Wini Labrecque judging alpaca fleeces at the Great Frederick Fair, 2006
IMPORTANT NOTICE!!! We will be judging the fleeces at the alpaca fleece show at the Great Frederick Fair, 2007 on Monday, September 17 and NOT Sunday September 16 as stated in the catalog. I will be receiving fleeces for the show on Saturday, September 15 from 9am until 3pm but you have to pre-enter so keep reading!
Alpacas and fleeces from ANY STATE may enter this regional fair!
OK, I have already tried to nag you into entering the Great Frederick Fair's alpaca fleece show (in my previous post) but I would be crazy not to gloat about the Super-Amazing fleece show judge whose services I have secured as judge of this year's fleece show at the Great Frederick Fair. She is, of course, Wini Labrecque!
I have had the pleasure of serving as alpaca fleece show superintendent for several alpaca shows with Wini as our judge and she has always gone way above and beyond when it came to spending time educating the alpaca fleece exhibitors about how they could have done better, in preparing their fleeces, what characteristics each fleece possessed; she even discusses the overall health of their alpacas based on what she sees in their fleeces. This woman is the real thing! To get the opinion of this person for only a $10. (hand spun skeins only $7!) is a pretty serious bargain. Don't miss out on it!
PS. We also give HUGE, pretty ribbons AND money if you win!
If you are not sure that you know how to prepare your alpaca fleeces, Enter the Show and get Wini's opinion of what you could have done better! This show caters to brand new alpaca exhibitors. No one will make you feel foolish. I am the superintendent and I guarantee it!
Wini is a teacher of spinning, felting and weaving. She also co-owns a business that provides custom fiber services from hand spinning to finished knit or woven clothing from the owner's own fleeces. She is currently involved in a project to develop a wash and wear alpaca fabric. She is working with the NC College of Textiles in Research & Development of this product. She also gives an excellent seminar in how to skirt your alpaca fleeces.
Her experience in judging alpaca fleece shows, spinning competitions and in lecturing on alpaca fleece topics is too extensive to list out here. You can find out more on her website:
To see the blog entry showing Wini judging and lecturing alpaca fleece exhibitors at last year's Great Frederick Fair, please click here:
Blog Entry - Wini judging alpaca fleeces 2006
To Enter the Great Frederick Fair Alpaca Fleece and/or Halter Show, please go here:
Catalog Pages for Entry in Great Frederick Fair Alpaca Show
Uh Oh, I better get my own alpaca skein entries finished. See you at the Fair!
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my son, Nick - napping in the alpaca pen at the Great Frederick Fair
Once Again, I will be the alpaca fleece show superintendent for the
Great Frederick Fair's Alpaca Fleece Show.
This is NOT a county fair, but a large, regional, agricultural fair with huge crowds of people. This is a fair where I have sold alpacas & breedings and bought alpacas and breedings and so have many others. So there are many potential customers here. But, it is a fun, laid back show and very inexpensive to enter!
PLEASE ENTER both halter classes and the fleece show, especially the FLEECE SHOW! Here is a link to the fair catalog's entry info:
Fair Catalog - alpaca page
Want to know how fun this fair is?, what it's like to show there? What it looks like and what other things are going on there? Here is a link to some of my blog entries from last year's Great Frederick Fair along with MANY photos.
Great Frederick Fair 2006 Blog Entries
New to alpaca showing and scared to go in the ring? Want pointers? Here is a link to my blog entry on how to show alpacas:
Secrets of Alpaca Showing
Want to know how to enter your fleeces at Frederick? Just e-mail me from the link saying "Contact Me" above at right or call me, Kate Perez, at: (301) 607-9129.
Warning! I have a well-deserved reputation for bullying other alpaca people into using, showing and selling their fleeces! If enough of you alpaca people don't enter the fleece show, I'll have to hunt you down and that won't be pretty so
Don't Make Me Come Find You!
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Yay, I finally got my brand new, Alpaca Heritage Events T-shirt from Yvette ( Wool and Gray Alpacas ) but, for some reason, they forgot to write "President Emerita of Alpaca Heritage Events" on the back like they were supposed to. I love it though - thanks Yvette and other "current" members of Alpaca Heritage Events.
Meanwhile, I continue to toil away at combing the rose-gray alpaca fleece of my doomed Galadriel (mentioned in the previous post) and, when my hands get too sore, I switch to knitting on my Crazy Alpaca Scarf. I decided to take some of my left over hand spun alpaca yarns and put them together in a crazy scarf and, when it is done, I will throw it in the washer and full it. For those of you who are not in-the-know about fleece related crafts, "Felting" is only the correct word if you are taking the raw alpaca fiber and felting it into something. If you knit first and then felt, it is called "fulling"or sometimes, even "cheating" because it's much easier than real felting. Okay - lecture over.
