National Alpaca Farm Days are back!

As we move from summer into fall, we are preparing for one of the biggest yearly farm events- National Alpaca Farm Days!

Join us the last weekend in September as alpaca farms across North America open their gates to the public.

  • Experience alpacas up-close
  • Feel the alpaca fleece
  • Tour the Farm
  • View live demonstrations
  • Learn about raising and breeding alpacas
  • Shop for alpaca products
  • Enjoy a fun filled day for the entire family

We will be open from 10 am -4 pm Saturday, September 28, and 10 am – 4 pm Sunday, September 29th. We will have tours at the top of every hour , starting at 11 am and going through 3 pm. There is no admission to this event, and appointments are not necessary. All of our regular farm rules will still apply (please see those HERE ), so please make sure you’ve checked them out before arriving.

We will have special things planned for our Farm VIPs, so keep your eyes out! If you are not a Farm VIP (and why aren’t you??), you can join our VIP group on Facebook HERE to get in on the discounts, special hours, and so much more!

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It’s so easy being GREEN

If you have followed us for any amount of time, you know GREEN is one of our farm’s “official” colors. It’s in our logo, and it is normally used in any thing we have our name on.

Why Green? Green echos our beloved mountains that surround the farm. Green reminds us of the soft green pastures our animals graze in. Green is the color of life on the farm. Green also reminds us of why we chose to raise alpacas in the first place- they are easy on the land, produce a renewable resource, and are a model of efficiency in their habits. Alpacas, for us, are the ultimate in “green” farming!

One of our goals in raising these animals was to positively impact our community, while having a minimal impact on the environment. This month we moved even farther toward that goal. As of August 9th, our farm is powered entirely by SOLAR energy. As long as the sun is out, we are producing clean, efficient power to run fans for the animals, light the barns, heat water in the winter, and so much more. We are able to store power for the evening, and we are feeding excess power back into the grid to help provide power to neighboring farms.

We’ve always said everyone on the farm has a job, and now we’ve put the sun to work as well. It really is that easy being green. What’s next? Who knows?

If you would like to see our green farm in action, schedule a visit with us HERE. If you would like more information on how we went solar, email us at rockingchairfarmalpacas@gmail.com, or give us a call at 865-548-7111, and we would be happy to give you more information.

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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!

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 # 8

This week’s feature Friday is a nod to the the holiday season

Alpaca fiber filled christmas ornaments

One of our top holiday sellers are our alpaca fiber ornaments.  Each ornament is completely unique and one of a kind.  The ornaments are filled with hand dyed alpaca fiber straight from our farm  This season we are offering round ornaments and Christmas bulb shaped ornaments, in a variety of colors.  Each ornament is $5.00 and a hanger is included.

Our ornaments make the perfect gift for secret santa, co workers, friends, teachers, and so many more!  You can purchase online, in our farm store, or at one of the vendor events we will be at this holiday season.

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

Feature Friday #7

Happy Friday,everyone!  Hopefully our US friends had a wonderful Thanksgiving, while our international friends are enjoying a peaceful Friday.

We are hosting our Annual Open Barn/Holiday Shop this entire weekend, so we’ve been out giving tours and hosting shoppers in the farm store.  While I was in the farm store I noticed one of our family’s favorite products, but until today  I never thought to showcase them because they aren’t made from alpaca. They were just so pretty with the Christmas lights reflecting in them and up against the pine walls of the store.

 

Our hand etched glassware features alpacas. We offer wine glasses in clear, and colored glass; beer steins ( with a pair of socks included for a ready made gift !) ; candle holders; and lighted glass bricks.  All are handmade right here on the farm.  Our selection is constantly changing and evolving and we are happy to do custom orders.  If you would like to purchase any of our glassware, please contact us via email for current availability and pricing, or stop by the farmstore.

Happy Friday y’all 💚

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

Feature Friday #6

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

Red Party Christmas Festive Facebook Event Cover (1)Ready_Made_Social_Post_Image_V1

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 # 5

We’ve showcased fiber, and we’ve showcased a few of our favorite products, so this week we are showcasing one of our newest products:

ADOPT AN ALPACA

Our newest product launched November 1st- just in time for the holidays.  If you’ve ever wanted an alpaca, but you don’t have the room or the time for a herd- you can adopt a member of our herd!  

