Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How to knit a rug

I make and sell rug yarn that is spun over a cotton core for strength and durability.  100 yd approx bump will knit a rug approx 2ft x 3ft. It is very easy to knit a rug with this yarn - so here is a quick little pattern to help you get started.  Interested in purchasing the yarn ?  You will find it at my store HERE

Rug Yarn Bump - 100% alpaca over cotton core - dyed 
US#50 needles or larger 

- Cast on 20 stitches
- Knit one row
- *Slip first stitch (as if to purl with yarn in front), knit 19 stitches*
- Repeat * until you have either reached desired length or you have about 5 yards left
- Bind off loosely
- Weave in ends

Here is what the finished product looks like (note - these pics were taken before the rug was blocked or fringe added)

Stitch Detail

Finished rug before blocking

What a Mentor Gets out of a Mentee

I was stuck for what to write as a blog post today and posted that question to Facebook - one of my clients and friend, Meredith responded with a great suggestion and that is why I am writing this today.

Being a mentor has benefits. . . I have been in the alpaca business since 2002 and have learned a lot along the way. I began mentoring with the first sale of alpacas to a newbie. Not being totally prepared for the questions - I had to "step up my game". His questions taught me a lot and solidified my ideals and my understanding of herd health, fiber and other things. Over the years I have refined my mentoring and have created several proprietary documents for my newbie clients to enjoy. Over the next 6 months, I plan to brain dump the rest of the knowledge that is in my head and spiral bind it for my existing and new clients in order to have a "handbook" they can refer to when they feel they would rather read than call or text me.  I am also writing a book about yarn that should be out this summer and my clients will receive an advance copy :)  The book is titled "Alpaca Yarn - From Mating to Market to Profit"

The benefits I have received as a mentor are numerous. As I stated, it solidifies my knowledge but it also gets me off my butt to teach more and document more ! It also allows new ideas and creativity to flow. Being in the business a while, I guess I am set in my ways and when someone suggests something new (that should be obvious to me),  I am so excited, because I no longer see things through newbie's eyes. I also have a lot of support from my current newbie clients as they all have children and are a host of "Mommy" info!!   I am a bit behind on mentoring this year because of the baby - but I plan to make up for it this fall !!!

I plan on doing a host of seminars this fall for my clients on marketing, business plans, sorting fiber and anything else they would like to see , hear, or learn.  They get the benefit of my experience and are in the Alma Park circle. My clients never pay for seminars at my farm given by me !  And when there is an outside speaker they pay a discounted rate. 

I did not have the benefit of a mentor when I started in the business and had to learn all myself - I think it set me back several years in both breeding and fiber.  I vowed to not let that happen to people that purchase animals from me.

Being a mentor has its drawbacks . . . being a mentor can also have drawbacks.  In the past, I have shared knowledge freely as I do now and on more than one occasion, people have taken it as pushy or overbearing and the relationship was strained.  I am a opinionated person who is happy to share knowledge, and I tend to have trouble with people who lack confidence or are simply unhappy all the time or are unrealistic.   This was true when I was in corporate America as well.   Those are not my ideal mentees and I am not the ideal mentor for them .  Buying alpacas is a choice (not like a job)  and it should be happy (for the most part) and you should love it!!!!   I have since learned to pick my clients more carefully.   Buying alpacas is a two way street.  The buyer is getting more than animals, they are getting a relationship with me.  Please see my blog entry on buying on value.   The mentor/mentee has to have personalities that mesh!  This is a big world and not everyone meshes with everyone.   My most important piece of advice to a newbie is try to evaluate who you are buying from and see if you can "mesh" with this person - you will be building a relationship !  My clients know usually from our first meeting that I am no nonsense, no BS and NO hard sell.   I am not the type who will stand around a tree and sing Kumbaya with the fuzzy creatures, but I will be there for them and hold their hand through a loss, showing, breeding and birthing and answer any questions until they are ready to leave the nest - and then we will still converse about ALL things alpaca but on a more even level.  

I consult (for a fee) to people who have purchased animals from other people and actually screen clients prior to taking them on . . . someone unrealistic can simply not mesh with me and I don't want to take their money and allow them to have a bad experience. I also will no longer sell to people who have not done their homework or simply want something cute - they are not successful and that makes a bad mentee and causes stress for both of us. 

I have created a successful fiber business, show animals and receive awards and championships and sell animals  . . . it takes work on your part to be successful, but I have the knowledge to have my clients succeed as this is the biggest mark of my success!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

A teen show all about an alpaca

Appartently aired in 2007 (I don't watch Teen Nick) all about a girl's alpaca.   It is a cute episode even though they keep referring to the alpaca as a "pet" and allow him to eat an ice cream cone.

Click HERE to view the full episode.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Spin One Get One™

Just formed a new Facebook Group to bring Fiber Growers and Spinners together.  The Facebook group is called "Spin a pound get a pound™" The concept is simple. . .  bring fiber growers and spinners together. The concept is simple - if you have fleece/roving/top etc that you want spun - put out a post. A spinner who is interested should post or email you. You spin a pound for the grower and you keep the other pound for yourself.  Smaller or larger quantities is allowed.  Also - if you have raw fleece that needs prep and you are a grower - you may want to offer the spinner a little more.  It is an honor system, but I think it is a great idea!!    If you are a spinner - please post in the group as well that you are available!

Click HERE to join the group!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Please Vote !! No Registration Required

I entered my "Pure Alpaca Purse" in the 2011 Natural Fibers Showcase sponsored by the Camelid Quartely Magazine. 

It is entry #251 and the description is :
This purse is knitted from 100% brown and black alpaca yarn using our own exclusive fiber. The purse is an original design and combines mitered squares which are attached to give the purse interest and depth of texture. The handle is several knitted i-cords wrapped around cotton roping and braided for strength. The purse is lined with a coordinating cotton fabric for strength and protection of the knitted purse. 
The yarn is 100% alpaca made from fiber from our own animals!! Balthasar and Brandy.  

Please vote for it. . . . you do NOT need to be an alpaca/llama person.  You also do not need to register or give ANY info on the site - just click "Vote" on the button to the right of the listing.  THANKS!!! 

Click here  to vote - scroll down or search for "Pure Alpaca Purse".  Here are some other pics for you to see.

Mitered Squares in Black and Brown Alpaca with I-Cord handle

Fully lined in cotton in a beautiful coordinated fabric

3 I-Cords are covering cotton core material for strength and braided for beauty