As my husband travels on business a lot, we have got into the habit of trying to find something fun to do on Saturdays leaving our Sundays free for church and relaxation. Yesterday while reading the paper a large ad for the annual TXOLAN show caught my eye and I told my husband I wanted to go to an alpaca show on Saturday afternoon. As we had gone to a fiber expo in Ann Arbor which he hadn't found too tiresome and he loved his hand knit alpaca sweater, he agreed.
The show wasn't anything like the fiber expo. At the expo, there were just a few alpacas and plenty of fiber vendors with lovely luscious skeins of all types of fiber to fondle and buy. At the alpaca show, there were rows after rows of alpacas to look at and just a a handful of skeins for sale on the tables of the breeder pens. Yes, sadly only a handful! I counted them and there were only 23 skeins for sale in the entire building and not enough of any one weight or color to make me do a happy dance and rejoice in my good fortune. There is definitely something to be said about the instant gratification of buying the yarn and immediately casting on versus buying the actual alpaca, shearing, processing the fleece, carding, spinning, and finally knitting the intended project.
Now, don't get me wrong and think I didn't have a wonderful time. I love animals (especially the fiber variety) and these alpacas were some of the gentlest and cutest I had ever seen. I kept going from pen to pen, up one row and down another; ooohing and aahhing, clicking my camera, and letting them snuff my hand. My husband quickly tired of my "oh look at this one" and retreated many times outside with a quick "be back in a minute" or "I'll catch you in the next row"; however, he did make an effort to scout for yarn and showed off his sweater to one of the breeders. I love that he loves his sweater!
I learned more about alpacas than I had ever known before. There were huacaya and suri alpacas in various shades of cream, brown, gray, and black. The huacayas were soft and silky and looked fluffy. The suris were the breed with the fleece that looked liked they were wearing dreadlocks. I think I like the fluffy huacayas better but perhaps that's because they were the ones that let me pet their foreheads and feel how wonderful their fleece feels while it's still being worn by its owner.
What else did I learn? That alpacas don't need a lot of land. Hmmmm. I wonder if my neighbors would notice one in my backyard? Perhaps I could tell them it was a rare South American dog!