There are three “adoption” levels that offer varying degrees of sponsorship. Your payment of support does not constitute ownership of the animal but entitles you to exclusive benefits.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

For all the details of our Adopt an Alpaca program, and to pick your “adoptee” click HERE

 

Categories: Alpaca, Feature Friday, Media, Pick TN, Products, Sale, Shop, Shop local, Shop Small | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Feature Friday #4

Friday is here, and with it another post in our Feature Friday series!  You can catch up with our previous posts HERE , HERE, and HERE .

Today we’ve chosen to highlight another of our personal favorite products, and one of the reasons we didn’t hesitate to make the jump into alpacas:  SOCKS!

If you were to ask any of us here on the farm what our #1 must have alpaca product would be ,I would be willing to bet you’d hear socks.

David and I bought our first pairs of alpaca socks from a fledgling alpaca farm over 16 years ago!  The price seemed high to us, but we wanted to help a local farmer out, so we each bought two $18.00 pairs of socks, and David grabbed a pair of glove liners.  Those socks were one of the best investments we’ve ever made!  David “retired” a pair of his socks about a year ago when they finally wore out in the heel.  He still wears the other pair on a regular basis.  I still have both of my pairs, but one is starting to look a little thin.  We didn’t care for them in any special way, we just threw them in the washer and dryer with our other laundry and went about our day.  The glove liners were in perfect condition right up until last year when David cut them while working on a fence.  Our $72.00 investment (not counting the glove liners) into what we thought were the most expensive socks we’ve ever owned, has turned out to be $4.50 a YEAR and counting.   Not too shabby for socks that have kept us comfortable and cozy for many a season.  We couldn’t believe a pair of  “luxury” socks could last that long, and actually do what we were told they would do.

Jump forward to today, and we are still amazed at our lowly little alpaca socks. They are cool in the summer, and warm in the winter.  They wick moisture away from the body better than any other socks I have owned.  They feel good on!   They don’t bunch up in my shoes and don’t rub my heel. Even after long days in hot weather they remain odor free.  They are durable, and easy to care for.  I still throw all of my socks in the washer and dryer.  No special care needed.    If you read our fiber facts post last week, you know all of this is due to the alpaca fiber itself.

I wear a pair daily, whether on the farm or in my “other” job.  My feet stay comfortable year round.  I have pairs that are great with my tennis shoes, muck boots, hiking boots, barn boots , dress socks, and just to lounge around the house in.  David has pairs specifically designated for hunting and fishing, and everyday wear.  Each one of the kids have a pair or two or twenty!

Our socks have come a long way since that fledgling alpaca farm sold us some!  We carry socks for every need and in multiple price ranges, colors, and styles.  We sell socks to runners, hikers, skiers, nurses, doctors, EMTs, office workers, construction workers, teachers, attorneys, and more!  They make an amazing gift for yourself or for someone special.  We’ve even had them featured in raffle prizes!

If you see us out and about, ask us about our socks!  If you’d like to grab your first pair, or you 50th pair, let us know and you can stop by the farm store.  If you’re not local, we’d be happy to send pictures of our stock and walk you through finding the right pair.

We proudly carry socks made in the US out of US alpaca fiber, but we also proudly carry socks made in Peru out of Peruvian fiber.  Socks aren’t one size fits all, and our supply shouldn’t be either.

Categories: Alpaca, Basics, Feature Friday, fiber, Media, Pick TN, Products, Shop, Shop local, Shop Small | Tags: , , , | 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.

Alpacas_colors_infographic-1-641x1024

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

Just in time for the holidays…

Exciting

 

We try to listen to what our friends tell us.  You asked us for online shopping, and we created an online store.  You asked for a farm store, so we built one.  You’ve asked us for classes, and we are working on bringing those to you.  The one thing you asked for that we had to wait to provide finally here!

Launching this November 2018, Rocking Chair Farm proudly presents our Adopt an Alpaca program!

Have you always wanted an alpaca, but you don’t have the time or land?  Do you know a special someone that is an alpaca fanatic?  Are you seeking a one of a kind, extra special gift for someone?  Our Adopt an Alpaca program is perfect for all of these and so much more!

To find out how you could adopt an alpaca, check out our Adopt an Alpaca page and our FAQs page.

 

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