Fibers and Textiles: shows and links

I was looking for information on shows where textiles and fibers like alpaca are shown and sold, within driving distance for us.   I would really like to start attending and learning more about the textile industry. I am not a knitter, weaver or spinner, but my dad handcrafted for me a pretty and traditional, and functional, spinning wheel years ago where it has graced a corner of the living room of the houses we have lived in over the years.  I really want to learn how to spin.  I have the fiber from our alpacas, I just need to get to work.

A local spinner bought some alpaca fiber from me and commented that she taught herself by spinning every day.  She said she started out by spinning whenever she decided to sit down and give it a try.  But because she was not seeing a lot of improvement, she decided she had to spin every day.  Kind of like learning to play an instrument.  You must practice, practice, practice every day.  So, she learned and now participates in some area club get togethers.

I think this will be my goal for this new year, to concentrate on and learn how to spin.  I have been researching fiber events and here are some links that can be helpful for you.

http://www.textilelinks.com/cal/calendarloc.html

http://www.charisma-art.com/sheep,_wool_and_fiber_festivals/

We love Pagosa Springs, Colorado,anytime,  and Wolf Creek in winter:

http://www.pagosafiberfestival.com/

http://visitpagosasprings.com/colorado/activities/colorado-events

http://www.wolfcreekski.com/links.asp

Holiday Treats, Gifts and “Poop” Website Fun

I was looking for the little Snowman Poop poem and found this fantastic website.  It will give you all kinds of ideas for family, friends, and co-worker gifts.  I am looking at the Snowman and Reindeer poop idea for co-workers (for fun), and the “food in a jar” gifts for neighbors, and the Chocolate Kiss trees for my son-in-laws family (we have lots of fun with them), and so many other ideas.  There are printable  pdf files for the poems, recipes, etc.

Take a look and find something quick and easy to gift  this season.

http://christmas.organizedhome.com/gifts-crafts-gift-tags

GOTexan Holiday gifts, wines, food, recipes, and decorating ideas

I like the idea of helping local/state companies and artists by buying their products and promoting them for gift giving.  Here are a few to check out:

food:

Mary of Puddin Hill is just a few minutes from where I live and very famous too http://www.puddinhill.com/

Here are great GO Texan gift ideas, as well as recipes, holiday decorating ideas, and free e-zine subscriptions

http://www.agr.state.tx.us/gt/channel/render/items/0,1218,1670_19176_0_0,00.html

The 2009 Holiday Gift guide is here:

http://click.engagemail.net/?ju=fe3016717664017b761d72&ls=fdee16787d6406797310767c&m=fefe1779756005&l=fea315707664077d70&s=fe2116777d670c7d7c1d70&jb=ffcf14&t=

Alpaca fashion

I have been paying attention to how often I see “alpaca” in the fashion pages and it seems to be increasing.  My daughter worked as store manager for The GAP  and they were bringing more alpaca fibered fashions into the store for sale.  Also, some of the “green” fashion businesses are also using alpaca, like Viva Terra http://www.vivaterra.com/pls/enetrixp/!stmenu_template.main

and Ten Thousand Villages . http://www.tenthousandvillages.com/catalog/search.php

 

Alpaca is such a nice fiber; softer than scratchy wool and no natural oils to interfere with producing fiber and garments.    Some of the big fashion designers are also incorporating alpaca into the materials they use.

Watch the fasion world as they get more into the “natural” fibers and start promoting more alpaca fashions.

Alpacas in the United States

Alpacas arrived in the U.S. in a “short” window of time between  1984-1998.  They were carefully selected from the South American herds.  After that the U.S. shut down any more importation. Each animal was issued a pedigree registration number and certification,  and DNA blood testing is performed to ensure accuracy of lineage in each newly born alpaca.

They are a camelid and two kinds of alpacas: huacaya (fluffy teddy bear look) and the suri (long penciled “dreadlocks”). Some close relatives of the alpaca are the vicuna, guanacos, llamas and huarizo (offspring of a male llama, female alpaca).

Camelids can be found throughout the world. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Asia are examples.   Alpacas are a modified/pseudoruminant with a three compartment stomach instead of four (i.e,cattle, goats, sheep, deer).

In the United States the fiber industry is being developed and several mills have been started to process the camelid fibers into yarns or clothing.  All fiber can be used, but the identified coarseness determines how the product is used (fine clothing, socks, mittens, or  rugs, etc.)  Breeding for improved fiber is a goal of most alpaca owners and breeders.

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