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Power Scour Review from Jessie At Home

Hello lovely readers! Back in March a review of Power Scour was posted on JessieAtHome.com. It was quite a thorough review!

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For the review, Jessie spilled wine, oil, tea, and coffee on swatches of various fibres. She then used Power Scour to remove the stains, with great success. You can read all about the process over on Jessie’s blog post, HERE.

While we are on the subject of happy Unicorn users, do you have a great Unicorn product story? We would love to share some of your stories, tips, and tricks on the blog in July. If you have a story, pop on over to THIS Ravelry post in our group and share your story. You can also share your story as a comment on this post. Be sure to sign your comment with your name as you would like it to appear in the blog post. If you have a website, share that as well so we can link it if we use your comment.

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Fleece Washing Time!

It may seem a little strange, but I love to wash fleece. Well, depending on who is reading this, maybe it does not seem so strange, but in my little circle of fibery friends, I do not know anyone else who does this for fun. It all started in 2010, when I went to my first Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival. I was set up in a corner of Gail and Jim White’s Ozark Carding Mill booth (I wonder if Gail and Jim have retired–their site is not up,) helping sell Unicorn Fibre Products, while they sold their gorgeous fiber and yarn, and took fleeces back to process at their mill.

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I had used Unicorn Fibre Wash and Rinse to wash, block, and freshen knitted and crocheted FOs, and even to set my beginner handspun skeins. But when it came to Power Scour, I was relying on Gail’s expertise and the testimonials of other fiber processors, which I incorporated into my sales spiel. While they all raved about the performance of Power Scour, I felt a little left out, and thought it would make more sense if I personally knew what I was talking about. So I decided to buy a fleece from the booth next door to Gail’s, so I could test the product on my own. Must have been the wool fumes! I figured I would wash a pound or so and then send the rest off for processing. Little did I know that this would turn into an addiction source of such enjoyment. My first fleece was a large and quite greasy Romney, and I washed all 8 pounds of it in my back yard! My obsession began. I repeated the buy a fleece and wash it cycle for several more wool festivals. I’m still not sure why I love it so much, and my neighbors are not sure what to make of it either. It must be just a function of being outside on an nice day and doing something by hand. All you makers and growers know what I mean, right?

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These days, I have a No Fleece Buying rule for when I go to festivals, since I have several clean fleeces and have not done much with them. My plan for this year’s Spinzilla is to make a good dent in my clean fleece stash and card and spin up as much as possible, so I figured I should make sure all of my fleece is at least washed. I knew I had one that I had not scoured yet. It wasn’t the one I thought, and I honestly can’t eremember what kind of fleece it is. I know I have bought romney, romney-bond, shetland, coopworth lamb, cvm ram and I think that is it. All I can say about this one is that it is a nice chocolatey brown and it has been in the garage and I may have scored it at Wisconsin Sheep and Wool a few years ago. It could be part of the romney-bond, which was, as I recall, a biggie.

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A little VM, but otherwise, a nice looking fluffy fleece, and none the worse for aging in my garage for a while

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I’ve been meaning to wash this since the weather warmed up this spring, but somehow did not get around to it till now. It rained where I live all of June and some of July, and then I’ve been busy with my local community garden. But then there came a nice sunny Friday morning, and I couldn’t wait any longer.

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Like many of my product demo posts, this one involves my doing some cleaning first, in this case my many plastic buckets, and food. Here is my squash haul from the home garden so far this year.

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Whereas in the past I have “meticulously” laid locks with tips and cut ends oriented carefully and nestled in tulle envelopes for washing, this time I could not be bothered to find and use all of that stuff.

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A couple years ago my husband strongly suggested I put things in the attic that I am not currently using. I know, right? So it is more of a chore to go up there and get things that I “need.” So for this episode of fleece washing, we are going pretty low tech.

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I start with the hottest water out of my kitchen sink tap, about 130-140 degrees. I am pretty conservative with my use of the Unicorn power scour and Fibre Rinse.

