Alpaca Owner and Breeder Show
In the middle of a cold winter, thoughts naturally turn to ways to stay warm. Visions of soft fuzzy sweaters, socks, and gloves keep us snug as we contemplate a visit to the Smokies to experience the best of the winter weather. But where does all that warm stuff come from? One answer is alpacas. And in the first week of March, well before Spring has sprung with warmer temperatures, you can see the best of the alpaca world at the Southern Select Alpaca Show at the Sevierville Convention Center.
The 15th Annual Southern Select Alpaca Show, which is open and free to the public, will be held on March 5 & 6, with show hours from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and 9 a.m.-3 p.m. on Sunday.
Visitors will have the opportunity to meet the alpacas up close. Related to camels and llamas, alpacas have been bred for centuries for their fleece. Softer than sheep’s wool and containing no lanolin which might irritate allergies, alpaca fleece is prized for its lustrous, silky warmth.
Folks who want to learn more about alpacas and their fleece can attend the several free classes and workshops taking place during the convention, presented by Moonwood Farm Fiber Studio and the Southeastern Alpaca Association. Fiber artists will be one hand to demonstrate spinning, weaving, and knitting techniques. Interested attendees can also learn how to spin and card the fiber as well as how to dye it. Information for all skill levels will be available, from “drop spindling for beginners” to “beginning knitting” to more advanced classes designed for folks who already know their way around an alpaca. These 45-minute, hands-on workshops are open to everyone. Simply sign up on the registration sheet and show up. Here is a complete list of free classes being offered:
- Drop Spindling For Beginners
- Carding An Embellished Alpaca Fiber Batt
- Making Roving And Rolags On A Drum Carder
- Introduction To Dyeing Alpaca Fiber
- Getting Started With Knitting
- Beginning Crochet
- Introduction To Dyeing Alpaca Yarn
- Triloom Weaving (Cut Strand Method)
- Corespinning For Intermediate And Advanced Beginning Spinners
* Wheel Spinners: check the requirements of the workshop you are interested in, as some of them clearly list things you’ll need to bring to the workshop.
For the less hands-on guests, plenty of shopping at the vendors will supply all the alpaca yarn needs. Finished clothing pieces, socks, rugs, yarns, even jewelry will be on site during the show. You’ll be able to find just the right warm-fuzzy to get you through the last few weeks of winter or your cold-weather hike to one of the many area waterfalls, which can be spectacular at this time of year.
After you’ve learned a thing or two about alpacas and have figured out how to prepare, spin, and knit, pick up a few skeins of alpaca yarn. You’ll have everything you’ll need to prepare for the coziest winter yet next year.