I happen to have a fondness for weird knitted items. If I were a Harry Potter character (3 days left and counting!!! and, I am going out on a limb here but I predict that Snape killed Dumbledore on Dumbledore's orders!) I would definitely be Mrs. Weasley with all her strange, half-ugly, knitted clothing, so this crazy alpaca scarf will either be weird-but-cool or just plain weird. We won't know until we see it. Here is it almost halfway done:
I feel like I spend a lot of time this summer answering the well-meaning question: "Don't you miss the alpacas?" Well, yeah. Wouldn't you? But, I have my ways of coping.
Aside from working on various alpaca fleece projects, I can also cheer myself up by reminding myself that I still have nice little animals around to enjoy. In fact, I have been stalking a Momma Deer and her twin fawns all summer on the pretext that I have to "practice" learning the controls of my new Digital SLR camera. (This camera IS pretty hard to learn though!)
So I have crawled around the edges of my cornfield, crouched behind a bunch of cat-o-nine tails on the edge of my pond and run through the woods looking through the lens of my camera trying to get that perfect deer or baby deer shot. I don't recommend the latter - a lot of facial scratches and poison ivy rashes later, I still didn't get the shot but I did manage to trip over a stump and slam into the ground hard. Of course I held the camera up in the air to protect it during the fall. I have health insurance but not camera insurance.
Turns out that photographing alpacas was hard but getting actual "WILDLIFE" is MUCH harder. Here are some of my early efforts:
Momma Deer jumping out of cornfield
Momma Deer and one of the twins running through cornfield - otherwise known as the "butt shot."
Blurry baby deer exiting the woods.
Baby deer now in focus - if only tree was not located right there!
This shot of the deer in front of my pond would have been so great - if only it had been in focus!
Whenever I did not have my camera with me, the deer seemed content to just stand and stare at me or even lie on the grass dozing as I walked by them - THE LITTLE BRATS!
I got this photo of Mama deer when she walked up to me and did that scary huffing noise and stamped her little hooves at me as if to say, "Stop following us!"
And, I had given up on getting the twins at all when I walked out in the middle of the day to let my dog out and found them dozing on my back lawn.
OK, they are not alpacas but the are sort of alpaca-ish. Same body size and type but without the fleece. Now that I do not have to worry about them giving Meningeal Worm to my alpacas, I feel very fond of them.
Meanwhile, back on the farm of my friend Amanda Little Wing Farm Alpacas , her girl, Goddess, had been refusing to drop that cria even though she was at least a month overdue. She finally had her on July 15 but at least she was smart enough to give birth by 8:30 a.m. before it got too hot. No word on the name of this pretty little girl:
And, lest I forget my own alpaca girls (OK, OK, my FORMER alpaca girls!) Sue Hammer Wildwood Alpacas sent this photo of the sons of Pinka (the pretty white boy on the left) and Gladdie . Their moms are immortalized on my website under the History of our Farm page.
And finally, for those of you who remember my old post about Tom Perez Alpaca Farmer vs. Tom Perez, politician, where I mocked the politician and then ran into him at our kids' summer camp, HERE , here is a photo of the two Toms - together at last.That should end the controversy about whether MY Tom Perez - former alpaca farmer and alpaca shearer extraordinaire (on right in photo) is the same Tom Perez who ran for attorney general of MD.
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Just when I get ready to tough it out for a few months without any new alpaca cria (baby) photos, I get a late - but MUCH appreciated! - set of photos of the spring cria from my pals, the Burkins, at Apple Valley Alpacas The photo above radiates such cuteness that it needs no extra comment but, below is a photo of our little Anya, born on our farm to our girl, Cassandra Anya was Cassandra's first daughter and now she has a pretty little one of her own. This is her second cria. The two of them are pictured below.
The funny thing about Anya is that she was born out of a White dam, Cassandra, and a medium brown sire, Campion but she is almost identical to her grand dam, Latte! Genetics can be a mysterious thing.
Latte, herself, has been on my mind lately because I have been preparing the tiny fleece of Latte's daughter, Galadriel, for spinning into yarn. Here is a photo of Latte with her daughter Galadriel. Look how much she resembles her granddaughter, Anya (pictured above)!