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For the first wash, I start with about a teaspoon in 4 gallons of water, and probably a half pound of dirty fleece. It sits, with just a little gentle swishing, for about 20 minutes.

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Here is the water after the first wash.

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Each batch then gets removed and placed in a colander I just use for fleece, and the dirty water gets poured right into the garden, once it has cooled.

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I only pour it on the flowers and the fruiting plants, not on the greens or root crops. For the second wash, I use the same amount of water, but less Power Scour, about 1/2 teaspoon. Because I am doing this by hand and not in the machine, I can judge how much product and soak time I think each pile of fleece needs.

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Here’s the water after the second wash. You can see that most of the “stuff” (lanolin and farm dirt) came out in the first go-round. So there is really no reason to go heavy-handed with the product. You can experiment on your own, since every fleece will be different and water is not the same everywhere either.

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I like to keep the suds low, because even though I am reusing the water, the second half of my summer got so hot and dry that I am more conscious of my water use, and less suds means less rinsing.

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The next step is a Fibre Rinse soak.

Here is the water afterwards.

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For this I use slightly cooler, warm, not hot water, and one squirt in each bucket is fine. If I have a really dirty fleece, sometimes I will repeat this, but this guy is not too bad, and so the last step is a clear warm water soak.

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Then I go find my drying racks. In past years I have used our lawn furniture. but my husband is not a big fan of that, so now I have collected more appropriate materials, including my homemade fleece/sweater/garlic drying rack.

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Hot and dry weather is just the ticket for drying wet wool, and my blobs of clean fleece were good to go by the end of the afternoon. You may notice my garden is a little jungly. That’s August for you!

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If you have never hand washed a fleece, why not try it before this summer is over? I am curious how much of this I will be able to process and spin, and how much yarn will come out of it. A sweater’s worth? I have never spun for a sweater before, but maybe this is my year. Spinzilla is a great week-long spinning challenge, and Unicorn Fibre has been a sponsor for the last two years. Spinner registration starts tomorrow, so jump on board! The collective goal is to spin enough to stretch around the globe, and your personal goal is whatever you want it to be!

Now, up to the attic to find my hand cards!

Spinzilla Readiness Kit from Unicorn Fibre!

Spinzilla_editedHey Spinners–Have you all heard about Spinzilla, a handspinning competition/fundraiser that is in its 3rd year? The goal is to spin as much as you can during the competition week, but there is no reason not to start preparing now.

That is why we are offering the first of several Spinzilla Specials we will offer during our second year of Merino Sponsorship…The Spinzilla Readiness Kit!

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Perhaps your goal for Spinzilla 2015 is to spin a fleece (or two!) First, scour your locks with Unicorn Power Scour, then make them spin more smoothly by adding a dab of Unicorn Fibre Rinse as you spin.

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The kit gives you 16 oz of each product, which is enough for several fleeces, and a mesh bag for a better process. More careful processing = faster spinning!

Stock up for yourself, or go in with a Spinzilla teammate to save on shipping and also get $5 off any order over $50 with discount code UF5.

Stay tuned for more specials and crank up those wheels and spindles!

Fantastic Side-by-Side Product Test for Washing Fleece!

Here is a really excellent Blog post by Marie Spaulding, where she washes fleece in various scouring products including her first experience with Beyond Clean, our scentless version that is great for soiled baby clothing as well as dirty wool locks.

Thanks, Marie, for the terrific work, and for sharing it with us!

This has me really itching to wash a fleece I have stashed away–stay tuned!

Meet our Unicorn Fibre Dealers–Baresheep!

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received_10205493828278902I interviewed Shara Jean from Baresheep, and her responses were so good, I didn’t want to interrupt the flow with my questions. Shara runs her small business in an equally thoughtful way. Here is her story…

Shara: My business is a hobby, sometimes it makes some extra money. I sew custom upcycled wool accessories, clothing and covers for cloth diapered babies and really any babies, cloth diapered or not that can wear wool clothing. I’ve made items from wools such as cashmere and merino, sometimes wool blends. I sew almost anything requested if it is within my capability, things like longies, shorties, skirties, cardigans, vests, booties, blankets etc., and really all kinds of items can be requested and made to order.

