Location: Arelee

Prairie Fire Alpacas

Prairie Fire Alpacas

They’re littler than a llama, fascinating and fuzzy, soft fleece white as snow, or twenty other colours you should know! Fibre warmer than wool, and stronger to endure, such easy livestock to raise, with communal spots for manure!

I know what you are thinking. “Alpacas on ArtsQuest? I didn’t even know that they could do arts and crafts!” Our interview with Karen Pashovitz at Prairie Fire Alpacas illustrates another avenue that ArtsQuest is looking to promote: Canadian produced supplies for the arts and craft industries which will include textiles and fibres from various animal origins such as the fleece you can see on this fine fluffy flock. There are many artisan creations that can be produced from alpaca fleece such as mitts, socks, toques, shawls, blankets, sweaters and scarves; and if you have never pampered your fingers and footsies in these soft and warm wardrobe accessories, you will involuntarily be bound to say “ooh…aah” when you do!

Karen and her friends

Karen and her friends

Karen and her husband Dennis farm 4000 acres near Arelee, SK but realized that it was a long way to commute from their original home in Saskatoon, so they decided to move closer to their operation. Karen wanted to find some other way to supplement their income and so they looked into raising alpacas for their fibre, and have been at it now for ten years. In conjunction with the economic benefits, striving for alpaca perfection can also lead to champion show animals in the ring, an arena that the Pashovitz’s have entered and won.

On a side note, in addition to the 40 resident alpacas that we were introduced to, Karen and Dennis also accommodate about twenty cats that were ambling around the yard, one of which took an interest to Marli in the van as can be seen below.

Marli's new admirer

Marli’s new admirer

Alpacas are a domesticated species and native to South America; more specifically the high plateaus of the Andes mountain range in Peru, Bolivia and Chile. They have been bred specially for their luxuriously soft fibre that gets shorn once per year and then prepared for it’s uses within the textile industry. Alpaca fleece is warmer than wool, hypoallergenic due to the absence of lanolin, has great moisture wicking properties and is flame resistant (no need to test this last point!). There is more general information about these unique animals on Alpaca Canada’s website.

Rovings

Rovings

Toasty tootsies time!

Toasty tootsies time!

Join us with Karen as she takes us on an alpaca tour: