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Alpaca Fleece the healing touch
Author: Kate Lathrop
For many weeks, Deb, our church organist, had been telling us of her mother's declining health. Deb had done everything to help her mother, Estelle, including buying her a prayer shawl - one that Deb had received when she had a bout with breast cancer. She laid it on her mother's bed and told her she hoped that it would help her.
Estelle had stopped eating because she didn't want to live anymore, but the shawl intrigued her. She had been an avid knitter and here was a beautiful example of knitting. Some stranger had knitted this for her daughter when she had breast cancer. Everything about the shawl had meaning - the number of stitches, design and color. Estelle looked at it for a while and then decided to take up knitting again. She saw the beauty in the stitches and thought that perhaps she too could contribute to the effort to help women with breast cancer.
Estelle began knitting. She knit and knit and knit.
When her daughter mentioned this in church, my heart went out to her and I began to imagine how much Estelle would enjoy knitting with alpaca fleece. What could be softer? For someone who is suffering a great deal, just the feel of the alpaca yarn might make them feel better. I decided then and there to donate some of our alpaca yarn to Estelle. If she could donate her time, then I could donate the fleece.
I also gave her a picture of our alpaca, Great Rock Spartacus, so she could see what the alpaca looked like. I find that the people who buy alpaca yarn love to see where it came from. Apparently, Estelle waited with excitement the day that her daughter brought her the alpaca yarn. She had seen it before, but she never had a chance to knit with it. Deb told me how excited her mother was and it made me realize just how important seemingly small acts of kindness can be.
About two weeks later, Deb said her mother loved the yarn and she wanted more yarn to give to her mother. I gave her a blend of fawn alpaca.
Later in the month, Deb told me that she had a surprise for me. Estelle had knit a shawl for me and was very excited to see how I liked it. What a surprise! But before she gave it to me, she entered it into our Church's craft festival.
It seems apparent to everyone that Estelle has regained her interest in living. She was discharged from the hospital and is now in a nursing home. Just recently, she started walking again, using a cane. And she keeps asking for more alpaca yarn to keep her busy. I envision a beautiful white shawl made with the softest micron count I have on our farm. She deserves to have the best I can offer.
We shear the alpacas and as a result receive beautiful fleece. We all know they need to be shorn, but every year I think what a wonderful gift they give us. My goal is to be as selfless as the alpacas are. Donating the yarn to Estelle made me feel as if I contributed something to a good cause. In return, Estelle gave me a beautiful shawl, which I will treasure forever.
As alpaca breeders, we are so lucky to raise such wonderful animals. They do not know how much comfort someone can get from their fleece, but we do. Let's not forget that fact in our rush to get the next "blue ribbon". After all, what is more important in life than giving to others in their hour of need?
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