Last weekend I was able to attend a two day conference in Lebanon, Mo called Fiber U. It is put on by the MOPACA-Midwest Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association. This was the 7th year that they have put this on but my first time attending. My friend Sarah joined me in taking classes although I think she had more fun classes because she got to make things. Mine were more business and maintenance type classes.
The first class I took was really valuable and it was all about prepping/skirting fiber. Skirting is basically where you get rid of all the nasty parts or the 2nd cuts which are the too short pieces or pieces that are courser etc. Basically, everything you don't want to end up in your finished product. I really needed this class because I find that I'm always second guessing while I'm skirting my fleeces. It's painful when so much of the fleece gets pulled out and either discarded or saved for making some other type of core or rug yarn.
The pics from above are from a class called Woolology. It was all about hand processing fibers, grading and choosing a decent fleece. Also, I met some great folks in this class and was able to come away with more knowledge of how to process the long wool breeds. Currently, I only have one long wool sheep but I'm purchasing another Border Leicester ewe at the end of summer.
I also had an excellent class that was all about Ecommerce for crafters. It was more geared towards protecting yourself while conducting business on the Internet. The instructor was extremely knowedgeable and I came away from that class inspired.
I also took a class called 'From Pasture to Profit' which was good besides the fact that it was geared towards alpaca owners. I did come away from that class with more knowedgeable of the CO-OPs for alpaca farmers, and I got the name of another shearer in case I need a backup.
I also got to see Nancy and take her fleeces to her. I took 7 of my own fleeces to be processed by a mill out in Kansas. They had a booth set up so I prearranged to save on shipping and just drop them by.
This is is definitely a conference that I will be attending again. I had a hard time picking between classes and that's always a good thing.