Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Alpaca Festivals and Apple Picking

Even though this weekend didn't feel much like fall I spent it doing some very fall activities.  When we were driving home the other day I saw a sign that said alpaca on it. I was so excited that I had John turn around to see when it said. 

Evidently we have an alpaca farm less than 5 miles from my house!  According to the sign these alpacas have been on the Late Night with David Letterman too. I have no idea what that is all about, but I went to the Autumn Alpaca fest anyway.  
The farm is behind a golf course, which explains why I never noticed the alpacas.  There were a few vendors there selling fiber and fiber related items. There was yarn from the local alpacas and they had items made from alpacas in Peru.
I bought two needle felted pumpkins that were made by a lovely local fiber artist. She was needle felting while we talked!
Shepherd Hills Alpacas 
I then went to the next booth where I saw a table full of alpaca locks, and some fiber batts.  I met a wonderful woman named Deborah from Black Diamond Alpacas.  She was so friendly, and even invited me to her local knitting and spinning groups. I will definitely be joining them at a meet up soon. I told her how I have some alpaca fiber at home, but have been scared to spin it. It is so soft and pretty, I would hate to ruin it. She let me try some alpaca on her wheel
I am so used to my double treadle wheel that this was a real challenge for me. Once we lessened the tension I was able to get the wheel going and not have too much backspin.  Alpaca was not as hard as I thought it would be.  I learned that I need to add way more twist than I think that it  needs.  Evidently the fibers do not lock together like a wool fiber does, so you need that extra twist to make it stable.  She also recommended that I try an alpaca blend first. She had some lovely batts so I bought one for me, and one for Jess.
This is 60% alpaca from two different alpacas from Black Diamond Alpacas, Rhett and Romeo. I got to see pictures of them too! The other 40% is Rambouillet.  I am eager to spin it up.
The rest of the time on the farm I spent looking at the baby alpacas on the obstacle course
He did not want to go through the hoop, kept backing up, it was so funny

I love their faces so cute!
It looks like he is kissing the other one!
It was a lot of fun, and so exciting that the farm is so close to my house.  I was sorely tempted when I saw this
So tempted
But I went home with just my fiber and needle felted goodies.

Sunday we spent the morning in New Jersey apple picking!It was so nice that John had the day off and could go too! We picked Mutsu, Honey crisp, Macintosh, and Red Delicious apples. I have plans for apple bread and hopefully enough for some canned apple pie filling.  We had some yummy cider and apple cider donuts too.  

We had lunch at Hot Dog Johnny's. If you are near the Belvedere area of New Jersey, I highly recommend it. The hot dogs are cooked in peanut oil and are delicious. I am not a big hot dog fan and  I really like them.  We ate them on picnic blankets with some friends and their sweet little girl. It was a really fun afternoon. Have I mentioned how much I love fall? If only we could have these amazing falls and then just skip winter heh

1 comment:

  1. Both outings sound amazing! We are having cooler weather here so it is feeling a little more fall-ish but not enough because October first completely took me by surprise. I haven't seen any pumpkins yet! Maybe that will change when I go grocery shopping tomorrow. Happy fall to you and your new alpaca friends!