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I love to upcycle wools but I also purchase new wool and wool interlock for my products. I have a great assortment of other fabrics as well. The best part of my upcycling hobby is when you see something completed and feel a grand sense of pride that you rescued that from ending up in a landfill and you were able to repurpose it for something that will also prevent toxic waste (disposable diapers).

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Most of my sewing gets done late night and weekends as I juggle a toddler and house during the work week.

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My sewing buddy is “molly” my rescue cat. She typically sits by my feet and occasionally on a pile of wool if it is on the floor. She enjoys her time sitting and mostly sleeping in my finished basement / sewing room, that is – with no toddlers around to pick on her.

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I decided to start sewing all these items for my own baby when he was just born, of course it was one thing at a time really, and as I needed them.

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I was very disturbed at all the chemicals that are used to manufacture, produce and dispose of disposable diapers and I naturally wanted a healthy way to manage these things. I knew about cloth diapers from a decade ago when my first child was born but I wanted to cloth diaper full time and with wool as it was much better then the plastic pants of the old days or toxic waste caused from the production of the PUL cover alternatives that are available these days.

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I wanted to purchase these upcycled things from other WAHM’s and some name brands as well and I did from a few but I quickly realized it was within my ability to make them myself, and it would be better for me to save some $ doing so. Along my journey of almost borderline obsessive researching all these things, I realized how expensive it is getting in general to cloth diaper or even naturally dress your babies with the known brand names available.

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Not to mention that some of the clothing comes from slave labor, and is processed in such a way that it is polluting the environment, and it really bothers me ethically, morally to support business that are not up to par with the standards of environmental and ethical treatments that are expected these days.

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So my simple goal is that I aim to help others afford to naturally cloth diaper and dress their children and while I do upcycle wool it has its own way of saving the environment, one diaper, one hour of slave labor, and 1 cup of crude chemicals at a time. So, kind of like saving the world one diaper at a time, but I hope its more like 1 woolie at a time. But in general I do realize that some people just cannot afford the expensive stash building and gooberly expensive baby items that come with being more environmentally friendly while having to watch your pocket book… and I hope to try to give them an alternative to cheap outsourced and unethically made clothing with my hand made products and all within a great price range that is affordable and very practical. I want to help them build a stash of wool. I even make payment arrangements with some that need it for their budgeting and have had successful luck with those that do need it. I see it kind of like every mother helping every mother and together we create a village, but on a more board scale and sometimes its way out of our village. Lol

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I really was able to get started because I was fortunate enough to already have known how to sew but I haven’t sewn in years. My Aunt passed away and I was given her sewing machine. After shopping around for woolies that were way out of my budget, I kind of just looked at the boxed up machine and said to myself “what am I doing…? I can totally make some myself now.” And so it began, one sweater confiscated from my hubby’s closet and then another, and then he let me go buy some… after that I was sewing every chance I could and building a stash of sweaters up for other moms too. I have a wonderful husband who totally supports this as a hobby and a small business.

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We just bought a range of industrial machines to keep sewing on that will require much less maintenance then the others we have.

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I am always on the look out for mills to purchase wool from as well as upcycled wool. I try to get a good deals when I find them but I have high standards and I only buy quality wools. We are still building and saving for the next inventory items to keep sewing but it takes time and well, I have the time because it is something I have started to love doing and it kind of keeps me calm and less like the crazy house mom that needs to have a night out.

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I started spreading the word of my woolies on facebook, and in wool trading and chatting groups.

I have a facebook page, www.facebook.com/baresheeps and I have an etsy shop as well www.baresheep.etsy.com and my email is baresheep@gmail.com mostly people message me on facebook or etsy.
I just bought a website and am tinkering around with that http://www.baresheep.com, so stay tuned for that.
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Some of my favorite things are baby blankets, cashmere longies and interlock wool, but I think my booties have gotten a lot of love this past winter too.
I think that the most surprising thing that has happened would be that I really enjoy it, enough that if I can keep doing it I will keep building it and it has brought me much joy, but just as much frustration at times with the legal and business aspect of it.

