PLYMOUTH, Ill. (AP) — A western Illinois alpaca breeder said she’s found her art through working with the animals’ luxurious fibers.
Lindsey Moore is showcasing the alpacas at her farm in Plymouth during National Alpaca Farm Days. Moore, who owns a total of 53 Suri and Huacaya alpacas, said she first fell in love with the animals’ eyes and personality.
But she also loves the fiber: the soft silky sheen of Suri and the fluffier Huacaya.
“To me, it’s like making a color palette for someone to paint with, but instead they’re spinning it into yarn or felting with it,” Moore said. “It makes me feel good.”
Moore told the Quincy Herald-Whig that she was responding to a demand for better-priced alpacas in the area when she started breeding alpacas in recent years. Her alpacas sell from $500 to $2,000, but Moore said that other farms sell their alpacas for as much as $12,000.
Visitors to her Little Creek Alpacas property during the recent National Alpaca Farm Days met some of her animals, learned about their fiber, watched spinning and felting demonstrations and bought alpaca textiles.
Alpaca fiber can be processed into yarns for a number of uses including in clothes, toys and rugs.
Shearing takes place once a year, usually at the end of April. The males can produce 5 to 7 pounds of fiber, and the females yield 2 to 4 pounds.
Moore said alpaca fiber is popular because it wicks moisture, is stain resistant and antimicrobial. Antimicrobial products kill or slow the spread of microorganisms.
Alpacas will let humans pet them — as long as the humans are patient. Moore describes them as catlike and aloof.
“I tell people the best thing to do is sit in a chair at dusk with a camera or a book, and they’ll come up to you on their own,” she said. “It’s really hard to do, but the first time they come up, try not to rub their neck. Let them sniff you, kiss you. Eventually they’ll let you do the neck rub. Some let you right away. Some take forever and are always kind of skittish.”