Friday, June 05, 2009

Lonesome Stone Fiber Farm Visit


In early May, when we were the retreat at Snow Mountain Ranch, Laura and I venured out and into town. While we were in a home decor store I asked about finding a yarn store. Kirsten and I knit and chat each year at the retreat. Much to my surprise, the store owner knew about an Alpaca Fiber farm in nearby Grand County. I quickly shifted from my plan of making cinnamon rolls to visiting the farm. What a wonderful excusion that was. Here, let me show you...

First we checked out her shop at the
Lonesome Stone Fiber Farm in Grand County, Colorado. There were so many choices to be made. In the end I purchased some natural colored Alpaca yarn to make into a nice someting for a man, like my son or husband. Laura loved trying on the shals. I finger the lovely yarn and came away with stuff for two more projects. The woman who owns the farm showed us around. We also got to earn a few doggie points with this lovely girl. I think her name is Lily. She was a supposed to be a guard dog. It turns out that she is a lover. I gave her a lot of pats. At one point she made a sound that I took for a low browl. It turns out that is ti more like an encouraging "purr" of sorts so I continued. I could have spent half of the afternoon loving her.

The owner was fun and invited us to check out how she makes the Alpaca fleece into yarn. She gave me permission to invite you along. Seeing this made me have a new level of respect for the cost of yarn.Here's the process:

First, she sorts out the good fleece from the junky stuff. It gets washed by hand and spun in a washing machine to remove as much water as possible.

Then it is placed on drying racks. She has several fans speeding up the process.

From here the fleece gets pulled into a machine that seems to fluff it. The machine sort of seperates out the fleece and flings it into a closet. She said it is like being in a fleece snow storm if you were to stand in there during this part of the process.

Then it gets carded.

From there it begins to get processed into ply "ropes".

These get combined and begin the process that resembles yarn.

At the end of that process, you have yarn, but it still needs a bit of work to make it ready to sell. This dandy device measures and makes yarn skiens.

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Here is another version that home spinners might recognize.

The final stop was in the area where they dye the yarn. I loved the shelves of dye. We talked about color for a while. I was a bit distracted as I kept stealing glances of the newly created yarns. I bought a few of them to take home.

Next, we went out to greet the Alpacas. We walked out to the mom and baby sections. They seemed pretty friendly and very curious.

They cautiously greeted us. A few even let us give them a few pats. I love the ears.

I think that visiting the Lonesome Stone Fiber Farm might have to become a spring time tradition!

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