So can you tell that obviously I've been pretty busy lately? Sorry that I haven't updated anything in over a year but right after the last blog post in June of 2012 is when things really began to pick up. So where to begin...
So last summer, my business partner Roo of Moonwood Farm & I formed Alpaca Fiber Solutions Inc We were getting so many requests for teaching dyeing and carding classes, and we were helping each other so much that it made more sense to do it all under one umbrella. That's when the fun began. We started booking class dates with different alpaca shows & farms left and right. We were on the road almost non stop from August of last year though till now. We have been teaching dyeing, carding, spinning and weaving to tons of alpaca owners and enthusiasts across the eastern side of the United States. We have gotten to meet lots of fun people and share our true passion for fiber with lots of folks. Currently as of August of 2013, we are booking dates into June of 2014, so business is good. This year we have been on the road 3 out of 4 weekends of most months. It has led to lots of long drives, and new opportunities.
So going onto those new opportunities, Alpaca Fiber Solutions now has a herd of alpacas that are boarding at Spotted Circus now also. Roo & I co-own all of these animals together, and have been given some amazing opportunities to get some awesome animals. We did manage to buy a female at auction in January of this year at the Priority Auction in Las Vegas. It was probably funny to watch us, because we didn't decide to bid til she was up and selling, and we were sitting there trying to figure out how much was in our accounts to see if we could afford the down payment. We shocked a few people when we bought her, most of all ourselves, but she was too amazing of animal to pass up. The current total of animals are, Spottedcircus 3male alpacas, 1 male llama, 2 female llamas, and 2 bred female alpacas. Alpaca Fiber Solutions has: 3 male alpacas, and 2 bred female alpacas. One of Alpaca Fiber Solutions males is MAM Peruvian Captain America. He is a stunning Snowmass lineage boy that we have started breeding with and is standing at stud at our farm.
It has been a busy but fun year of fiber. With me losing my job in March of this year, I'm now doing fiber related things full time. Its a little tight financially right now, but its something I truly love to do, and will hopefully start to bring in more money as the business gets established.
So onto photos of all the new critters :)
New Spotted Circus Animals!!
So over the past year, Trooper & Thunder have gone to live in Alabama at a nice farm to be fiber males. With all the new boys and girls coming in, unfortunately you can't keep everyone. Our littlest alpaca Acrobat still hasn't grown. He's up to 47 Pounds so far and he took a 6th place ribbon at a fleece show this year. Had the judges realized that 2 pounds of fleece came off that tiny body he surely would have won.
Our first new girls, are 2 beautiful female llamas that when they mature will be bred to Mr Speckles. Maggie Mae is an adorable little rose grey & white Suri llama, and Dreams is a grey and white Silky llama. They are both sweet and inquisitive like Mr Speckles, and their fiber is gorgeous.
Next up we have MFI To Order. During our 3 day Raw to Shawl retreat that we ran at Magical Farms this past June, there was a special weekend only sale on some females. I just kind of glanced at them and saw they all looked nice, but curiosity bugged me a bit. So I looked on ARI at each animals past to see what they had produced. To Order's name sounded familiar but when I saw who she had produced I knew I had to have her. When Tripp confirmed that that was who she was and that this years cria was also in their auction, it was a no brain deal for me. So To Order is now ours. She has been bred to the famous Dom Timbo which is a repeat of her two previous GREY FEMALE crias that have both been of the quality to go in Magical's own Breeder's Choice auction. One is this years lot # 41 MFI Order UP. Her first cria, that I called Panda face, aka MFI Timbo's Order Filled sold for over 13,000. So I cannot wait for next years cria that will be all ours! Here are some photos of To Order & her two crias..AMAZING!
So the Alpaca Fiber Solutions herd, now includes 1 herdsire, 2 fiber males, and 2 females. Our herdsire is MAM Peruvian Captain America. He is a stunning white male out of Snowmass DeBeers. He is a big macho male that packs a ton of fleece onto his frame. He has bred 5 females and we have 3 confirmed spitting off so watch for his first cria in June of next year. They will be some pretty amazing animals!
Our two fiber males are CCAP Gold Medal Rumm and My Peruvian Scheddi. Both are fawn boys, and both are the sweetest things. Scheddi loves to give kisses and Rumster loves to eat treats and then your fingers :) Can you tell from the photos we like fawns and browns!
And finally the Ladies... First off we have Luna Sky's Moon Bounce. Moon Bounce is a gorgeous fawn and white girl that we just couldn't say no to. She recently bred with MFI Reality Check and we can't wait to see her cria next year. We also managed to pick up while teaching off of Magical Farms (a dangerous thing for our pasture we have discovered), AHA Sheba. Sheba is a 13 year old maroon female. She is known for being a great mother, and we instantly bred her to Captain America because hey we want one of his cria also :) You have to smile when you see her luscious top knot, it gives her a very distinct look :)
So long time since a blog update. Lots of happened in the last couple of months. We had a lot of people show up for shearing day. A good 30 people showed up to learn more about the alpacas, and meet Mr Speckles. Mr Speckles got lots of treats.
