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January 2021

Birthdays
When I get an animal that we don’t know the exact birthdate-we use January as their birth month. So this month we celebrate the alpacas-Kit Kat (age unknown), Xena (3yrs old), Zhara (2yrs old) and Abby-the llama (5yrs old)
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Hello! Yes, it’s been a while since my last newsletter-time management has been a challenge for me the past few months with the growth of the online store and this was one of the things that fell to the bottom of the priority list! I’m so thankful for all the love and support shown by all of you and others with your comments, questions and purchases from our farm-I was definitely busier than I had anticipated and I am so grateful!  
I’ve renewed my farm goals and have decided that the newsletter will be a monthly edition to highlight happenings here on the farm, our animals and projects. Then, when there are new products, there will be an additional newsletter letting you all know what to be expecting.
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Giveaway!
I will be hosting our first social media giveaway starting within the next couple of weeks. I am hoping to do these every so often to help our Social Media pages grow and get our farm out there more. This one will be held on Facebook so watch for details. If you have a Facebook account you are eligible to participate. To enter you will need to make sure you have liked the farm page and share the giveaway post. Then a random name from those who participated will be drawn to win some great goodies. Watch for details on Facebook!
This giveaway will lead into our first live video! I am so nervous as I am not an on screen person lol. 

We can also now be found on another Social Media outlet-MeWe!

Follow our farm @ https://mewe.com/p/msfitzfarm2

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Farm Happenings
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2020 in Review
I know for a lot of individuals, 2020 was a rough year. I will say it did have it’s ups and downs for us as well. Our youngest of the 6 graduated High School virtually, another of our kiddos had to cancel their wedding and ended up just going to the court house, I lost my dad to his battle with ALS, there were no big family vacations or visits, the holidays were very different and our birthing season with the alpacas was a bit of a struggle starting off with losing our first cria of the season, births on horrible weather days and a bottle baby. However, despite all of that, it was still a good year. We have our health and that of our family, friends and our farm.
Some of our male alpacas (Copper, Charlie, Preston, Jasper, Bambi, Ringo, Jesse) and a couple of females (Fulani and Serendipity) moved onto other farms-some established alpaca farms, some just starting out. We got our first llamas, Abby and Wally and our first angora goats, Snap, Crackle and Pop. We even added two solid black female alpacas to the herd, Xena and Zhara.  I was able to do lots of online classes for alpacas, fiber processing, weaving and business. Established our farm website including an online store. The year ended with great sales for our online store and lots of room for growth for this upcoming year. 
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@ The Cottage
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I finally got a bunch of fleeces sent off to 2 different mills. We are trying The Iowa Fiber Mill for some of the fleeces that I am having spun into yarn and one a little closer, Oklahoma Mini Mill, for roving. I still have some that I want to send to the mill I used last year, Spinderella's, in Utah, but haven’t gotten those packaged up yet. 
 
I finally got the entire fiber herd listed on the website! A couple need pictures, picture updates and a bit more information, however, they are at least listed and hopefully all the links are working!
You can check out our fiber herd here! It will be updated periodically.
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Project Corner
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My first project featured in the Project Corner.... 
I will be taking a raw fleece through every step to turn into a Chunky Crop Top requested by my sister. The fiber we are starting with is 100% alpaca from Preston one of our previous boys who was one of her favorites. I washed the fiber last year (mainly to remove our NM dust!) and have finally dug it out and am now in the process of combing it on my Valkyrie Combs. This helps remove shorter fibers, as well as, VM (vegetable matter)-this fleece was quite full of VM as it was Preston’s first fleece which was like Velcro and collected everything he came across! It is so soft and fluffy after being ran through the combs! The length of his fiber is around 4" and has a micron count of 17. This is going to make a super soft yarn!
The fiber that I will blend with the alpaca is a soft merino blend that I purchased from Sherry Tenney's fiber. For this project, the reason I am blending in merino is for the elasticity/memory. Alpaca is a super warm, soft fiber however it does lack the elasticity/memory needed for some projects. If I did not add in a little helper fiber, eventually our crop top would stretch and hang well below where we want it to be. 
After having created a couple of samples I have decided on a 60% alpaca to 40% merino blend. I like how the colors have blended together with this ratio. 
The alpaca is ran through the combs twice. Then removed and weighed. I then weigh out the merino mix. I will alternate layering both these fibers as I lash onto the combs again. Then I diz off and create a nest. Once I have just over 16 oz in nests then we will begin to spin. This is hopefully a generous predicted amount for the final project. I still need to decide if I'm going to do a 2 ply or 3 ply yarn which will then determine the WPI (wraps per inch) that each of my singles will need to be spun in.
        
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Weaving Adventure
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As you know I purchased my first loom last August. I have been doing some online workshops through Jane Stafford Textiles and am now to the point of hands on! As I go into this 2nd round/season of classes I will be bringing you along. I have ordered the supplies so we can get started within the next month and they've arrived just days ago!
    
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@ The Barn
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Poor Virgo, our 4 yr old black male, lost his stud status at the beginning of this month. He’s been becoming more and more of an instigator in fights with his pen mates and I had decided a while back to not continue breeding him. We’re hoping this will calm some of his testosterone and curb some of the fighting so we don’t have to separate him permanently.
 
Also, a blog telling about the births of our 2020 Cria's is now up and can be found here....2020 Cria
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@ The Goat Hut
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We are currently on the hunt for some of those big wooden spools for The Rice Krispies (Snap, Crackle and Pop) so we can create them a better play area. 
    
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