Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Locally Grown

It's a special thing to be able to support local farmers, to bring home a product grown by the hardworking hand of someone in your area. I think we are returning to this practice little by little, and it's wonderful. Over the weekend I had just such an experience.  Remember the Crochet Baby Booties that I shared last week?  I mentioned that I'd made them using yarn gifted to me by my Aunt.  Well it turned out that this yarn had come from a local farm!  I had the honor of visiting the farm this past weekend and, if you can  believe it, I even got to meet the  alpacas whose fleece had been used in the skeins I was given!  Above you'll see the lovely "Charisma", a young mother alpaca.  It's no surprise, when looking at the booties beside Charisma, that her fleece is what went into that yarn.  The color matches perfectly.
Charisma, with her own mother in the background there, was gorgeous.  There she stood, proudly posing for the camera as her young son (behind me) nuzzled curiously at my coat pockets.  Aside from their deep soft fleeces, I think what really draws you in are their velvety noses and big, sweet eyes.  They were gentle and curious, careful not to get too close, but never far from me...this strange new visitor.  They seem to always have a quiet little smile on their faces too.  
It was amazing to see three generations standing together, Charisma's Mother, Charisma, and her young son, their fawn colored fleeces catching the late-day light.  The Farm's owner, Leda, parted Charisma's fleece to show me the way that, below the surface, alpaca fleece is naturally crimped!  She also explained that you never wash alpaca fleece, that they in fact take dust baths.  I was amazed.  Did you know that alpacas are, what we would call "litter trained" ? They have a neat box in the corners of their stalls where they relieve themselves.  Such clean and tidy animals, it's no wonder they produce such fine, fine fleece.
Leda also has a beautiful little gift shop on the farm where she not only sells the yarn and other products, but also handmade items from local makers.  It was a lot of fun to look around, admiring other women's handiwork.  I chose several more bundles of yarn to bring home with me.  This time I chose yarn from the fleece of "Gypsy Rose", a pale grey with hints of rosy browns.  I believe it is called "Rose Grey".  I think what amazes me most is that the yarn is all-natural and totally pure, no dyes used whatsoever.  Even the black fleece is natural, and so deep and rich in color. So, so special.  As you can see Leda and her husband also show their alpacas and have won many, many ribbons from the judges. It's no wonder either, when you look at the beauty of their animals.
My current stash, awaiting some exciting projects.  Every time I read the names of the animals printed on the labels, I'm reminded of my special day and the faces of the sweet alpacas who have shared their fleece with me.

To purchase booties or any of my other handmade baby items visit Ten Piggies !

*Faraway Farm is privately owned and not open to the public.  Visits are by appointment only.
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