Yesterday I helped a fellow alpaca owner shear 25 animals in less than four hours. She hires a professional shearer, but you still need several people to help. The shearer brought his own "headman", which was his daughter. I tell you it was poetry in motion, a perfectly coreographed dance. His daughter knew exactly where to position the animal, moving the head and ears in the perfect series of moves so that the shearer could just keep shearing. It is highly efficient, but also beautiful!
As the "bag lady", I was sort of part of it. You have to watch the shearer, move the garbage fiber out of the way so that the good stuff he will be cutting doesn't fall on top, (you don't want to mix the good and the bad) then get the good fiber bagged before he starts on the bad again. There is a particular step in the process where you better grab the fiber then get your hand out of the way, because he is going to put his foot there and you'll get stepped on. I always managed to avoid that.
The wonderful fringe benefit of being the bag lady? My hands were immersed in warm alpaca fiber for most of the day! My friend has breeding animals, both huacaya and suri, ranging from a 14 year old dark silver gray herdsire to a light fawn cria that I wanted to take home with me. Beautiful animals, with beautiful fiber.
I was able to pull the truck into the barn where we were working, and Mom sat in the truck watching/napping. I outfitted her with coloring books, magazines, a few snacks, and she was happy as a clam. It worked out well. It was a wonderful day. They took us out for Mexican food after, and Mom made tortilla chip art. I didn't have my camera though.
I also finished the ploomed scarf/shawl. It is 8" by 63".
I need to find a better model, the chair doesn't work the best. Here, it is closed with a red oak shawl stick.
A close-up of the texture.