Yes, that’s right. I said Alapacapalooza: Three Days of Peace, Love, and Livestock. It was at a nearby fairgrounds a couple weeks ago, and I keep forgetting to post pictures. If you have never seen a real live alpaca, you are definitely missing out. They are the most adorable little things you have ever seen.
See what I mean! It’s like a furry little ewok and you just want to pinch their furry little cheeks! I didn’t try it but, I suspect that alpacas do not like to have their cheeks pinched. In fact, I suspect that they take themselves fairly seriously.
You might notice that the fiber on the alpacas in those two pictures seems different. It turns out that there are two very different kinds of alpacas–the Suri and the Huacaya. The Suri have much longer, straighter hair. I understand that their hair is more like silk, very fine and smooth and not much crimp to it. But I haven’t had a chance to feel any of the unfinished Suri fibers. I think they look kinda dorky, you know, in an adorable sort of way.
The Huacaya are the more ewok-looking ones like the first picture. Their hair is curly, but not kinky like a sheep’s, and they don’t have lanolin so it’s super soft right off the animal. It feels like holding warm clouds. Really.
Of course, they all look funny right after they get sheared.
And it turns out that they think each other looks funny after they get sheared too. I had heard this about sheep, but witnessed it with the alpacas also. It turns out that they have a pretty incredible visual memory. According to the shearer, they will remember a person’s face for about 2 years, so alpacas that she sheared last year will know who she is right away. They also recognize other alpacas visually, and they keep track of each other by sight. So when one of them gets taken out of the pen and sheared and then brought back, no one recognizes her at first. There is lots of squeeling and sniffing while the rest of the herd compiles enough secondary clues to be able to confirm her identity without all the hair.
And also, one mustn’t forget the third kind of alpaca–the punk-rock alpaca.
p.s. Someone in my knitting group gifted me a *whole alpaca fleece*! Pictures to come after I get it processed and ready for spinning. It’s a beautiful grey color from an alpaca named Rex.