Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Extra Cushion Alpaca Winter Boot Socks - with Video

The perfect partner in winter boot socks for your hiking boots or work boots, these cushioned mid-calf boot socks promise warmth and comfort during all your outdoor adventures. Make excellent hunting socks and fishing socks. Arch bands keep socks in place.

  • Comfort Control: Thick, warm socks with moisture-wicking comfort keep your feet dry all day.  Mid-calf height, stay in place while hiking (no sliding and bunching on your foot arch). Great women and mens boot socks.
  • Stays Put: Generous cuff band keeps the sock in place all day long. Excellent hunting socks.
  • Less Ouch: Padding clinically shown to reduce blisters, foot pain, pressures and odor.
  • Hypoallergenic: Specialty yarn blend to keep sensitive skin happy and odor-free.
  • Fabric: 46% Alpaca, 34% Acrylic, 15% Spandex, 5% Elastic
  • Care: Machine wash cold, Gentle, Tumble Dry Low or Line Dry 

Warm Arctic Over-the-Calf Alpaca Boot Socks - with Video

Luxurious warmth for cool temperatures.
Our tall cozy Arctic Winter Socks keep feet toasty all day and night. Treat your feet to the sumptuous experience and silky soft touch of alpaca in these women and mens boot socks.
  • Comfort Control: Moisture-wicking for warm, dry feet that stay comfortable in cold temperatures.  Heavy weight alpaca material cushions feet in boot socks to eliminate sweat, rubbing and blisters.
  • Stays Put: Generous cuff band keeps the sock in place all day long.
  • Warm Wear: Over-the-Calf tall socks designed to keep feet cozy in low temperatures.
  • Hypoallergenic: Specialty yarn blend to keep sensitive skin happy and odor-free.
  • Fabric: 60% Baby Alpaca, 40% Acrylic
  • Care: Machine Wash, Tumble Dry Low

Adventure Walking / Hiking Socks - Wicking, Breathing, Comfortable - with Video

Created with the multifaceted life of our modern wearers in mind, this go-anywhere crew sock is designed to get you to the office, couch, pavement or trail. Versatility is its middle name.

  • Comfort Control: Patented yarn construction and mesh instep panels keep your feet fresh, dry and breathing. Extra cushioned bottom with micro mesh vent panels on top of foot.
  • Stays Put: Double ankle compression bands keep the socks from slipping.
  • Versatile Wear: Conveniently soft double terry for the office, your work boots or lounging on the couch.
  • Hypoallergenic: Specialty yarn blend to keep sensitive skin happy and odor-free.
  • Fabric: 80% Alpaca Blend, 18% Nylon, 2% Lycra
  • Care: Machine Wash Cold, Tumble Dry Low


Extreme Warmth Winter Wind Stopper Hat - with Video

Extreme Warmth WindStopper Hat




The warmest hat you will ever wear – guaranteed.  
Whether you’re hitting the trails, the slopes, or the town, our WindStopper Winter Hats are built for keeping you cozy and warm when the temperatures drop. A great hat for men and women, the brimmed winter hat with ear flaps is versatile and comfortable.

Double layered, fully lined construction protects you from the fiercest cold while wicking away moisture and still allowing your skin to breathe. A WindPro Polar Fleece & Alpaca Hat, our Extreme Warmth Alpaca WindStopper Winter Hats are built to last and keep you warm for many years to come.
The hat brim protects your eyes from the sun without interfering with your peripheral vision and the protective neck cape provides the ability to guard the sides of your head, ears and neck from the elements when you need it most. If the weather warms, the brim and earflaps can both be folded up for full ventilation and more comfortable fit.
  • Comfort Control: Moisture-wicking, water-repellent and breathable for a warm, dry head that stays comfortable all day. These are the best women and mens winter hats available.
  • Perfect Fit: Bungee system and convertible visor and earflaps ensure the most custom, versatile fit.
  • Warm Wear: Durable and designed to easily transition from cool to extremely cold weather. An ideal hunter hat and fishing hat.
  • Hypoallergenic: Specialty dye-free, chemical-free alpacayarn to keep sensitive skin happy and odor-free.
  • Quality Guarantee: We guarantee this is the warmest winter hat you will ever own (applicable down to -20F) or your money back!
  • Fabric: 100% Alpaca exterior, PolarTec Wind Stopper 200 interior
  • Care: Hand wash, gentle soap. Lay flat to dry.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Use alpaca dryer balls as an alternative to dryer sheets - Here's Why-


