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.

 

Categories: Alpaca | Leave a comment

Feature Friday!

Welcome back to Feature Friday, where every week we will showcase a product made from alpaca, a fiber fact about alpaca, or a fun fact about the farm.

Today, we are showcasing another of our best sellers:

Hand-woven, alpaca scarves!

While these scarves don’t come from our herd, they DO come from some of the finest artisans in the world!  Each scarf is hand-woven in the highlands of Peru, and made from the finest alpaca fiber.

These scarves are perfect for all kinds of weather!  We use them in the summer months when we are indoors in a building that might be just a bit too cool for our liking, in the spring and fall when the outdoor weather has just a bit of a nip in the air, and in the winter when we need some stylish protection from the elements.  They are the perfect size, and can be worn around the shoulders as a mini wrap, around the neck as a traditional scarf, over the head for protection and warmth, or used as a stylish accent around the waist.

The scarves come in a multitude of colors and patterns that can be perfect for men or women, and our selection changes often.  We have even had a custom color and pattern created for us in honor of our local university, The University of Tennessee.  Our one of a kind, orange and white scarves are limited, so grab them while we’ve got them!

Each of our scarves is priced starting at $45.00 each.

To get a closer look at one of these beauties, come by one of the events we will be at OR set up a time to shop at the farm store!  If you’re not local but would still like to see the selection of beautiful scarves, we would be happy to email or text you pictures of what we currently have available.

Categories: Alpaca, Arts & Crafts, Feature Friday, Pick TN, Products, Shop, Shop local, Shop Small, weaving | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Feature Friday!

One of the things we learned during this year’s National Alpaca Farm Days, is that as an industry, we haven’t done a great job at highlighting WHY alpaca fiber is so wonderful, and what uses there are for it.  To remedy this, we’ve decided to start Feature Friday!

Every Friday, we will feature either a product or a fiber fact to showcase how versatile alpaca is and just what we do with all that fiber!

Today we are kicking off with one of our top selling , but also one of our most overlooked products:

Dryer Balls 1

While they may not look like much, we’ve had customers tell us these are “life changing”!

What are they? Alpaca Dryer Balls!  These lowly little items are cost effective, efficient, sustainable, renewable,  all natural, and best of all, they WORK!

One package of 100% alpaca dryer balls:

  • Reduce drying time by absorbing the moisture from your laundry
  • Provide a natural alternative to chemical filled dryer sheet or fabric softener
  • 100% Alpaca – hard felted and hand made
  • Great for sensitive skin/babies
  • Reduces wrinkles, static, and helps collect lint
  • Can add 4-5 drops of essential oils for scent. Oils last approx. 4 loads

Alpaca dryer balls can also save wear and tear on your dryer and clothing!  Conventional dryer sheets deposit a quaternary ammonium salt or a silicone oil based fabric softener. The heat of the dryer softens the fabric softener and allows the coating to transfer to fabrics. It is this coating that makes clothes feel softer to the touch.  This coating can reduce the moisture absorbing ability of cotton or micofiber towels, and the moisture wicking ability of athletic wear.

Just as the dryer sheets leave a residue on your clothing that makes the fabric feel softer, they also leave residue in your dryer. Their residue may cause the screen of the lint filter to become partially clogged or the electronic moisture sensor to be coated with residue and  reduce air circulation. Good circulation is essential to getting clothes dried properly and helping to prevent overheating,  which can lead to fires.

Alpaca dryer balls are easy to use!

No need to remove, just re use again and again.

Fiber is Forever!  Dryer balls can last years!

Washable, just add to wash load, then dry (recommended for first use)

Naturally dry along with laundry

These are just a few of the reasons we love our alpaca dryer balls!  Want more information on our dryer balls?  Want to purchase a set for your self or as a gift?  Send us an email at rockingchairfarmalpacas@gmail.com or come by the farm store!  We’d be happy to help you decide!

 

 

 

Categories: Alpaca, Arts & Crafts, Basics, Feature Friday, Pick TN, Products, Sale, Shop | 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

Review Us!

Friends, we have just been listed on Trip Advisor, and we need your help!

If you have been gracious enough in the past to share a review of our farm, would you consider sharing a review again on our latest venture?  If you have never reviewed our farm, would you?

You can add a review several ways:

    1. Stop by our FaceBook page HERE and click on the link on the left that says Trip Advisor Reviews
    2. follow this link to Trip Advisor and leave a review directly on their page Trip Advisor

Each one of here on the farm thanks you for your help and support

Categories: Alpaca | 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

Welcome, Victory!

We’ve been a bit lax updating the website, hopefully you can forgive us when you see one of the reasons why!

Late this spring, SBS Crown Prince Friedel and GLR Pomona welcomed a bouncing baby boy, Crown Prince Friedel’s Victory (Vic to his friends).  Vic is a stunning white suri cria that is the spitting image of his sire.  His luster is evident in every picture, but photographs just can’t do him justice.

The entire crew here on the farm are completely enamored with our newest addition, and we have high hope for this little one.

For your viewing pleasure, we give you Victory!

 

Categories: Alpaca | Leave a comment

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