Alpacas live the good life so folks can stay warm

Alpaca farming
Published: Jun. 22, 2022 at 6:12 AM EDT
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Emily Griffin went to Rock Hollow Farm in Hermon to meet some four-legged producers who create yarn, hats, and socks.

HERMON, New York (WWNY) - “My boy, Pitt, here. Hi buddy! That’s Pitbull. He was born during an evening of a Pitbull concert,” Rock Hollow Farm owner Dayna Lancaster said, introducing her alpacas.

“This is Fluff. He’s truly a wimp on the inside. My oldest boy, Alejandro. We call him Allie. And we have Marcus, and this is Sam and Spot. Then we have Ahab over here, our surfer boy. And in the back we have Tuxedo.”

These are the Rock Hollow boys. Their sole purpose in life is to chill out -- and grow their coats.

“They are known as fiber boys,” Lancaster said. “They are shorn like sheep once a year and I use their fiber then and process it to make yarn. Alpaca fiber, unlike a wool, is smooth, hollow fiber, so it is warmer than wool because it will trap heat in the individual strands of fiber and keep you warmer.”

Once the boys are shorn, their fiber is sent to a mill. Then the magic can happen.

“When the alpaca are shorn, we gather their fiber from the floor and put it into bags, so this one is labeled fluff and blanket. And it becomes this wonderful cloud of super softness.”

Spinning yarn has been a craft since the 13th century. It’s an art not many people know how to do anymore.

“They don’t envision that there are new modern wheels and what you can do with different types of fiber,” Lancaster said.

But at Rock Hollow, hand spinning makes the already unique product even more special.

Not only is the gift giver given the gratification that they’re giving a quality product to somebody, it comes with a story.

And don’t worry, the alpacas take all the credit.

“This is their gig,” Lancaster said. “They make it all. That’s why I say this is yarn by Pitt. There is yarn by Sam. This is yarn by Tux. Because I don’t make it, they did.”

Lancaster says for her, it’s a joy to keep the old craft alive. As for the alpacas, they seem pretty pleased as well.

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