Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Alpaca extravaganza!

This weekend, Madison, WI hosted the 7th annual (news to me, just learned about it) Great Midwest Alpaca Festival.  My folks were up visiting for the weekend, and what better tourist destination than the GMAF? Well, potentially a lot of things considering we had no clue what it would be like. I was fairly confident that fiber would be involved, so at least one person in our party was sure to be pleased.

The entire coliseum floor was set up for alpaca showing.

As far as actually the competition, it seemed like 4-H exclusively for adults and their alpacas (OK, being from the midwest I naturally assume that everyone knows what 4-H is. Think county/state fair, kids can show off livestock that they helped to raise and various other skills. Oh, you didn't grow up in the sticks? Well bully for you).

In the ring.

They had a silent auction to raise funds for like, orphaned alpacas or something, and I bid on a wool/alpaca felted hat:


And won due to the fact that my dad is possibly the nicest person on earth and went and upped my bid at the last minute. I talked to the guy who makes these hats and he was pretty awesome.

And the alpacas were just cute.

Cute!

Super cute!

Hungry cute!

Suri cute!

Whoa!  Cute only if the service is NOT for the guy in the vest.

Really, the coolest part was hobnobbing with the local folks raising alpacas and/or working with the fiber. There were people from every farming state in the US, but a fair number of them were from Wisconsin and many of them had brought some good looking fiber with them. I tried to go easy on the yarn buying (I wanted IT ALL) and I think I got off pretty easy--Shady Haven's Fiber Designs was selling gorgeous undyed yarn:


And it was an absolute steal. I usually think of buying local and getting a bargain as mutually exclusive goals, but somehow they pulled it off. Maybe they're using child labor or something.*

So I got an invitation to a farm, signed up for a felting class, got some sweet stash, and entertained my visitors for an afternoon.. All in all, worth the $6 for parking (maybe a little more).

*The views and opinions of AC from AC Engineered Knits are for entertainment purposes only. I don't think that Shady Haven's Fiber Designs is actually using child labor.

9 comments:

  1. Sounds like you had an amazing time! Those white alpacas are unbelievably cute!

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  2. Big LOL @ your disclaimer and the stud service that dude is providing. *shudder*

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  3. lol - gotta love when pics liven up copy. :)

    And love that undyed fiber - I'd have wanted that too.

    BTW, my pillow pattern is available - I have a link on my site in the patterns/textiles section. However, it's a crochet pattern. I don't know if you crochet. If you don't, but want to knit a pillow cover, I'd check out Yarnplay by Lisa Shobhana Mason. She does several different sizes of pillows that are very straightforward but pleasing. She's got a very clean, modern aesthetic, and she's even got one pillow that uses up bits of stash. :)

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  4. wow, how very cool :-) Alpacas seem smaller than you'd think.

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  5. That sounds like it was a lot of fun!I love the alpacas their faces are so cute and their yarn amazing. I am knitting myself a sweater and I'm using Suri alpaca from Peru, so nice!

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  6. What a fun day you had! We have a couple of alpaca farms near us and it's always fun to visit them.

    I enjoyed reading your blog this afternoon.

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  7. What an excellent way to spend a day. The alpacas are so cute.

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  8. Holy crap. So much cute. Everywhere.

    And undyed yarn is my absolute favorite. If I knew where your stash was located, I would probably try to steal that skein from you. (Honesty is the best policy, no?)

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