By Jacob Stewart - College Avenue Magazine

If you find yourself rushing to Target on Sunday morning to grab a 25 count dryer sheet package which will eventually deteriorate your clothes away, there is a better alternative. Alpaca based dryer balls are a reusable, eco-sufficient solution which will save you the bi-monthly cost of dryer sheets.
Dryer sheets are specifically harmful to people with sensitive skin who often need hypoallergenic products. “[Dryer sheets] are often filled with harmful chemicals and perfumes that coat your clothing, eventually ending up on your skin,” 63-year-old alpaca ball designer, Tamara Curtis, said. Dyer balls can also be costly in the long term for a student on a budget.
Dryer balls are beneficial in a plethora of ways. They are known to decrease drying times by helping move clothes in the dryer faster and providing more air circulation, this ultimately saves money on utility bills. Similar to dryer sheets, dryer balls reduce static within clothes while still promoting fluffiness and soften clothing naturally. Dryer balls, typically, are made from local, ethically sourced alpaca which hold no harmful chemicals and hold benefits for those who are hypoallergenic.
“[Dryer balls] are recyclable, sustainable, and economic. One set can last you your entire life if you take care of them,” Colorado State University gap year student, Noah Basurto-Olsen, said.
As a tip, dryer balls can also be paired with 2 drops of your favorite essential oil to give your clothes a fresh, naturally scented boost. As we enter the flu season, 2 drops of the doTerra™ On-Guard oil will help boost your immune system and invigorate your body to fight against illness.
If the reusable and sustainable benefits do not sway you to change, the one-time cost is something to definitely take advantage of.

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Mountain "Roughing It" in Crandall Creek Cabin

After a few misread directions, we arrived at Crandall Creek Cabin in the Crazy Mountains of Montana.  24 miles from the nearest small, western town, my sister, her 3 kids and I (and Cali the St. Bernard of course) were ready for some wilderness vacation. Our Spring outings usually involve backpacking into the depths of the forests, jumping across flowing creeks and climbing steep mountains with a twinge of regret. 
Carrying all the essentials

This time, we drove up to our sweet little forest service cabin with a suburban and 2 horse trailer containing all the essentials we could not live without for four days – bicycles, motor bikes, chairs, games and floating tubes. 

Happy Campers
We arrived in the early afternoon and just after unpacking our vehicle, the rains set in.  The weather altered into hail occasionally, but wet skies either way kept us inside for the evening.  This was a perfect excuse to begin our marathon of board and card games, learning new ones and slightly altering a few old time favorites.

The next morning was beautiful and we headed out on a trail for a few hours before wandering down to nearby Crandall Creek for fishing, floating and dosing.  The squeaky door was about as ambitious of a task as I was willing to take on and a few squirts of Pam cooking spray and I had my one and only accomplishment of the day.

The next day we found another trail and headed up an old logging road towards Target Rock.  I have never had a knack for flowers’ names and apparently that was the day everything was to change.
We identified 30 different mountain flowers and again, I felt like I had nothing more I wanted to do or offer myself once we got back to the cabin except S'mores, games of Sorry and cribbage.  

An occasional bike ride or walk down to the creek for more water were all the breaks I needed between the kids’ laughter, the mountain’s silence and songs in my head.

Such a beautiful, quiet, amazing place.  We’ll be back to explore more next year.  











