Farm Focus: Autumn Hill Llamas and Fiber

Happy 4th of July!

This weekend: llamas!! I heard from Emaly at Autumn Hill Llamas and Fiber  and I’m very pleased to share the following interview with her. We have not yet heard much about llamas on this blog, and I’ve always thought of them as terrific guard animals for sheep (which they are); as I recall, Barb Parry has some funny and endearing stories about her llama in Adventures in Yarn Farming. Emaly raises her llamas for fiber and she notes that they are great for so many jobs around the farm and in the community. I had a lot of fun looking through her Facebook albums (from which the following pictures were taken) and imaging the big personalities of these animals–particularly the image at the lower right in which a llama is having some fun! I hope you enjoy learning more about llamas and Autumn Hill Llamas and Fiber!

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How did your farm/operation get its start?
My parents decided to get a few llamas after renting them in the mountains out west to carry our stuff on a backpacking trip.  My mom had been weaving since college, so we planned to use them for packing and fiber, and my sister and I would show them in 4-H.  Everyone says that llamas are like potato chips…you can’t have just one.  Our herd grew from 4 to 14, and we started a breeding program with a focus on fiber.  We got more involved in shows and learned to spin and knit.  As our herd grew we began to expand the fiber side of the business.  Now I have my own farm in upstate New York and am excited to expand the operation in the future!

What kinds of fiber animals do you raise and why?
My farm raises llamas as fiber producers (among other uses).  Llamas are a very versatile livestock, so you can use them for more than just fiber.  They make great pack animals (with training of course), therapy animals, pets/companions, show stock (4-H and open shows), guard animals for smaller livestock, and of course fiber producers!  I really love their personalities…most are gentle giants and very curious.  Their fiber can be exceptionally fine and lustrous, and is a joy to process.

What is your favorite part of raising fiber animals?
My favorite part of raising fiber animals is spending time with them every day.  Llamas have amazing personalities, and I really enjoy going out and loving them.  It is extremely peaceful to simply go out and sit with the herd, and there is nothing better than the soft warmth of a llama kiss!

What is on your wheel/needles/loom?
I just finished some thick & thin spiral-plied handspun yarn yesterday, so my only project at the moment is a felted bag that I’m knitting.  I’m a big believer in not letting yarn/fiber go to waste, so I’ve been using old weaving yarns that my mom collected over the years to make knit bags.  And felted bags are so much fun!

What would you like hand spinners to know about your fiber?
As a spinner, weaver, and knitter, I always make products that I would love to work with.  Whether it is an exceptionally clean and fine raw llama fleece, locally grown and processed roving, or meticulously spun handspun yarn, I take pride in every item I sell.  My llamas are thoroughly groomed and washed prior to shearing, so the fleeces I sell raw are very clean and a joy to work with.  I only sell the finest fleeces to hand spinners, the coarser ones go to make non-wearable finished products.  The roving I sell is locally processed, and I try to come up with exceptional blends and colors to make it a one of a kind product.  I strive for perfection in my handspun yarn and love helping knitters and weavers find the best yarn for their project (or the best project for the yarn!).

How can interested buyers get in touch with you?
The best way to keep up to date with the farm is to “like” my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Autumn-Hill-Llamas-Fiber/269839197899).  I also have a website (www.autumnhillllamas.com) and blog (http://autumnhillllamas.blogspot.com) that have some great general information about llamas, but aren’t updated as frequently.  And last but not least my Etsy shop (https://www.etsy.com/shop/autumnhillllamas) is the easiest place to find my fleeces, rovings, and yarns.

***

Thanks so much Emaly!

I love farm visits and meeting new people (and sheep!): if you are a hand spinner, a shepherdess, a small flock owner, a mill operator, or a wool trader, I would love to feature your work on this site. Please get in touch via email or Ravelry by clicking the “About” tab (above)

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