Since we started raising llamas in 1985 and volunteering at a variety of industry related events, we found ourselves passing on what those before us had so willingly shared and adding on what we had learned. While we helped new folks get started with their own llama herds, we were often told “You should teach workshops!” When our own farm direction began to change, we took their advice and started offering hands-on workshops at our farm with the emphasis on having the attendee become a participant as much as possible. Initially, we offered workshops for both groups and to individuals but now our preference is for a customized class of two from the same family or farm with the same interests. Depending on the workshop, we can teach small groups and even travel a bit. We’ve dropped our Llama Showing for Beginners workshop since we no longer “do” llama shows and are not staying up on the latest rules but we’ve added other workshops. So take a look at the sections below and consider this your invitation to share our joy and knowledge.
Workshops are taught on our farm from May 1st thru September 31st each year unless other arrangements are made. You call us and pick your preferred dates. Paid reservations will hold the dates. See the specifics for costs & other details.
Here’s our latest list of scheduled workshop dates for those involving the fiber arts and held at Mill Artisans:
Peg Loom Weaving – August 2
Triangle Loom – August 9
Rectangle Loom – August 16
Peg Loom Weaving – August 23
Triangle Loom – August 30
Rectangle Loom – September 6?
Special this year: Viv will be teaching Continuous Weave Workshops at the PA Endless Mountains Fiber Festival – The Triangle Loom on Saturday Sept 12 and the Rectangle Loom on Sunday Sept 13, 2015. Go to the festival website to sign up – http://www.pafiberfestival.com/#!workshops/c11i2
Our 2015 Upcoming Events are listed
at the bottom of the Home page.
Specific to Llamas:
Perfect for the person thinking about acquiring llamas or have found themselves as new owners with limited support. Although we don’t have alpacas, some folks new to camelids find this workshop a useful tool for deciding how either llamas and/or alpacas would fit into their life. Whether you have limited experience with animals other than dogs and/or cats or none at all, we can help you understand the needs of these wonderful animals ensuring their health, safety, and well-being and YOUR peace of mind.
Suggested for folks with absolutely no packing and/or llama experience interested in learning about the concept of packing with llamas and what it might entail as well as for folks that have done some packing and may be considering entering a pack trial. The full workshop covers fitting pack equipment, and, teaching your llama to accept it. We work on basics and advance into an actual hike that includes water, brush, logs, hills, and other natural packing challenges. If your llama does not advance readily through all the stages of training, we will use our llamas for hands-on learning.
The participant brings their llama to be shorn. Using the safety of our restraint chute (Stan Ebel’s design you can build yourself), and under our direct supervision, we instruct the participant to shear this animal with all his/her idiosyncrasies. We find a full body clip procedure to be the most educational for the person and the best accepted by the llama. Note: the neck may be left unshorn depending upon the condition of the fleece and skin. We do not wash nor deeply groom the animal prior to harvesting the wool and the fiber remains the property of the participant. Only hand shears & scissors are used as we find this works best for beginners; electric shearing is discussed.
Fiber Arts Related:
This workshop covers the basics about llama fiber from harvest and preparing fleeces for processing up to the spinning stage. Note: We do not teach spinning. We provide extensive hands-on opportunities with your fleeces and/or ours. This workshop is one of the most variable depending upon the interests of the participant. Some people are in the beginning stages of learning about their animal’s harvestable product, while others are already well versed in animal fibers and their general processing but know nothing about camelid fiber. Our intent is to provide working knowledge to both groups
This workshop is more like a lecture with farm tour as we answer questions often asked by those interested in getting their first fiber animals but aren’t sure what they want. While our farm is home now to primarily llamas, our experiences with the other animals helps us answer those questions honestly. We help you consider the realities of raising animals with all of their ups and downs. And we can direct you to specific owners should you decide to further your education.
Some folks like this fiber art to using “pot holder looms” from their childhood. The technique is similar in some ways but I think much more sophisticated providing you with a finished product without the same sort of major commitment in equipment or lessons. From one center-pull ball of yarn, you can simultaneously warp and weave your project. A simple technique perfect for the new weaver, it can still challenge the more advanced artisan.
The basics of continuous weaving are best learned and most easily demonstrated we think on the triangle shaped loom. Most patterns and online instructions are written with this shape in mind although some loom makers are now making the frames available also in square, rectangle, circle, and hexagon shapes. Our class will provide a good foundation in continuous strand weaving regardless of your ultimate loom shape.
This workshop builds on our TRIANGLE LOOM CONTINUOUS STRAND WEAVING workshop. The techniques in weaving on the two loom shapes are similar in that the process on the rectangle loom is generally repeated as multiple triangles for the length of the long side. I have to say weaving a basic plain tabby weave is easy on the rectangle loom once learned but I did not find the transition or process on this shape as simple as the thickest reference book would indicate. The good news is that you are still using a center-pull ball of yarn, and simultaneously warping and weaving your project with even less finishing handwork than on the triangle loom.
While not a requirement, we believe the basics of continuous weaving are best learned and most easily demonstrated on the triangle shaped loom so we suggest you take that class first. We will teach the same basic patterns used on the triangle loom but just wait until you see the difference they make when followed using the rectangle loom!
BEGINNING PEG LOOM WEAVING (and Advanced Peg Loom Weaving)
Since we now offer oak peg looms for sale, it seemed natural to also offer workshops on how to use them. This first level will teach you the two basic techniques of how to warp your loom; one is best for thick warp yarns while the other is faster and easier if thin yarn or cords are planned. The basic plain or tabby weave technique is traditional but we’ll add interesting variations by color changes and Soumak weaving if time permits. Progressing the project off the loom as it is woven and removing it completely are naturally covered; we will close with fringe.
The Advanced Peg Loom Weaving workshop will assume you already know the basics (the Beginning Peg Loom Weaving workshop is a prerequisite or by special permission) so we will plan on a wall hanging as the project to be completed using additional weaving techniques. These will include more methods with color changes, changes in weft materials, and closure techniques. We will also discuss more project opportunities like totes, and specialty rugs, blankets, & chair mats. The write-up on this will be published later this fall.