Another store opens on Muncy Main Street
MUNCY – South Main Street was busy over the weekend as many visitors came to see the new store that just opened. With a ribbon cutting ceremony and open house, Lazy Meadows Alpacas wanted to showcase a wide array of talented artists and feature some of the finest alpaca yarns and accessories made here in our area.
Members from the Susquehanna Valley Spinning and Weavers Guild were on hand to talk about the skill of hand spinning and weaving on looms and spindles. The Guild is dedicated to the fiber arts and it was formed 25 years ago. To preserve the craft and educate others is their main mission as well as perfecting their skills in dyeing, felting, knitting, crocheting and other fiber crafts.
The alpacas are another story in itself. Rich in history, these animals are a member of the camel family whose origins are in the highlands of South America. Their soft fleece is in demand and can make a lucrative business according to Mike Longstreth, who recently opened Lazy Meadows Alpacas with his wife, Lizzie. The fleece requires minimal preparation and is also used to make felt for hats, cloth or moccasins.
The animals are easy to raise. They require little food, mostly hay but they like lots of water. The Longstreths have 20 alpacas on their Wolf Township farm. “This way we can use our farm in a productive and environmental way,” said Mike. “They are easy to raise.” He said he learned the skill of shearing and spinning by going to farmer markets in the Susquehanna Valley and talking to others who raise them. The concept of going retail evolved later after he came into contact with the Spinners and Weavers Guild. Longstreth said he does his own spinning as he pointed to a display of yarns ready for sale in their natural state.
“We chose the Muncy downtown location because it has the right atmosphere with the rural and historical background,” Mike said. “Muncy is a hometown country place and many people here like the art of spinning and weaving. We will be adding workshops and classes soon,” he added.
Other materials available include brushed wool and hand painted yarns, brushed mohair and mohair boucle, and hand dyed and hand spun wool from ewes. Most of the accessories such as totes, scarves, shawls and blankets that are for sale are made from the textile artisans. Equipment for spinning and weaving looms are also for sale and can range anywhere from $400 to $1500 said Libby Beiler, a guild member from Montour County who teaches classes.
There is a process to prepare the fiber. Worthington Acres in Unityville will process the raw fleece into roving thread, that is, getting it ready to spin. It is washed at their mill and then sent through a carding machine for roving.
Yarns can be made from milk, corn, soy, bamboo and even crustacean shells which is a novelty explained Cindy Burkhart from Loganton who was demonstrating weaving on a triangular loom.
Lazy Meadows Alpacas is open Monday through Saturday until 5 p.m. but they are closed on Wednesdays and Sundays. For more information on alpacas go to www.AlpacaInfo.com.