Breakfast of champions!

Headed to the creek to keep the cooler in the cold mountain water

The girls doing a happy dance as they explore the cabin

Just a little fishing





All three headed down to the creek with the floating raft for shade



Our campfire ring looking North to Target Rock

Serious cribbage games first thing in the morning

Sunrise on the last morning

Heading Home.  Cali is wiped out...

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Swift Wicking Alpaca Walking & Running Socks - XL Style




We now offer our Swift Wicking Alpaca Walking & Running Socks in XL size, which means we are able to give thousands of more movement enthusiasts a great walk, workout or day at the office.  While my legs have not run since the last day of high school gym class, these are a favorite when I hike, camp and go shopping downtown.  We guarantee they will be your favorite active socks.


Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Premature alpaca cria - get ready to be creative and act fast

Premature alpaca cria
By Linda Blake, Southern Alpacas Stud

Alpaca babies are lovely fluffy creatures, usually full of life and activity from birth. Occasionally one will be frail and flat - maybe because they are very small, or because they were premature, born before their due date, or dysmature, which is born on time but not yet ready for this world. These fragile cria need intensive care, to monitor their temperature and assist them feeding, if they are to survive.

Temperature regulation is essential.


Recently an early morning birther dropped her cria, five weeks early, and it did not move. It was only 10.5 lbs, which is regarded as below minimum survivable weight. It was so cold, that even after rubbing it dry in a heated barn; its rectal temperature did not register on the thermometer. Thermometers start at 89.6 degrees, so this cria was hypothermic, with his essential internal organs closing down.

Quick and decisive action was called for. We had just installed a spa pool, so I got into my bogs, put the cria into a large plastic bag to keep it dry, and together we had a warm spa! A helper held the top of the bag and kept the cria's head out of the water. The spa was at 96.8 degrees, and we had to get the cria to at least that temperature to fight the battle of survival.
Thirty minutes later and my deathly-still bundle of fluff began to move in my arms. He was christened "Maax", after the spa manufacturer, who later told us that it is recommended that pregnant women and children do not spent more than half an hour in a spa for precisely this reason, the rising of internal temperatures.


Frail, dysmature and premature cria cannot regulate their own temperature. Premature human babies are the same, and they have incubators to maintain a steady temperature. We have cria coats which we put on young cria when it is raining or cold. We also have a cria care area inside our barn, just big enough for a dam and her cria, and a human if necessary. Here we can keep them warm at night, dry during rain, and close for bonding together.
As well as keeping preemies warm, it is also important that they do not get too hot. A few days after his spa, Maax was lying stretched out in the hot summer sun, again very still. A check of the thermometer showed he was over 102.2 degrees, and the temperature was climbing into the fatal forties. We brought him inside to the air-conditioned office, where we could set the temperature lower for him. And it worked.



Assisting feeding
Fragile cria are often too weak and small to stand to feed from mom. Initially I give warm glucose water - two teaspoons of glucose dissolved in 60 mls of warm water. Glucose is absorbed as energy directly into the bloodstream, even if the gut is too tender to accept food. Glucose is the essential food for the brain to function effectively, to monitor and regulate all the processes in the body.
Cria also need colostrum to obtain the antibodies that will fight infection. The cria's stomach can only absorb this in the first 12-24 hours of life. It is in mum's first milk, and there are also artificial colostrum substitutes available.
Premature cria need feeding little and often - and for cria this means every two hours for the first day and night. After the first couple of days, if temperature is normal, and weight is being maintained, frail cria can be fed three-hourly for the next three days.

Bonding with mom
Usually we keep a mom and her cria together, as bonding between mom and cria is so important. For fragile cria, the interventions to regulate their temperature may mean taking a cria from its mom for a few hours.


The cria may then smell of humans. Avoid rubbing the cria's head or rump, near the tail, as the dam smells these areas to check that the cria is her own. Alpaca dams usually accept their babies back, unlike sheep, even after it has been handled by humans.