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I learned of unicorn products from a brand of wool that always was a lot over my price range, I did order from them but they never had stock of the washes and rinse. I also didn’t like their customer service and finally after 2 months of waiting for my order to ship I just contacted unicorn myself and then also found about being a retailer and I thought it would be great to always have stock so other didn’t have to wait to wash their wool for a very long time either. It just kind of makes sense.

Outside of work I enjoy my toddler playing at the park. I really enjoy coffee, like artesian coffee, and I love to brew it different ways and try new roasts or favorite coffees – I guess this is my favorite craft at heart but I would like to start roasting my own coffee someday and have a small coffee shop possibly with a lending library. I also enjoy running and generally all things outdoors. I am a nerd at heart and I swear when my toddler has a longer attention span I would love to dig into my biology and chemistry roots and start some vegetable garden and soap making.

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Typically my work day starts the min I wake up with a toddler poking my face and rubbing my cheek or hair. After I stumble into the kitchen to make a bottle, start coffee, change diaper, make breakfast, make coffee, probably feed the cat put some cartoon on for the lil man and finally get to drink coffee. I start checking messages, any orders and thinking about what and when things need to get done. what do need to order, where is my laundry at and when are my shipments coming in.

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I dont typically get to actually do a lot of the “work” until after dinner time or on the weekends, and it usually lasts until the wee hours of the night and occasional morning. It is a lengthy process, but it can be easy and quick too. some people like to be really involved and others just need that easy button but mostly the time consumption is from finding out what they want, how they want it, sizes and then the choices to present them. I help them choose from the best wools from the stash of mine once I have determined their needs and chosen the best, then I need to measure it, make a pattern and wash/ dry it before it is cut and sewn and finally rinsed before being shipped.

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It takes a few days and it’s a process, but I aim for the items to be the highest quality and with the best customer service. I am happy to offer a full range of wool care, including not only unicorn products but I have made my own pure lanolin and spray lanolin for the cloth diapering wools and soon I hope to have artesian made baby skin care products for eczema and other sensitive and extremely sensitive skin as well.

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Quality over quantity is the one thing would tell myself all over again. Sometimes it takes me a while as every piece of wool is different than the last and I take the time to work with it the way it needs. I feel there is a real skill in working with fibre and especially with wool and felting it as well as sewing.
My favorite quote is “ if you are going to do something, do it perfectly or don’t do it at all” and my favorite saying it “nothing comes easy that doesn’t go easy” or “this wasn’t meant to be easy or everyone would do it” particularly I tell myself this running or during marathon training but it also comes in handy with some sewing too lol
I am hoping to enter the crafting shows this year and have some ready made products available on my website for those that need an easy button with quick shipping.

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The picture of the truck blanket was a PAY IT FORWARD item. Sometimes I make things randomly selecting people who are in some groups and are in need of items im comfortable making. I feel its important to give to those who need it, you never know the days ahead when you may need some help too. We havent taken a family pic in a while. Ill get one later today and send it. Use any of these you like and if you need a caption for it just let me know. Im off to sleep a few hours before monster wakes up. P.s. Molly is snoring on her wool blanket.

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Meet Our Unicorn Dealers–Handknit Habitat!

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For the next installment of the Meet Our Unicorn Fibre Dealers, I’d like to introduce Carla Cain of Handknit Habitat. Here she is (left) with her mother, who helps her at the craft shows where she sells her finished goods and patterns. Carla has found a niche within a niche and focuses on science fiction and fantasy-themed handknit accessories. She makes each hat or scarf by hand from materials that are as responsibly sourced as possible. Many of her yarns come from independent American mills and dyers.

Unicorn Fibre: Hi Carla, thanks for doing an interview! Is there anything else I forgot to mention?

