Thursday, June 21, 2007

alpaca fan club meets now

To sum up, the friends & family, pizza truck & cupcakes were fabulous. Even the weather, which freaked us out by dumping a sudden storm an hour before the 100 guests arrived, was just perfect for the outdoor party. Roasted plum and carmelized onion pizza is genius. In case you were wondering. Thanks for the bday wishes! I still have a week to go, I am relatively youthful.

In real time, I've been on the road and back and gone for Shear Spirit and other projects. This will come to a screeching halt in July, when I'll be tethered to my computer, whining and whimpering, doing the production work.
But let us not dwell in the near future! Let us dwell in the near past when I went to New Mexico to photograph a big sprawling mountain top alpaca ranch.

I learned a long time ago not to have pre-set notions about my subjects.I figured here I was exempt. Northern New Mexico is one of my favorite locations so I thought it'd be all about the sense of place.
So Very Wrong. The land and setting were stunning but it was all about the people. I meet THE BEST people in my work.

This is a mother/daughter alpaca ranching team.

I discovered that alpaca are (arguably) the most lovable of the fiber animals. Sorry sheeps, I love ya but , the alpaca are so cute and friendly, you wonder if they are actually big cleverly disguised puppets. I mean, look at these two.
I wonder if Jim Henson met any alpaca before he got to work?

A further discovery: the more I visit fiber farms, the more I'm falling in love with natural, undyed fibers.skein I went through a long, hippy-girl naturals only knitting phase a while (OK a long while) ago. Then I learned that gray looks better on a sheep than it does on me, since then I gravitate to strong colors. At this ranch, about half of the yarn they sell is handspun, soft and beautiful and they keep track of which alpaca it came from. See the little tag ? This is all the more impressive if you know they have a couple hundred of the creatures on hand.

As I was leaving, the lovely generous rancher insisted I choose two skeins. I think I've mentioned how indecisive I am ? I was struck silly and under pressure to move fast, to make a 3 hour drive to the airport in less than 3 hours which you know isn't such a great idea even without the added pressur eof choosing luxury yarn. Idiotically I chose two entirely different skeins because I loved them each so much. Now back at sea-level I realize I have maybe 300 yards each of a rosey-brown and of a brown & white, a bit like the one above. Maybe mittens & a scarf that sort of go together? Its too warm to knit alpaca now so I'll let it ferment till the fall.

There was a spinning workshop going on too while I was there, and I met two cool spinning sisters, and a knitting cowboy designer, but I'm saving the rest for the book. Just a few months to go...


Carole Knits said...

The photo of the alpaca all lining up is terrific. I'm so glad you're enjoying this adventure.

Marsha said...

I've just come across your blog recently and enjoy it so much. I can't wait to see your book and all the photography that you've collected for it. What you are sharing in the blog is gorgeous!!

kmkat said...

I love that photo of the alpacas along the fence. They remind me of the cows coming home at milking time. Not that I ever lived on a dairy farm. It's my new desktop wallpaper.

Mia said...

I love the photo of the alpaca lined up at the fence. It is like they are looking at something you can't see.

Alpaca do look like they might be puppets especially when they are sheared.

And I love the natural color of alpaca yarn. It is so much nicer than undyed sheep.

Cookie said...

I'm so glad the party went well and that your travels are going so well. While you aren't looking forward to being strapped to your computer, I'm looking forward to "seeing" more of you.

Now I want my own alpaca. Think I'm zoned for that? *L*


Carol said...

I never tire of alpaca pictures. they are so cute! And you are right, I never thought of the Muppet connection. Things that make you go "Hmmmmmm..."

Azraela said...

Those alpaca are too funny. The black one has such a goofy expression!

kt said...

Go, Gale, Go!

See Gale GO!

Shoot, Gale, shoot!

Snap, click, Whirr!

See where Gale went!

Wait, wait, wait.

Wait for Gale's book.

(will have juice and animal crackers, then nap on mat while waiting for book.)

(feigning patience here)(grins)

eyeleen said...

Gorgeous creatures! They really do look like muppets.

Mary said...

The photo of the lined up alpacas -- an Alpaca Chorus Line. Love the photos!