It's only the 11th of May and already it's proving to be a very busy month. We have Marie a new intern with us for the next few weeks and our lovely Emi has returned again after a short hiatus and a visit to a weaving house in London. Marie is a spinning mill apprentice from Sweden so she has a great interest in the animals as well as the shearing and spinning process. Her and Emi had a masterclass with local spinners, weavers and dyers guild member Dorothy today. The three of them enjoyed a cosy morning in the shop with the fire on (it's been mighty chilly here today) learning the technicalities of hand spinning, it was great, the shop looked like a craft centre! Marie was using a drop spinning bobbin, plying and then knitting with her alpaca yarn, whilst Emi has plans to use her yarn for her University project and also try her hand at dying some of it in varigated colours.
It was an excitng day yesterday too with a new Cria born just before lunch. Alpacas are almost always born before about 3pm in the afternoon to give them time to dry off in the sun because their mothers do not lick them and during freezing cold South American nights this could be a problem. Newborn Cria should be standing and feeding within a short while and this little girl (who was not so little, hence Mum needed Shirley's help) was up within 10 minutes. Marie caught her first unsteady steps on camera.
Another new addition yesterday to the Toft madhouse was Lump/Garth/Pete (almost certainly Pete now!) Kerry's new Affenpinscher-Poodle cross. He's finding life a little odd right now but we're certain he'll settle in very soon - let's just hope he doesn't pick up any of adventure dog Harvey's biscuit stealing bad habits!