This is the last fleece that I have left from my herd and a VERY special one. Galadriel died at a couple months of age due to an accident when the vet drew her blood. More information is listed about that on the "History of our Farm" part of my website under:
Anyone who has spent years breeding and raising animals is going to have some bad luck and I mention this because it's easy to want to blame someone for the things that go wrong but what's the point in blaming? It would not bring my little Galadriel back to me. Her death was a terrible sorrow for us but it may have helped us to appreciate every healthy animal we kept and raised to adulthood just a little more. If the Alpaca Registry Inc. had changed their DNA blood requirements BEFORE Galadriel's birth from 4ccs to the current 3 drop system, Galadriel would be alive today.
Up until now, I have not had the heart to work on her fleece but now I feel it is part of my learning to accept that our lives as alpaca breeders are over and we must move on. Her is Galadriel's pretty, baby fleece. Look at that color!
It is so short that I have had to comb it with the mini combs and it will not be easy to hand spin either but I'm looking forward to it. Galdriel was a big, tall girl and poor Latte, was really worn out after the birth. I felt so sorry for her:
Here is how our little one looked when she fluffed up and dried off. What a beauty!
She isn't forgotten. Not by a long shot. All of our animals were so precious to us and that is one reason why I had to have a little tantrum 2 weeks ago and write a letter to our local Newspaper complaining about a front page story about a local Alpaca 4-H club. One of the people running the club was telling the reporter that alpacas are nicer than llamas and was quoted as saying:
"Alpacas are related to llamas but differ by "150 degrees of attitude." and,
"Llamas are often used as guard animals because they can have a very nasty attitude, nothing like the alpacas."
What garbage! Not only is this completey ridiculous and untrue but it gives people an excuse not to blame THEMSELVES when they produce a llama that has behavior problems. Great! We really need MORE people who don't do their research before they buy these wonderful, gentle animals! And, by the way, good job trying to ruin the business prospects of our fellow Camelid breeders, the Llama people! Sorry Llama people! I apologize on behalf of all Alpaca people.
So here is part of my answering rant, which the Frederick News Post kindly printed. If you already get that animals misbehave because the people who own or raise them are dumb, then feel free to skip the next two paragraphs.
These statements are irresponsible and completely untrue. Llamas and alpacas are very similar in temperament. They are so closely related that they can (and do) interbreed and produce live, fertile offspring. Moreover, llamas have been used as tame pack animals by the people of the Andes region of South America for more than 5,000 years!
Encouraging people to believe that llamas are naturally "nasty" shifts the blame for inappropriate llama behavior away from the humans who mis-handle and mistreat their llamas and pins the blame on the defenseless animal itself. And the person making these statements is trying to teach others about animal behavior through a 4-H program? Over-handling of young alpacas and llamas is the number one cause of aggressive behavior exhibited by those animals as adults. To suggest that llamas make good guardians because of bad temperament makes no sense. If that were the case, they would be aggressive towards the animals that they guard. When people buy and raise animals without doing their research, it is the animals that pay the price.
So, in case I was in any danger of losing my reputation as "cranky alpaca lady", this should remind people once more why I get on their nerves. Not that I care. I'd rather see the animals treated well.
Sometimes I console myself with the idea that, if even one person, does a better job of caring for their alpaca or llama because of our Alpaca Care DVD or something I wrote in a paper or on a website, then that might be one less suffering animal in this world. These animals are so beautiful and add so much joy to our lives. We should stick up for them whenever we can, even if it makes other people mad at us.
Speaking of animals, I am having too much fun with my new camera and just had to take a photo of these two cows that were staring at me from the side of the road in New Windsor, MD. How cute are these two gals?
And here is another of God's creatures - but not really my favorite one - Wolf Spider!
I know, they have their place in the "circle of life" and all that. I just don't want one to jump on me though. However, I do respect them as fellow spinners.
Oops! I almost forgot - another of my "old girls, Creampuff also had a pretty alpaca baby for the Burkins this spring. Here is Creampuff's new son. I love the fawn nose marking.
Here is one, last cranky comment to finish up this post:
To people who read this blog:
I am happy to answer your e-mail questions about hand spinning, shearing, etc. but please donít ask me to clear my response by signing in with your Spam protection company before I can reply to you! I have no way of knowing if the info. that I provide them is used in any other way (i.e. for them to track me or send ME spam!) I use "Mailwasher" spam protection myself. I see the e-mail while it is still on the server and delete/ blacklist/ friendlist/ or whatever, before the mail is downloaded to my own computer. It works great and doesn't inconvenience people who want to e-mail me or reply to me.
Just my 2 cents...
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