Carla Cain: …hmm…maybe just that I’m a lifelong crafter who was searching for way to share her love of handmade goods with the world…

UF: Please tell me the nuts and bolts of your business…how did you get started?
CC: I started in 2011 selling multi-colored hats with a bohemian style on Etsy. I had put myself on waiting lists for several local craft shows and conventions and the first one that responded was a group called Gallifrey One. They stage the largest Dr Who convention in North America right here in Los Angeles every year. 3000+ people attend and they are a very friendly crowd that loves to shop! I learned quickly about how to understand and appeal to a niche audience and now I focus all of my work on the science-fiction/fantasy community. I also do craft shows at costume shops and other such venues as well.

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UF: You have a cute website that connects to your very interesting blog, www.handknit-habitat.com. How do people usually find out about your business?

CC: Mainly from the craft shows and conventions, and my Etsy page.

UF: What are some of your favorite products that you sell? What is your bestselling item?
CC: My best-selling item is a hat made famous by a character from a TV show called “Firefly”. One of the characters on that show wore an orange, yellow, and red Chullo-style hat that has become an icon for “in-the-know” sci-fi fans and those hats have really become my bread and butter! I also started selling kits for people to make their own when I found out how many fans are also knitters.

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UF: What is the most surprising thing that has happened with your business?

CC: On the positive side I’m always touched by how loyal, friendly, and welcoming the sf/fantasy community is. But I seriously underestimated how much work it takes to run a one-person business.

UF: Yes, so many of us in the needlearts industry are really just one person shows, or small, family businesses. How did you learn about Unicorn products?

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CC: I learned about Unicorn products while searching for something to use on my personal knitting products. It worked so well, I’ve started recommending it to my customers and giving out free samples as a gift-with-purchase.

UF: What is your favorite thing to do outside of work?

CC: I love being outdoors. I’m really looking forward to an upcoming trip to Yosemite.

UF: Wow, sounds rugged and beautiful. I like to be out in my garden and am so happy the weather has turned nicer here on the East Coast. I even do some knitting and sewing outside when I can. What is your favorite craft and who taught you to do it?

CC: I love knitting, and my grandmother taught me.

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UF: That is really nice, and especially so since your mom helps you out at shows. Great to have the help, too, I suppose. Those shows can be busy. Please describe your typical work day.

CC: Work the “day job” till midnight, up at 9am to do business (order yarn, plan projects, balance the books, etc) for a couple of hours, then I spend 2-3 hours knitting, then it’s time to get dressed and go to the “day job” again.

UF: Yes, many professional crafters fit this work in and try to balance with another job. It can be tricky on many levels. What advice do you wish you could give yourself when you first got started?

CC: To take an accounting class! Book keeping and accounting are not my strongest assets, and the learning curve has been steep.

UF: What is your favorite quote or saying?
CC: This passage from Seth Godin’s blog keeps me inspired to work hard to improve my craft:

The difference between commitment and technique

We spend way too much time teaching people technique. Teaching people to be good at flute, or C++ or soccer.

It’s a waste because the fact is, most people can learn to be good at something, if they only choose to be, if they choose to make the leap and put in the effort and deal with the failure and the frustration and the grind.

But most people don’t want to commit until after they’ve discovered that they can be good at something. So they say, “teach me, while I stand here on one foot, teach me while I gossip with my friends via text, teach me while I wander off to other things. And, sure, if the teaching sticks, then I’ll commit.”

We’d be a lot more successful if organized schooling was all about creating an atmosphere where we can sell commitment (and where people will buy it). A committed student with access to resources is almost unstoppable.

Great teachers teach commitment.

UF: That is a great one, and so true. I know many creative business people who follow him. Thanks again for doing the interview. And keep up the good work! Anything else you would like to add?

CC: Thanks so much for this opportunity — I’m such a huge Unicorn fan that it’s really an honor!

 

Meet our Unicorn Fibre Dealers! Meadowrock Alpacas!