Then we went on to the Kentucky Sheep & Fiber festival and MIddle TN fiber festival the next weekend. We set up wtih Roo of Moonwood Farm. We met lots of great people & had lots of fun camping out at Kentucky & hanging with Jaycee Boggs at the TN fiber festival.
And finally I helped to set up a reunion workshop at Magical farms with Roo to teach returning students different techniques for dyeing. While we were there, we saw our little boy Acrobat that is very small. He is very small sized so we will probaly use him as a PR animal for people to be able to get up close and personal with an alpaca. He will probaly always look like a cria becuase of his small size.
So because he is so shrimpy, we traded his mom in for a different female. So we want to introduce MFI &TNT Windy Skies. She is due in November with a cria by Silver Bugatti. So we are really excited to see what she can do for us. We really want to thank Tripp of Magical Farms for helping us out so much with advancing our breeding program.
And finally Tripp showed us some up and coming fleeces that were unique. The brightness and consitency of these fleeces was so amazing becuase they literally glowed from the inside. Tripp had lots of really unique fleeces to look at . It was as usual lots of fun at Magical & everyone is really great. I highly recommend visiting Magical they really have some amazing animals and are a great group to work with.
Shearing day will be taking place April 28, 2012 around 10am. Roo of Moonwood Farm will be coming up to show us how its done. Most of the boys will be getting sheared this day except for Bill & Acrobat since they are going to be going to a few shows in May. Our farm store will be open on shearing day and there will be a build-a-batt station where you can make your own customized spinning/felting batts. Roo may even bring some of her famous Milk spinning braids and Big-ass-kicking art batts. There will be space for crafting & spinning and basic instruction in knitting, spinning, needlefelting and possibly crochet. So if you have ever wanted to learn a new hobby bring along some tools and we can get you started. There will be farm fresh alpaca for sale & if you are in need of some fertilizer, bring along a bucket to fill because we have plenty :O)
Light refreshements will be provided, and a map will be up on our contact page for directions. Bringing your own chair is encouraged because it sounds like we are going to have lots of people coming this time.
We will also be attending the I-80 Alpacafest show in Princeton IL May 5&6. This will be our first show outing with the boys, and hope to take Acrobat & Bill along for a judging. Stop by & say hi and root us on in the show ring.
So the winter is upon us, and unfortunatley we have seen a lot of rain not snow. Which means muddy pastures. The boys are all looking for some snow to roll in, so hopefully it freezes up soon. All the boys are putting on some amazing coats this year. Bill feels much more dense this year and will hopefully give us lots of soft fiber this spring.
I have updated our list of appearances & attendances for this year. So far we are vending at 2 fiber shows, and continuing to put lots of fun stuff in the shop.
We will be picking up our cria next month and are very excited to see him and see about possibly starting to show him this spring. So stay tuned to the events page as to where you might be able to see him.
We attended the IAA (Indiana alpaca association) meeting last month. A lot of good ideas came out of the meeting, with the focus being on use your fiber. Elizabeth even managed to get herself on the board of directors as the fiber chairperson. So we are going to be very busy trying to promote the wonderfulness of Indiana alpaca fiber. There is a lot of high quality animals in the state & I encourage you to visit your local farm and get to know where your alpaca comes from. Help to support local Indiana agriculture!!
Thats it for now. We plan on shearing probally late April or early May so look for our open house dates closer to that time.
We haven't had a ton to talk about recently becuase the winter is when we are buckling down for winter. We are having a lot of mud and not much snow but the boys enjoy it anyways. So here is a happy kiss from Mr Speckles to brighten your holidays
We will be picking up our cria Spottedcirucs Amazing Acrobat in March and will be attending The Great MIdwest Alpaca Fest in Madison WI in April, along with Bill. So look for our boys there this spring. It will be our first show ever so we are excited.
We will also be adding some new things to the store in the next few weeks. My mom was nice enough to sew up a few knitting project bags from some fabric I had bought, and there might be a few of her handmade quilts in the store also.
Have a happy holidays from Spottedcircus Alpacas & Llama
Well going to SAFF was quite the adventure. This fiber festival is one of the larger ones on the east coast, held in Asheville, NC in October yearly. I went along with Roo of Moonwood Farms to help in her booth and she graciously allowed me to set up a wall of my goodies. So I drove to Alabama to help Roo pack up the Uhaul, and van and then we left to drive to Asheville on Thursday afternoon. We got into Asheville around 7pm or so, which for Roo was early, but we stayed until 2:30am to set up the booth, and then returned Friday morning by 6:30am to finish the set up. Traffic was down quite a bit this year, but the loyal customers still sought out Roo's booth and hopefully fell in love with my stuff as well. We had a lot of fun vending, and although I managed to come back with a sinus infection it was fun. I learned to bring a space heater next year. I will hopefully be set up in the booth right next to Roo next year with a 8x10 space of my own :). We met lots of fun new friends, and made a server at the Chinese buffet we frequented a bit embarrassed but he left with a batt, slightly confused what to do with it, but it was all in good fun. The weekend came to a sad end with the wonderful kitty Uni that we had given to Roo a few months ago having seizures and having to be put down. Not exactly the way you want to end a fun weekend, but we both loved him to pieces, and enjoyed the time we were allowed with him.
