Friday, April 30, 2010

Shear Madness!!!

Some of you may know that Alpaca With A Twist wasn't always Alpaca With A Twist, and the yarn company that is now was once an alpaca farm: Copper Ridge Alpacas. There are significantly fewer alpacas there now, but they still need to be sheared to get that crimpy awesomeness turned in to yarn. And so a week ago, I met Jennifer at the crack of dawn (okay, 8 am) and we jumped in the car and first headed to Sheep Street in the Martinsville area to drop off some stuff and talk briefly about shearing (and meet the Sheep of course. Plus Jennifer keeps 2 alpacas there still) and were on our way to Georgetown to shear those Copper Ridge alpacas.I had never sheared alpacas before, only sheep, and I wasn't really sure what to expect. With sheep, you throw them over on their backs and shear from there, and by the time they figure out how to get upright again, they're pretty much done. Shearing alpacas is a much more....involved process. It starts with looping ropes around their wrists and ankles (can you still call them wrists and ankles? Must ask Jennifer) and then lowering them to the ground, pulling the ropes tight. Someone has to hold their head so they don't get spooked and try to get up and get all cut up in the process, and for a while that was my job. Jennifer did all the shearing, and we had a couple other people there to help. Each alpaca took around 45 minutes to shear, vaccinate and trim up their legs and head into a nice little mop-style that only works for alpacas and punk rockers.
But who cares about the process! The pictures are so fun! And check out the baby- she was only 4 days old when we went down to shear!

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