doing a wonderful job.

Rebel is growing up and becoming even more handsome.  He is the spitting image of his sire, Charlemagne, with the personality of his dam, Jillian.  It is such a treat to watch the little ones grow into their place in the herd.  Rebel has decided he is just a mini llama and chooses to spend most of his time with his favorite auntie, Madison, and his second momma, Maggie.  He has picked up their steady and easy going manner, along with the unflappable nature of  the llamas.  Nothing bothers them, so nothing bothers him.

The flock has increased its numbers as well!  This summer we added several chicks to the current flock.  We added some beautiful olive eggers (hopefully) hatched from our own flock, along with a handful of D’uccle chicks from a dear friend’s flock.  The chicks are in a grow out pen right now and learning about free ranging from the hens, all under the protective watch of Mason.

In additon to the chicks, we’ve added guinea fowl to our growing list of critters that call the farm home.  The guineas are a souce of constant amusement to us, and intrigue the alpacas and llamas.  They spend the day patrolling the property and eating as many bugs as they can hold.  Each day they become a bit more confident in their new enviroment and wander just a bit farther in the fields.

We have also been super busy with new alpaca products!  We’ve added scarves, bucket hats, leggings and so much more!  We are trying to load everything on to our online shop, but the fairs and festivals have slowed us down a bit!  If you want a certain item that you see posted either on our social media or here on the webpage, send us a message and we will either get it to you or we can let you know what we have in stock that you may like! Here’s just a sample of some of the goodies we have in our farm store:

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As always, thank you for sharing our journey with us and allowing us into your lives.  We truly appreciate your patronage and support.

It has been so long since we’ve posted anything to the webpage!  Our social media followers know we post regularly to Facebook and Instagram, but we have neglected our web followers.  It was purely unintentional, and we promise to do better in the future!

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

The final countdown…

The folks and the critters here at the farm have all been busy, busy, busy!  Farmer David has been cleaning up fence rows, fields and the barn, the alpacas have been busily munching down their fields, the chickens have been on bug patrol, Ross, the barn kitty, is keeping varmints away and Mason, the Wonder Dog, is in charge of security.  Momma Christine has been experimenting with handmade soaps, organizing the medical supplies and heading up the media.  We are a little crew, but we do mighty things!

All of this is happening so we can welcome folks to our little slice of heaven this weekend for National Alpaca Farm Days, and we are in the final countdown (do you hear the music??  Is it stuck in your brain yet?  You can thank me for that this weekend).

We will open our gates and our barn doors to the public, no appointment necessary, on Saturday, Sept 24th from 10 am to 6 pm and again on Sunday, Sept. 25th from Noon until 5 pm.  We will have yarn from our animals on hand, raw fiber from this years clip, and  be taking pre orders on alpaca socks, felted soaps, scarves, gloves, etc for the Christmas holidays.  We will be giving tours through the fields at the top of every hour, and if you would like to bring a chair and  knitting, crochet, weaving, spinning gear, reading, etc we will have a spot for you to sit with the herd while you craft and relax.

We look forward to seeing our old friends and meeting our online and new friends.  See you this weekend!

**Please remember we are a working farm so we have dirt, dust, bugs and more! We recommend closed toe shoes if you wish to enter the fields.  We do not have restroom facilities (unless you’re an alpaca).**

Categories: Alpaca, Arts & Crafts, Basics, Chickens, Media, Pick TN | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring and Shearing

Spring has been in full force here for a while but this past week we have been experiencing a Blackberry Winter.  Temps have been much cooler, we’ve had some rain and wind but it has been generally beautiful.

The herd loves the cooler temperatures, and I often find them sunbathing for extended periods during the day.  Nothing like soaking up some Vitamin D on a beautiful day! Continue reading

Categories: Alpaca, Basics | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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