Watch warily
If you have a fragile cria, monitor it closely. Record all the interventions that you do, including how much it drinks. Note down what comes out the other end as well, as cria guts are the last organ to form, and may be tender or incomplete. Take its temperature regularly, remain vigilant, and take quick action.

The first week is the crucial time. If you can get a fragile cria to a week old, your chances improve that it will survive. Seeing the once fragile cria living out in the paddock, is ample reward for the all-consuming challenge of getting it up and going.


Monday, September 25, 2017

New Product Release - Alpaca Dress Socks for Men & Women

Classic Crew Alpaca Dress Socks




Soft, comfortable and elegant - classic to the core.
Your old black socks have met their match! Designed to be the new favorite staple in your sock drawer, this luxurious sock feels smooth against your skin and boasts a slim fit that keeps you cool and comfortable.
  • Comfort Control: Breathable and moisture-wicking for dry feet that stay comfortable from home to the office and back again.
  • Stays Put: Generous cuff band keeps the sock in place all day long.
  • Slim Fit: Designed with a flat toe seam to lie smoothly against your toes.
  • Easy Wear: Durable and wrinkle-resistant – made for busy people on-the-go.
  • Fabric: 50% Alpaca, 35% Acrylic, 12% Nylon, 3% Elastic
  • Care: Machine wash in cold, gentle, lay flat to dry.
    Size Chart
    Shoe SizesWomenMen
    Small 5-84-7 
    Medium8-107-9
    Large10-1210.5-12
    X-Large12-14
    Looking for a light weight sock with a little more snap?  Try our Striped Socks-

    Thursday, September 21, 2017

    Keep Warm this Fall with Diabetic Socks - with Video




    Keep Warm this Fall with Diabetic Socks


    Behold the fall. The changing leaves, the refreshing breeze,
    Over-the-calf alpaca Therapeutic Socks
    and the bursts of color − transformation is in the air.
    Along with the delightful and picturesque changes that come with the season, one less desirable characteristic of fall, especially for those with diabetes, is the return of cold feet. Diabetics are more prone to foot problems, and according to the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society, there are two main reasons why people with diabetes must be especially careful when it comes to the health of their feet:



    1. Diabetic neuropathy: A condition in which nerve function deteriorates in the body’s extremities” and leads to a gradual loss of feeling in the hands, arms, legs, and feet.
    2. Poor circulation: Diabetes causes the body’s arteries to become blocked and hard, thus limiting the amount of oxygen, nutrients, and blood that can be transported throughout the body.  Keeping your feet warm can help to improve blood circulation, which is beneficial for the skin and the health of nerves in the feet.
    Diabetic socks can play an important role in keeping your feet warm, and some socks are designed specifically to keep feet warm and to improve circulation. Diabetic socks are designed to be gentle, reducing the chance of damage to vulnerable feet and legs.

    Mid-Calf Alpaca Therapeutic Socks
    If you have diabetes and your feet are cold because of poor circulation, you may be tempted to warm them. Unfortunately, if your feet cannot feel heat, it is easy for you to burn them with hot water, hot water bottles, or heating pads. The best way to help cold feet is to wear warm socks.
    During the fall, warm days can quickly become a chilly night, and sweaty feet can as quickly become cold feet. Heat leaves your body much faster when your skin wet. Alpaca Therapeutic Socks wick perspiration away, leaving the foot dry and reducing the ability of fungi to grow.
    Diabetes can also cause blood vessels to restrict; decreasing circulation to the feet and making the feet feel cold.  The alpaca yarn that the sock is constructed from can made a huge difference in a diabetic’s foot health and comfort.  

    Alpaca Therapeutic Socks are created for those that prefer a more spacious, less-restrictive fit round their lower legs. These socks keep cold, aching feet comfy and cozy, and are especially great for diabetics, neuropathy, rheumatoid arthritis.

