Curtin Farms first got started in the alpaca business in the spring of 2011. Our son, Laird, found an interest in alpacas and asked if we could get some for the farm. We started off with four females named Margo, Micha, Maggie, and Savi. After a couple of months of the alpacas getting aclimated to the farm, we decided to grow our little alpaca herd. Later that year we added our breeding male, Ziggy, and our two geldings, FireCracker and Guss to the family. After about 11 months of Ziggy getting acquainted with the females, we had two baby alpacas or "crias," born into our herd. Now we have 11 alpacas and hopefully two more this September. We still countiue to learn everyday about our alpacas' personalities and how they behave with one another.
In the Beginning
In the above picture you have each stage of the "From Fleece to Fiber" cycle. On the far left is the raw fleece straight off the animal. Next, in the middle, is the roving. The roving is the fleece after it has been cleaned and the fibers have been aligned. Lastly, on the far right is the finished yarn.
For some people it may be hard for them to figure out which alpaca is which, but when you are around them as often as we are, you can almost tell who they are by how they sound.
The Yarn Process
Many people are astonished by how the whole process works "From Fleece to Fiber". However, it is actually a very neat and easy process. We start in the spring by getting the alpacas sheared. We do this for two reasons: to use this fleece to turn into yarn, and to get rid of the alpacas' winter coats. The next step is to clean and align the fibers that we cut from the alpacas to create roving, a more refined fleece product. From this step we turn the roving into yarn used to knit and crochet. When we first began, this was completed by shearing specialists; however, we now spin the roving into yarn here at Curtin Farms.