So on to the photos...
We attended the Magical Alpaca Farms Roaring 20's auction weekend this past week, and boy was it fun! There was a party Friday night, where we all got gussied up with wigs & fake eyelashes and listened to a speakeasy band play. Champagne was flowing and Al Capone was spotted watching the doorway. We also learned a lot at the seminars that the Magical provided and were able to spend some time with Tripp Forester to learn more about selecting a good alpacas. The auction was fun and there were several I wished we could buy, but maybe next year. I made up some mini-batts in conjuction with Roo of Moonwood farms from some of the offspring of Rolex, who was auctioned off that night. We then used the mini-batts in our spinners circle to spin up some yarn which was then woven into a beautiful shawl that was then presented to Libby Forester, who hopefully is enjoying it. We tried to educate other alpaca owners on the benefit of using their fiber, becuase there are still many people who do not utiliize what the alpacas give us each year. Hopefully we converted a few minds. Here are some photos from the party. More can be viewed on my facebook page at
Also while we were at Magical we were able to see our 2 week old cria, Amazing Acrobat. He was born September 12, 2011 and is out of Gathering Storm and our beautiful Obsidian girl MFI Violin Cierto. As of so far he is a spunky little guy. He spit at me twice and tried to kick Roo as he gleefully ran away from us. He looks like he is going to have dark brown to possibly maroon fiber and is super curly right now. We are hoping that's going to be a sign that he is going to have the same silky fiber that Violin has with the massive amounts of density that Gathering storm has. He also has a stunning head and profile. We are planning on showing him next spring, when he will be available for sale.
2 Tie-rods & 1 wheel bearing--$600
2 new tires & 3 lug nut posts--$180
Making it to your final destination in one piece to get kissed by a llama..PRICELESS
So we went to pick up Mr Speckles in Evans Georgia and ran into a few issues along the way. As we left Kentucky the car started shaking and acting all sorts of crazy, so we spent 5 hours at a Firestone getting the front end practically redone. On the way down we met up with our friends Roo & Vickie at the Tennessee state fair, where conveniently there was a fleece auction :) and spinning competition. While Roo competed in the spinning competition, we learned that to spin the most in the fastest amount of time we need wooly winders. It was fun to watch none the less. We then rampaged the fleece auction. It wasn't really an auction because there was prices listed on each, and supposedly in the past people would negotiate with each other if they wanted the same fleece.. HA! I grabbed up what I wanted & didn't take names! I ended up with a 2nd place black Romney fleece, a intersting cinnamon brown shetland, and a 1st place grey handspinners fleece. Around 15 pounds of fleece total. Prices were very reasonable, and there was lots of fleece available.
We then went and spent the night at Roo's house so that we could continue on our way the next morning. On our way to Georgia the noise started again!! Come to find out the last repair guys screwed up and our wheel was being held on with 2 lug nuts. So another hour and a half later we finally made it to our destination at 9pm. The next morning we got up bright and early to meet with Dorthe Peloquin of Peloquins Perch and her llama herd. She has some beautiful llamas, and made us fall in love with the suri alpaca. The fiber is so extremely soft. She showed us all the training Mr Speckles had received. He could jump up into a building, go over jumps, walk on a bridge, walk through tires, and go on a teeter totter. It was very impressive. After seeing the whole herd, we loaded Mr Speckles into the PT cruiser and took off for Alabama.
We stopped by Nina's store Fiber art work in Huntsville AL, and meet a nice little girl and scared an older one that was worried Mr Speckles might eat her. We overnighted at Roo's, where I examined her studio, discussed fleeces, and made friends with Jesse. Finally after a long trip we arrived home to rain and 4 alpacas that were convinced Mr Speckles was a new woman for them.
Overall a fun, tiring trip. At rest areas we caused quite the sensation when we unloaded Mr Speckles to stretch his legs.
So here a bunch of pictures of all the fun!
Well we are back from the Mid Ohio FIber Fair in Newark OH this past weekend. It was a good trial run for us on how to set up & deal with customers. Not a super busy weekend, but it was the first year for this show. There were lots of fun vendors though. We were set up next to Dawning Dreams Dawn from the Phat Fiber box . That was fun becuase then we could discuss the world of fiber together.
Booth set up and tear down went really quick which was nice and not very stressful. So here are some photos of our booth
There were also several other "Rooites" there from the seminars at Magical. It was good to see other alpaca owners out there utilizing what their alpacas give them every year. We saw Judy from Swisher Creek Farms & Loretta & Linda .
Also a photo of just how stuffed our car was..I'm thinking we need a van
A small alpaca farm in scenic Freedom Indiana.