Alpacas and yarn.

     If you like cute animals, yarn, crafts, flowers, or crocheting, you’ll love this post.  There is also interesting information about dyeing yarn.

    Yesterday we decided to take a trip into Walla, Walla, WA.  My first reason was that I wanted to visit an alpaca farm.  Usually if we drive somewhere that is about 40 or so miles away, we go for other errands.  There is a Walgreen’s at Walla, Walla, and we needed prescriptions filled.  The furry animals needed supplies.  I need black yarn, you’ll see why later.  We also needed a hot glue gun and pulse oximeter.

   First stop was Purl 2 yarn store.  The sales lady, maybe the owner? Was fun to talk to.  Through masks, lol.  The door into the shop was wide open, welcoming me in.  Right away was a table with hand sanitizer and masks.  I already had a mask on.  There was an obvious sign saying to wear a mask.  Two people came in without, and were told to wear them.  No complaints, but I wonder why they wouldn’t in the first place.  
This was one of those yarn stores that sold unique yarns like locally spun, or natural fibers.   She led me to this yarn since I was from AK.  

I love these colors!

She proudly told me this wall was organized, not by company, but by color.

This is what I really came here for.  I had contacted the Old Homestead Alpaca Farm earlier asking if they sold yarn.  They told me to go to Purl 2, most of what they had was at this store.  All the yarn was a natural dye.  More information on that later in this blog.

I will post what I purchased later in this blog when I’m talking about the alpacas and dying the wool.
Just around the corner of the yarn store was this dogwood tree.  I haven’t seen a blooming dogwood in decades!  This is Kousa Dogwood from Korea.

I think there is something about frogs and Walla Walla.

After the Yarn store we went to Walgreens for drugs and pulse oximeter.  That is one of those things they put on your finger at the doctor’s office to measure your oxygen level and pulse rate.  Since we are not going to Fairbanks, Richard is having his meeting with his doctor to check up on his diabetes using zoom.  We need a blood pressure cuff, pulse oximeter, scale, and documentation on his blood sugar levels.  On Monday Richard will be having a zoom meeting with his doctor.  First time for this!
After unsuccessfully finding black cotton yarn, but successful pet store trip, and getting a glue gun, we went to Applebee’s. We actually got to sit down inside!  They had us go sit in our car while they sanitized our table.  I received a text message when it was ready.  People were sitting at every other table.  Richard said this was his favorite part of the day, sitting inside a restaurant.

I misremembered the time of the tour, so we missed the talk about the females.  We did hear the history of the property.  She had enlarged pictures of the original deed and bill of sale from the 1800’s.  One document was signed by Ulysses S Grant.
Here is a picture of the boys.  

After the barn, we went into her building for dying.  It had been an old milking barn.  This picture shows the wool that was taken off “Rocky.”  He is a favorite alpaca.  His mother had problems when she was pregnant, she almost miscarried.  He was full term when born, but very, very small.  He is still small.  The fibers are taken from the “saddle” area of the animal, that is the longest and softest fibers.  She uses fiber from other parts to make felted dryer balls.

The fleece is put on a table such as this where she will look through it removing debris such as hay and other field pieces.  

I didn’t ask questions about this, but it looks like it was recently washed and hanging to dry.  I wish I got closer and asked questions.

This is her dyeing area.  

All of the dyed yarn was dyed using natural dyes.  See the skein below farthest to the left?  Deep orange?  That color came from Madder Root.  The next two in and maybe the yellow is from marigolds.  The blue farthest to the right is indigo.  The green?  Combining whatever she used for yellow and indigo.  

I purchased yarn dyed using madder root.  Here is an example of the root below.  It takes 2 years before the root is ready.  In the jar is the ground up root.  It looks the consistency of baking cocoa. 

She showed us this pile, all she has left.

Here is the yarn I purchased.  I hope to make fingerless gloves to match my raincoat.

Awagii is the name of the alpaca who give his wool so I could have fingerless gloves.  Remember, I bought the yarn at a store in town, then went to the farm.  All labels on the yarn told the name of the alpaca the wool was from.  I was looking forward to getting selfies of me and the animal.  However, the names on my yarn had either been sold or were deceased.  

I also purchased this finger weight yarn, much thinner than I’d ever crocheted.  I bought a lot hoping to make a shawl out of it.  After seeing some fingerless gloves, and a cowl someone had knitted there, I think I may learn how to knit and make those.  This is Suri alpaca fleece, which is similar in feel to silk. It is hypoallergenic and water-repellent.  

This is madder growing.  In my research I discovered that marrow root has been used as a dye for thousands of years.  They have found examples of it from centuries ago.  This is this year’s planting.  The root will not be ready until its second year.  I asked if it had flowers.  She said they weren’t much to be noticed.  She cuts the plants back several times to make it bushier, and to make more root.

She has a “dye” garden.

In this box there are marigolds growing, and pink dandelion.  She joked about buying the seeds back in the winter from a seed catalog, impulse purchase.

These plants are indigo.  Her first time growing indigo was not very successful.  She had to purchase natural indigo dye.  I hope this turns out better for her.

Look closely at the tips of the leaves to see the indigo color.  I read that there needs to be some sort of fermentation done to the leaves to produce the color.

The next stop on the tour was in the cut flower garden.  It is the other half of her business.

She sells cut flowers to a few businesses, and at the local Farmer’s Market.  This is a Ranunculus, a new flower to me.  It comes in many colors.

She also grows interesting plants, like these peanuts.  She is also trying okra, she’s never eaten it, but said it dries well.  She also makes and sells dried flowers and flower arrangements.

She opened her outside walk-in refrigerator to show the flowers she has ready for the next day’s farmer’s market in Walla Walla.

Here are the boys.  Look closely for the smallest one, Rocky.  

These Suri alpacas’ fleece grow in ringlets like dreads.

I walked back to the girl’s section to see the babies.  The two sexes must be separated or the males go a little bonkers too close to the females.

A black one!

The baby near the red bucket looks like that because they are yawning.  Cute.

Here is the barn with the business logo.  Old Homestead Alpacas.

I have thought of maybe changing my blog’s name.  I recently purchased a T-shirt that says Eat, Travel, Sleep, Repeat.  I might change this to Eat, Travel, Crochet, Repeat.
I have projects going on.  They are called WIP by fellow crocheters, and probably knitters.  Work In Progress.  Below you see something similar to a basket.  The discs are face scrubbies, and the basket is to hold them.  

I’ve also started making these potholders.  I tried them once before, but got frustrated with changing color.  Now I am more comfortable doing that, and I think it turned out nice.  I need black cotton yarn to make a wheel for this retro trailer.  These two projects, and the dishcloths are why I purchased lots of cotton yarn.

Renee sent me the rest of this color.  I don’t need a scarf, shall I take it apart and make a wrap?

Fingerless gloves, potholders, Reuben’s scarf, face scrubbies, learn how to knit.  I’m ready for summer!  BUT then there is this!!!!   My very dear friend, Renee, spun this for me.  Isn’t it awesome!!!!   Sooooo soft.  What to make?????

Thanks for reading this.  
Isn’t this yarn awesome?