    There are many different types of socks for people with diabetes. Generally, they’re designed to minimize foot injuries and keep feet dry and warm. Finding the right pair means selecting socks that best meet your needs.  The toe seams on our socks are either non-existent or minimized to lessen the possibility of abrasion. All of our socks have nylon on the exterior to further reduce friction while walking.
    In addition to wearing the right diabetic socks, choosing shoes that fit well, keeping blood glucose levels under control and frequently checking your feet for signs of damage or changes will also help to improve your chances of keeping your feet warm and avoiding foot complications.

    Thursday, August 17, 2017

    Camping at Lake Louis -Part 2

     After two years of exploring other trails' mountain tops, my sister, her three kids and I decided to once again hike to Lake Louise in the Bitterroot Mountains. Getting a bit of a late start, we arrived at the trailhead around 3:30.   Previously we had hiked and camped in June, which is early for this trail because the snow has not fully melted. We did not see a single other person for three days. This time, it was the beginning of August and we knew there would be more competition for the limited amount of campsites because of the additional hikers and campers during this trek. This was indeed the case where seven other vehicles were also in the parking lot.
    Like a well practiced NASCAR team, we jumped out of our vehicle, doused excessive amounts of bug spray and sunscreen on our bodies, strapped on our packs (including the now 18 month old St.Bernard Cali) and were walking within eight minutes of putting the vehicle in park. We could hear distant voices behind us as we headed up the trail and we rambled up the mountain as quickly as possible. But inevitably, a couple of groups passed us over the several hour journey.
    4 1/2 miles later, we reached the summit and started looking around for a campsite at 6:30 in the evening. We assumed our favorite one was taken as five other people stood around the rock firering we pined after.  We came in a bit close and put down our packs. Generously , this group offered us the campsite, apparently seeing the disappointment on our face with their presence and said they would take another site across the lake. We thanked them and did a little happy dance.
    Looking out, it was smoky and the colors had significantly dulled compared to my memories several years before. We cooked dinner, set up our tent and crawled in for the evening.  In the morning the smoke had cleared. With the sun rising in the background, all the glory of the area with the emerald green color of the lake and sounds of the morning birds woke us to an amazingly Montana mountain day.
    We took our time walking around the lake, hopping boulders and sliding down a small snow glacier. Two of the kiddos even jumped in the lake for the promise of three Smore's each as a reward that night.
    The next morning, we packed up and once again headed down the mountain. We will be back again in a couple years to see the continuous and holding beauty of Lake Louise in the Bitterroot Mountains of Montana.

    Thursday, April 27, 2017

    Great Mother's Day Gift Ideas




    Gear up for the warmer months with walking / hiking sockslightweight beanies and around the fire blankets.   
    20% off all Hats & Socks - Promo Code:  20SPRING 

    Friday, April 21, 2017

    Getting Ready for Cria Alpaca Babies


    Cria Preparation

    As I was flipping through our calendar of the upcoming weeks and months, I realized that we suddenly have babies scheduled to arrive in the next 3 weeks.  With an expected total of half a dozen cria this year, several of them are coming in late May.  I prefer that most of our babies be born during June through August.  In Montana's small Summer window, we try to breed our girls a little earlier in case the pregnancy doesn’t take.  However, it seems that almost everyone took on the first go. So while we do have some that are due in later Summer, there are quite a few coming right around the corner.  

    Preparation

    Most of our girls will carry about 11 ½ months (341 days), give or take a week.  Usually they are quite consistent. If they delivered 3 weeks early last year, they will likely keep the same schedule.    

    We have a cria kit that is always ready to go.  We put our supplies in a portable file folder so it is water tight, dust free and easy to carry.

    One of the most important items we have are towels to dry the baby.  Hopefully, this will be the only item you use during the birth.  However, its good to have other items packed.

