Yesterday I went on a visit to Good Karma Farm. It was a beautiful day! The drive was lovely and we had no trouble finding the place.
Good Karma Farm is in a red barn that used to be a milking shed, connected to a cute white farmhouse with acres of pasture around it. Jim and Amy Grant were there, working away, and their 27 alpacas grazed happily in the sunshine. They're so nice, they explained all the machines and processes that goes on there, and I got pictures!
First, the fleeces are washed, a time-intensive process. Then the fiber is spun dry in a washing machine to the left of the sink.
Then the fleece is dried on large racks. Some is undyed, but this picture shows some of their dyed fleece too. Such pretty colors!
Next the fleece goes in the picker. This machine is scary but interesting. It has big, sharp teeth that revolve around, making the fleece light and puffy, before it is deposited in the cabinet on the other side. There is a lot of blue fleece in there!
Then the fleece is taken to the carder. This is a huge drum carder that cards the fleece well, and it comes out as roving on the other end.
This machine is the pin-drafter. The roving is fed into a series of small, fine-toothed comes out perfectly aligned for spinning. Spinners, I bet if you asked for it, they would let you buy some! Jim gave me an ounce of it to try, and it practically spins itself! I'll practice spinning more sometime :)
This is the spinner they use to spin the lovely worsted and lighter weight yarns. It is churning out two plys of yarn here.
The yarn then gets made into some skeins of yarn on this machine.
I kept seeing this sticker on various machines....
And this beautiful machine is Edna! Isn't she lovely? She's too big to put my arms around her and hug her, but that's what I felt like doing. Edna spins the Most Beautiful Yarn In the World. Here she's got two bobbins, but you can see she is capable of more.
Her profile shot....
Her close up...
Sigh. She's a great machine.
What could you not love about these two? There's another little wire-haired Jack Russell terrier (sorry Xena, I didn't get a photo) as well, and he graciously let me have his chair. After I did a little shopping (ahem, 2 skeins of Edna and a skein of worsted weight), we went out to meet the alpacas.
These guys were having a good day in the sun! It was a gorgeous day.
I think this is Delilah. I wonder if she's met Edna?
This is a llama named Dolly. Dolly Llama. On Good Karma Farm. I love farmers with a sense of humor!
This is another llama. I love his rich, dark coat.
This llama and alpaca are trying out their profile shots. It's also a nice photo for an explanation of the differences between alpacas and llamas.
I hope you get a chance to go out to Good Karma Farm! They have other products for sale too, notably Carabasett Soap, which is heavenly. Jim and Amy Grant are hard-working folks, but they make you feel welcome at the farm!