Meet our Unicorn Fibre Dealers! Meadowrock Alpacas!

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When I spoke with Barbara Hansen of Meadowrock Alpacas, I got the sense that she and her husband Jim have found joy in the new phase of their lives that includes raising alpacas. Anyone who is lucky enough to have visited their farm no doubt came away with that sense as well as a few pairs of alpaca socks or hats. I had to satisfy myself with a virtual tour at their website. What a gorgeous place, with lovely, and clearly very special, animals!

Unicorn Fibre: Hi Barbara, and thanks for participating in this Get to Know Our Unicorn Dealers project! Your farm looks so beautiful and fun. Can you tell me the story of how you got started?

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Barbara Hansen: Whoa boy . . . our story is very long since this all came about in my “retirement”. Yep, I no longer have an IRA, 401(k), or annuity; just the store and my intrepid husband, Jim, who has now taken over as the Barn Manager. It’s hard to believe it’s 2015, eight years after purchasing our first pregnant alpaca. My goal was to have something productive to do in our retirement and I have found that “alpaca” fills our world.

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We currently have nine alpacas including three pregnant girls; our first cria (baby) is due in a couple weeks. In our first years we showed our alpacas and through these shows our herdsire earned five championships. When we decided to open a farm store to sell the yarn our alpacas produced we got a little carried away and have filled 1,200 square feet with over 5,000 items related to the alpaca, including the Unicorn Fibre Wash and Rinse and Unicorn Power Scour.

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UF: Your photos are simply breathtaking. Can you tell me a little about where your farm is in the world?

BH: We live in a very small rural community that is bordered by the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and the Mt. Adams Wilderness in Washington State, just north of the Columbia River Gorge. In the whole world, we would rather be no place else and rarely go on “vacations”, we are the vacation. Many of our farm visitors comment on how wonderful it is here and we simply smile back. The county we live in has only one stop light and it’s over 20 miles from the farm.

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UF: What do you offer at your farm and store?

BH: Many tourists visit us year round to tour our farm, learn more about alpacas, and purchase items made with alpaca fiber: hats, scarves, gloves, vests, sweaters, SOCKS, fur bears, and YARN; some 100% alpaca, some blends, and some are even handmade.

UF: What are some of your top selling and favorite items?

BH: Alpaca yarn and alpaca socks are our most favorite items and our top sellers; the fur bears are the most delightful and usually have a new name by the time they leave the store.

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UF: Sounds like a world of cute fuzziness! How do the Unicorn Fibre products fit in?

BH: All of the alpaca products we sell are enhanced when Unicorn products are used in their care.I recommend using Unicorn Fibre Wash and Rinse on yarn and finished garments to get the best results.

UF: How do you like to use the products yourself?

BH: My husband and I wear alpaca socks daily and I do a load of laundry once a week using Unicorn products. Once I began using Unicorn I found my clothes softer and retaining their shape better, remaining stretchy, not felted.

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UF: What do you enjoy the most about your day to day activities?

BH: Needless to say, we love our alpacas! Besides being so darn entertaining, they act as our athletic club plus providing fiber for some of the yarn I sell in our store. They also provide fiber for our coop, The Alpaca Fiber Cooperative of North America, which produces the Extreme alpaca socks from US fiber and is 74% alpaca, really extreme.

UF: I love alpaca socks. And now I’m dreaming of making mitts or socks with alpaca yarn. What is your favorite craft, and how did you learn to do it?

BH: My favorite craft is working with and learning more about fiber whether it be knitting (self-taught) or weaving (took a class a local studio) or simply skirting fleeces (many seminars). My husband, on the other hand, loves to build things that make our lives easier; and I love him for it.

UF: Sounds like Jim is very handy and inventive. Can you give me an idea of what kinds of things he has built?