    Birthing/ Cria Kit  
    • Bottle of water-based, sterile lubrication
    • Plastic Gloves, both short and full arm length
    • Iodine – preferably at least 2.5% solution, liquid, or a spray bottle
    • Headlamp
    • Thermometer
    • Vet wrap to wrap the dam's tail out of the way
    • Umbilical cord clamp - or clothesline clip
    • Pocket knife
    • Stethoscope
    • Old towels if the cria needs to be rubbed dry and warm
    • Scales – bathroom ones, or hanging cria scales
    • Portable phone and vet's phone number
    • Bucket and plastic garbage bag for placenta collection
    • Cria coat – put on if there is any cool weather or breezy 

    Because of the coolness of the Spring nights – and occasionally snow days in April and March, we also have an 8’ x 8’ pen set up in our garage just in case.  Many times if the weather is not cooperative, we have the mom and baby spend the night in the garage just to keep the baby as comfortable as possible. This is crucial for premature babies who have a hard time regulating their body temperature.  

    The best way to become prepared is try to make it to a birth off of the farm with an experienced breeder (duh-of course, but this usually isn’t an option).  A great book I would highly recommend to just about everyone is Llama and Alpaca Neonatal Care by Bradford Smith, Karen Timm and Patrick Long.  It is informative, step-by-step in layman’s terms that everyone can comprehend.  Get it!

    Watch for signs of the baby.  Most of the time, you will not need to do anything, but it is helpful to be nearby just in case.






    Wednesday, March 29, 2017

    What to do with all of that alpaca fleece - Fiber Co-ops

    As I have written over the years, alpaca fleece is a versatile material that can be created into many  - from end use alpaca hats and alpaca socks like we sell as well as felting, dryer balls, felted soaps, insulation and other creative items.  It all depends on what you want to do with it.  However, if you are raising alpacas for pure joy and not overly interested in personally expanding into the secondary market, one of the easiest ways is to send your fleece to a fiber co-op.

    At this time, they are few and far between and most likely not in your hometown (or state). But, as alpaca is being "discovered" the the U.S. and the industry grows, so does the demand.

    A couple of options to look into:

    ACOA - Alpaca Coalition of America - is a straight forward program there you send off a fleece and you receive a check (usually there is a 15% margin that goes to the processors).

    NEAFP - New England Alpaca Fiber Pool - is a combination of fiber collection and making of finished goods.

    As always, the more you put into your fleece (time or money or both), the more you will get out of it. If you shear it and send it to a co-op for someone else to deal with it, your overall gross and likely your net will be smaller.  If you take the time to wash and/ or card and/or spin and/ or knit your fleece, you could receive more.  Nails on a chalkboard could be preferred to any or all of these steps to some, and that is why the co-ops could be a great option for you to get the fleece out of your attic / garage / barn, a little money in your pocket and have someone utilize / wear / enjoy your fleece.

    Monday, March 6, 2017

    Washing Alpaca Fiber


    Washing Alpaca Fiber


    By Linda Kernstock, Sage Critter Alpacas

    One of the most popular questions I receive is, " How do I wash my fiber?"

    I wash my alpaca fiber in big livestock water tanks.  We simply use hot tap water and Ajax dish soap.  We use Ajax because it is the cheapest surfactant dish soap that I have been able to find.  By the ounce from Wal-Mart (in the big bottles) it is even cheaper than the bulk I have been able to find online.  It seems too simple, but it works well for me and I wash a little over a thousand pounds of fiber a year!  (note:  you will see Equate hand soap in some of the pictures, I don’t use that to wash, we use that for felting…. it is NOT a surfactant and it will not be effective in removing  grease from your wash fibers).

    SUDSY WASH OF FIBER IN THE MILL
    The next question is:  “How much soap do you use?”  

