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Friday, January 6, 2012

Fiber Fun and Alpaca Pictures

Knitting has engaged my curiosity because there are endless creative possibilities to explore and new skills to learn. In the past seven years, I have progressed from a beginning scarf with acrylic to designing accessories, dyeing my own yarn, and spinning fiber from an animal I met. I have also grown in using my skill as a connection with people I did not know. I gained social skills by interacting with knitters that I met through knitting groups, at the nursing home where I volunteer, and through learning how to teach a class to beginning knitters. Beyond the techniques I have acquired, I have grown in mathematical skills when calculating my own patterns and in creative skills to design new projects. 
My curiosity about knitting first piqued when I saw someone wearing a hand-knit scarf when I was ten. I learned how to knit from a friend and got involved in a local knitting guild. Through exposure to the designers and farmers raising livestock for their fiber in this guild, I learned new techniques, made new friends, and took classes from them. I learned to dye my own yarn and spin from a woman in that group. I was also exposed to these women’s love for crafting that they turned into local small businesses. I observed from an alpaca farmer in my knitting group the labor-intense process that goes into each skein of yarn by helping her shear her animals. 
After learning knitting techniques, I have enjoyed the freedom to invent my own designs. I have taken inspiration from other crafters’ blog and local knitters. Once I began thinking outside the box, I realized the great potential of original knitting design. While reading other bloggers’ work, I admired some designs, but knew they were not practical. Whether I am designing hats or fingerless gloves, I want a product that will be functional as well as beautiful. I also seek to learn new techniques through my designs, but still make patterns accessible to new knitters. 
Knitting has also propelled me into other creative outlets, interested me in small business ownership, and helped me connect with my community. When I began my blog, I realized I needed to learn more about photography in order to better communicate about my knitting. Eventually learning web design and how operate a small business will help me expand my expertise. The more I research, reading about knitting in books and blogs and discussing it in local knitting groups, the more I realize that I can knit for a lifetime and never finish learning. There will always be another skill to learn, a new idea to discover, and more gifts to share. My curiosity will never be quenched. 
Here are old fiber pictures of that alpaca shearing day. Did you know that alpacas spit green slime when they're panicky? They're definitely like camels. I had a blast that day. My amazing mother took me to this alpaca farm to help a friend and ended up shearing alpaca, shoveling manure, chasing my littlest two siblings, and taking care of the extra children running wild on the farm.








These are pictures of my brother and me. Aren't alpacas the cutest animals ever? Mom and I thought we would get one as a pet, until we researched and learned how much they cost. They're about the price of a nice sports car. 

By the way, in the picture of my brother with all the buckets of fiber, he was sorting all the different grades of fiber as they were sheared. My job was to hold the alpaca's head and keep it still without choking it. I ended up getting spit on by the alpaca. :) It was just part of the fun.

The alpacas were strapped to a board that was then flipped up to form a table. The shearer, who had been doing it for years and years, could shear each alpaca in about a minute. Then we had to lower the table, turn the alpaca around to shear the other side, re-strap the alpaca, and then shear that side. It was a lot more work that it sounds like here because the entire time, the alpaca is panicking, spitting, and kicking like mad. 

It was a blast.


Do you have any fiber adventure stories to tell of your own? Do you own fiber animals? I'd love to hear your stories!

1 comment:

Anne Elisabeth Stengl said...

This was so interesting to read, Rose! You are quite the intrepid young lady. I'm a terrible knitter myself (probably need some lessons!), but I love seeing other people really pursuing their hobbies and interests . . . and learning to shear your own alpaca? That's a dedicated knitter!