I always love to skirt the fiber from our black male alpaca, Jazzman. His fiber is soft, crimpy, and consistent across his entire blanket and feels almost buttery to the touch. Beautiful sheen and felts into lovely fabric. This is what we seek in our alpaca herd.
Jazz was the first alpaca born at Whispering Spirit Alpacas. His mother Morning Shadow was one of the first three animals we bought and she had been bred to a beautiful black male, Magicman. We of course were just beginning our herd. We had to call the woman from whom we had purchased our three alpacas to have her remind us how to count from the breeding date to the expected birthing date of our first cria (the name for an alpaca baby). We checked Shadow two or three times a day for a couple of weeks. One day I was not able to run past the ranch during the midday (alpacas usually give birth in the morning) so my sister Patti did the cria check. When she arrived, the birth was in process. She, the two other alpacas (Princess and Angie), and our recently arrived great pyrenees pups (Butch and Sundance) watched Jazz arrive into the world.
Jazzman was a healthy simple birth, thank heavens, because none of us would have known what to do. He got right up and nursed. Neighboring alpaca owners came to check him out and decreed him to be perfect and beautiful.
He is a gentle and affectionate alpaca friend (not all are), easy to care for and to be entranced by. We entered him into alpaca shows, which was again a first for us. We had never even been to an alpaca show let alone enter an animal. Handling an alpaca in a show ring is not an easy task, we learned. To our surprise and delight, he took blue ribbons and and won color champion awards in each despite our inexperience!
Although he has not turned out to be a successful breeder, his fleece is our favorite for making our fabric because it felts superbly and has such luster! One of my favorite creations with Jazz’ fiber is The Sophisticate. Pictured below is a new jacket made from his fibers, which is part of our Whispirit fall offerings. Should we name this? Jazchique? Keep an eye open. We also make a similar jacket using his mother’s fibers, which felt into a warm dark grey. Til next time – Sandy