    Well the beautiful part of using Ajax is it will not scorch or dry out your fibers, so you cannot damage the fiber by putting too much in.  If the fleece is small poundage (under 4 pounds) and not too dirty, I use “one big squeeze”.  
    Right... that is where people go “Huh?”  
    It is as specific as I can get!  I use one big squeeze and it makes a coffee cup saucer size spread of soap in the bottom of the tub.  
    Then I take my hose and spray the soap to make it bubble and foam.  When I have enough water, about 25 gallons, I add the fiber and push it under the soap bubbles until every piece is wet.  With suri or mohair, this may take a little bit of wiggling with your fingers to get it to separate enough to adsorb the water.
    I like to let this initial wash sit for a whole night.  It makes a big difference with the alpaca fleeces if you let one of the washes sit overnight.  Those dirty buggers love to roll and sitting in the wash seems to allow more of the sand and stuff to drop off the fleece.
    Next we move the fleece to the second wash.  Adding soap the same way we did before.  Question #3 is:  “How do you move the wash?”  =)  

    Well, we are pretty simple, we just put our hands in the water and pull out a clump and squeeze it and toss it into the next wash tub!
    MOVING THE WASH FROM ONE TUB TO ANOTHER


    See…… simple.  When the tub is mostly empty of fiber, I use a strainer, or colander, to drag around in the water to catch the little bits.  Then I turn the colander upside down over the drain hole after I pull the plug.  This helps to keep much fiber from going down the drain.  I like a metal mesh type colander the best.
    For the second wash, there is no need to leave the fiber in for a night… only 30 minutes or so.  Longer will not hurt, but it can be a short wash.  Then, on to the rinse tub.  Move it the same as previously described.

    RINSE TUB WITH FIBER IN THE MILL

    The rinse tub is the same hot water, but no soap.  Here we use a little tablespoon of Syntholube.  This helps us keep the static down when the fibers are running through the big machines.  You don’t usually need this product for home / hand spinning projects.  Do NOT add conditioner to the fibers.  Conditioner coats your fibers and if you are going to felt them, they will not felt correctly.  In addition when you spin them, they will not hold the twist as well.
    Please, please, please, take the fiber OUT of the rinse BEFORE the water gets cold.  You don’t want any leftover grease cooling back onto the fibers before you pull it out of the water!
    Squeeze this tub really well when you take it out to put it on a drying rack.  If you have a spin dryer, those are a dream at this point.   The more water you squeeze (or spin) out the shorter the drying time.
    DRYING FIBER IN THE MILL
    We use wooden racks with chicken wire on it.  There are fans at the far left end (you can’t see them in the picture) that I turn on to help speed up the drying time.  Direct sunlight on a warm day speeds up drying tremendously as well.
    Spread the fiber out thin and it dries a lot faster!  You can see I have some dry batches bundled up in piles here, but the white thin one is freshly washed I am trying to dry in the picture.
    No, you don’t have to wash in livestock tubs.  You can use buckets, bathtub or utility sinks.  Anything big enough to hold the fiber you have to wash.  We do big loads here, so we use big tubs.
    Yes, people tell me you can wash in a top-load washing machine.  I don’t know how to do that, you will have to look online for those instructions.  =)
    When we have to wash bison or sheep wool (which is MUCH greasier with lanolin than alpaca), we use a stronger soap called:  ECCOSCOUR EF-312 CONC  – A biodegradable, non-ionic detergent and scouring agent for both natural and synthetic fibers. The emulsification system is produced solely from derivatives of natural plant & animal products. ECCOSCOUR EF-312 CONC has a pleasant citrus smell and does not contain any petroleum or chlorinated solvents, alkyl phenols, phosphate, glycol ethers or other chemicals that are hazardous to the environment.”  (Eastern Color website.)  Use Eastern Color and Chemical Co. in the first wash.  Otherwise, you have to wash a sheep fleece up to 6-7 times in ajax to get through the lanolin, which is a lot of work.

    Admittedly, I do not like to use much of the eccoscour, and we are lucky we don’t have to.  It smells different and sometimes that gives me a bit of a headache.

    I hope this helps.  Nothing fancy, simple process, easy to do at home.  =)