On April 29, guild members car pooled to Brenham and Navasota for a field trip to an alpaca farm and a fiber mill with a lunch stop at Martha’s Bloomers.
Dawn Brown of the Independence Fiber Mill in Brenham set up the different equipment so she could show us the process. I have a better feel for the work required to check the fleece and remove the areas with a lot of vegetable matter to go to another place that can handle it, then take the fleece to wash it, dry it, several steps that separate and fluff, eventually spin it, twist plies together, etc. She basically runs an artisan mill and is willing to work with fleeces that other mills don’t want to attempt. She has worked with some ranchers that have rescued rare breeds to help change the fleece into something usable including from sheep, goats and of course, alpacas.
The alpacas at Rancho Incas Alpacas (a Navasota ranch owned by CHH members Bill and Mario) were happy to be petted and hugged.
Thanks to Fern Handler for setting up the field trip to the alpaca farm and the mill. Jan Day provided the comments above and all the photos. Click on a photo to see it larger.