I’ve been hiding out in the beautiful WMV (Wet Mountain Valley) this week, wrangling lace and being generally indolent. But yesterday I had the extreme good fortune of taking a drop spindle class at Eye Dazzler Alpacas.

Owners Phil and Allie have a gorgeous facility on the east side of the valley. So before we started our lesson, we toured the barn where we met a number of the babies. Cute doesn’t even begin to describe them. And since all the alpacas had had their yearly haircuts, they looked especially Seussian. I fell completely in love with this young lady—Bri (short for Brilliance). I wonder how Mitch and the cats would feel if I brought an alpaca juvenile to live inside the house?



Back at the casita, we met Claire Walker. I’ve known Claire and admired her work for many years. She taught my friend Cheri to spin, and last year at Taos, Cheri took a blue ribbon with one of her skeins. Given the rather irregular state of my yarn, I jumped at the chance to get tutelage from this master spinner.

Claire also lives in the valley with seven of her very own alpacas. She’s not a breeder, but instead raises them as fiber pets. A purist, she adores being able to affect the quality of a finished lace shawl from the way she treats and shears her animals. The stunning lace she knits is all from yarn she raised and spun herself. Her work is so beautiful, it will make you want to weep.



The inimitable Claire Walker

Claire teaches a very specific spindling technique, which essentially takes the drop out of “drop spindle.” Instead of using the weight of the spindle to bring the twist, she controls the twist in such a way as to produce a very fine, even yarn. I won’t divulge her secrets, but let’s leave it at this: I think she changed my life. But I’m going to have to acquire deeper patience and improve my character to produce Claire-quality yarn. If you have an opportunity to take a class from this fine artist, do.

Thanks to Allie and Phil and their splendid herd, too, for hosting such a fun, fiberlicious day.

Comments (5) -

June 6. 2007 03:32


Thank you for linking to Cheri! I met her at an alpaca show here in Longmont last spring, where she was kind enough to give me a quick spindle lesson. I was hoping to take one of her classes but I lost her info.

I learned more about spinning in ten minutes from her than in a year of help from various others. (I'd just about given up , too.)

Suzi |

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