Friday, July 24, 2009

Alpaca-Bunny Smackdown: Part 1

It started with a simple picture and a small taunt. "Get a load of this luster handspinners."

So I bit. "Is that luster from a rabbit?"

"Yes, it's the softest thing out there."

I'm an alpaca breeder and since alpaca is the Fiber of Kings, "Those are fighting words."

This is how the Alpaca-Bunny Smackdown was born. A few simple tweets between me (@alpacamundo) and Lynn (@sheepmama). Of course, I'm paraphrasing since I am not skilled enough to find and copy the original tweets, but this is a story and that's how stories go.

After tossing around some ideas on how to determine which was better, we roped in Chris (@vtknitboy) to be our impartial judge. Chris is an avid spinner and knitter who shares tons of pictures of his work on Twitter and his blog.

So now that the players and judge had been secured we decided to trade raw samples of each. 1/4 ounce to both contestants and the judge.

Panic sets in.

My husband and I have recently moved and are staying in a temporary location until we close on our final destination. Therefore, EVERYTHING is in storage.

What was I thinking? I have encouraged and agreed to take part in a fiber challenge with a rabbit! I must be crazy. At least we agreed the fiber would be raw. Now only if I can find it.

I went to the storage unit repeating to myself, "Please God, help me find Yoda's fiber." Yoda is possibly my best quality alpaca and at least his blanket has been skirted.

When I opened the door and let the light in... ta da, Yoda's box of fiber right there on top. "Thank you." But all the way in the back. I climb on a few things, but can not reach it.

I revise my prayer to, "Please God, help me find anyone's blanket fiber." Quickly I found 2 boxes that were within reach.

The 1st box had only neck and belly/leg fiber. Not the best entrant for a smackdown.

I emptied the 2nd box. Trying to stay calm while pulling out more leg/belly fiber. Then finally, Kocoa's blanket in the bottom. "Thank you, again."

Kocoa is certainly our best quality female. She will be a worthy opponent.

I brought the fleece home and weighed out 1/2 ounce samples for me, @sheepmama and @vtknitboy. I only remembered we agreed to provide 1/4 ounce samples after I left the post office, so I hope they enjoy the little extra.

The bunny came on Wednesday. It's angora rabbit that @sheepmama hand plucked. It's amazingly fine and soft. I really hope I don't mess it up.

Both @sheepmama and @vtknitboy have advised not to card it, but just to spin from a loosely held clump.

I will wash and card the alpaca over the next couple of days and hopefully spin it before the weekend is over.

Too bad my hand carders are in another box I can't reach.

Check out more Fiber Arts Friday Posts on the Alpaca Farm Girl Blog.


Ina said...

What an interesting contest! I know both angora rabbit and alpaca are soft. Will be interesting to see which one wins or if it's a tie!

WonderWhyGal said...

I just got my hands on angora for the first time this week. What a coincidence. It is super soft and fine. Nothing like my alpaca and I have some very fine suri and huacaya. I didn't get a chance to spin because I am just learning but I am curious with your results. I think the mix of alpaca and angora together would be lovely.

Hope to hear your results on a future Fiber Arts Friday.

Alpaca Farmgirl said...

Reading your post was like opening up a Christmas present early! First, it was wonderful to see a picture of you. I feel like I know you but hadn't seen you B4. Loved it - and you're gorgeous, honey!

SECOND you start about VtKnitBoy, who I am crazy, mad, cuckoo-bird nuts for! and sheepmamma, another tweeter I luv.

YOU SLAYED ME WITH THE CONTEST. A SMACKDOWN to boot! the suspense is killing me. I am on the edge of my seat. When will we know who wins?

Can we unveil on a Friday? This is too exciting. I need to go lie down...