BH: Because of the way I designed and built the barn (yes me and a 24-year old with a broken left wrist, I even set my own trusses!), the outside gates could not be directly attached to it as we needed wall space to slide the outside stall doors open/closed without increasing barn size.  Instead, by design, the gates were mounted on the last pole of each fence line that effectively divides the four stalls and paddock areas plus dividing their “little” pastures and herding alleys from each other.  It sounds complicated but it’s not.  Just think of the barn as the hub of a spoke wheel with the spokes being the fence lines.  Imagine, IF all the gates are open at the same time you can physically drive a four-wheeler completely around the barn.  We don’t do that, but the point is, we have complete flexibility and access to every paddock; which has proved really handy for moving animals and removing snow, as two examples.

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Back to the point, the latches.  Mesh gates typically hook onto a fence post.  We simply put a post in the ground far enough away from the barn to allow the sliding doors to pass behind it.  After using the typical chain and hook set up Jim found the thick plastic you see in the photos.  We needed a more “solid” design for our herdsire’s (Aston) gate. Other gates use Jim’s “flip” design.  But, with the flip design, we found it didn’t take long for the alpacas to figure out how to flip them up.  To solve this issue, a spring was attached.  Works great!  Jim also came up with a little different design so a gate can be secured to the corner of the barn.  Patents are pending on all Jim’s designs.
UF: I guess I never thought of alpacas as smart enough to figure out latches. Are there any “Frequently asked Questions” from your farm visitors?
BH: Hmm, frequently asked questions . . . there are so many.    What’s the difference between an alpaca and a llama?  How long does the alpaca live?  How often do you shear?  What’s the gestation period?  How much acreage is needed to raise alpacas?  Can I pet them?  What does an alpaca eat?  Why do you separate the boys and girls?  Do you have to cut their toenails?  Who built your barn?  What do you call their fur?  What do you use it for?   I could go on and on.  Our tours generally take 45-60 minutes and are intended to be of an educational nature.  We do have a few animals to sell, but nothing like the BIG breeders.  So, over the years we found our visitors want to learn about the alpaca not take one home.  We are simply filling what the market demands in our very rural location.
When a guest walks into the store their first reaction is “I can’t believe you have such a nice store here in Trout Lake”, we’re very country here and I get this from locals and travelers alike.    Other most received comments include:  “Your place is so-o-o-o tidy and clean”  or “how do you keep your place looking so good?” or “WHAT A VIEW!” (Mt. Adams is “in your face”) or “it sure smells good here.”  or “you actually have a public bathroom?” or “can we just sit and have a picnic here?”  All of which makes what we do worth while 🙂

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UF: I don’t know how you get things done…I would just be staring at the scenery all day. Can you tell me about your typical day at your farm and store?

BH: A typical work day begins around 6am with Jim (husband) heading to the barn to do the early morning chores that include feeding measured supplement pellets to the alpacas. I putz along, getting ready to open the store by 10am, there’s always plenty to do. I’m now the storekeeper and resident alpaca guru. My days are usually busy with all the needs of a working farm and store but when a visitor comes, everything is pushed aside and our guest(s) takes top priority whether they want to simply shop in the store or if they want a farm tour. I force myself to quit at 5pm for dinner and to spend the evening knitting or spinning (I’m just learning).

UF: What advice do you wish you could give yourself when you first got started?

BH: Advice? Hmmm, how about: why didn’t we do this 40 years ago?

UF: What are some of your favorite quotes or sayings?

BH: One of my favorite quotes is: If you can’t change the direction of the wind, adjust your sails. Which goes right along with: Think like a willow, not an oak.

UF: How do most of your customers learn about you?

BH: Many learn about us through word of mouth, driving by and seeing our farm, referrals from our Chamber of Commerce, and rack cards placed in hotels and motels plus we also advertise in local (within 60 miles) tourist magazines and hotel guest books.

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UF: Well, I sure am glad I found out more about you. Thanks for the interview and for belonging to our family of Unicorn Dealers. Congratulations on the nice life you have built for yourselves. I encourage people to make arrangements to visit your farm and store if they will be in the area. Here is the link to contact Barbara and Jim Hansen of Meadowrock Alpacas.