Monday, May 11, 2009

We Interrupt This Shetland Blog...

for a weekend of Alpaca shearing. This is my friend Jeannette Miller's place. As you can see she raises alpacas and has tons of them! Shearing started last Thursday and went till Sunday. I go to town and shop with my Mom on Thursdays and had a guild meeting on Saturday so only helped two days. Thank goodness I had a day off in between helping. After Friday from 8:30 am till 4:00 pm of bending over my legs were soooo sore!
These are some of the girls. We sheared mostly females and then the show fleeces on Sunday. When I first saw several years ago how they lay the animals out and pull their legs I wasn't sure shearing alpacas was so nice. Then when your dealing with the long legs and slender necks you get a better appreciation about the safety in this way of doing things. Three people hold the alpaca as she stands on the mats. David the shearer slips a noose on each leg then he pulls the ropes and we help her down slowly and stretch out her legs. Zack gets a towel and puts it under her head and sits there holding her head.
My job is to trim her feet and hold her hips if she begins to jump around. David shears the blanket off first (mid-body). Megan and Jeannette and/or I gather the fleece as it comes off. Then the seconds come off, leg and neck, and placed in a separate bag. Any fiber too short to keep is in the garbage.

Next picture is Prince in the back ground and his show fleece in front of him. Wow he is just over one year old and this is his tui fleece. (tui fleece is their first fleece like hogget fleece in sheep talk. You can see this is just the middle of his body and his legs and neck will be sheared next.
Shearing a show fleece takes twice as long. In the picture below Mystified is half way done with his show fleece. The first half is folded over like David is doing with the second part. It took two people to hold the first part and two people to roll Mystified over so we could keep the fleece from separating in the middle. The first half and Megan are sitting on a shower curtain. Once the second part is free of Mystified body we roll him back straighten out the fleece and it is folded and rolled in the shower curtain. Mystified has a few Grand champion ribbons for his past fleeces, even at the Alpaca Nationals, I believe it was last year.

Below is the last alpaca sheared. A not so happy older girl who hates shearing!! It was decided to let her stand, her fleece is not one to keep, very course, and she has a towel over her mouth because "not so happy" alpacas can scream, kick and SPIT green crap everywhere! She did not scream much nor did she kick but the towel was green and wet by the end of the shearing and we were happy the day was done! In four days David sheared 89 alpacas with 5 show fleeces.
Big job I'd say. This last stand up shearing was a big help from all the bending over.


Can't leave without showing you Apollo a future show 'paca sporting his new Lolly Pop cut.

7 comments:

~~Sittin.n.Spinnin said...

I have wondered how that was done! Thank you for the tutorial :)

Carolyn said...

Looks like back-breaking work. Very methodical, though - looks like a good way to keep the fleece whole. I always thought they were strapped to a table on it's side, then tilted over so the animal was on his side and you could shear without leaning over. The show cut is so funny/cute all in one.

Nancy K. said...

That fleece looks beautiful but I think I'm glad that I didn't buy any alpacas!

;-)

Fiber Floozie said...

Thanks for showing this. I've seen it done with a table but not like this.Looks like a lot of work but in a good kind of way.

Sharon said...

Loved this post, though I know it was hard work. Apollo looks like a huggable toy.

Sharon said...

Hi Mim, I tagged you for a Meme in my May 17th post.

Jenny Holden said...

You've got a blogging award! Go to my blog to see!