I source all my alpaca from Yew Tree Alpacas. Please do check out their website, as well as selling alpaca products, they also run alpaca events, which are well worth going on (I speak from experience!).
However, back to my alpaca. As I say, it’s sourced from the alpacas at Yew Tree Alpaca’s as the quality of the fleece is very good. If you’ve not tried alpaca before, it is a fantastic material. It’s light, soft and very warm. This is because the fibre itself is hollow. It’s also hypo-allergenic, which means that even if you can’t wear wool (from sheep), you should be able to wear alpaca. It also has all the properties of wool, which means that it’s naturally water resistant.
As I know the alpacas, I know how well they are looked after. This means that my yarn is very natural and completely vegan. Alpaca naturally comes in different shades and colours which means that I don’t need to dye it.
When I get the fleece its raw and unwashed (if you are interested in the washing process, please check out my Fibres page). I wash it; process it; card it (which is like combing it) then finally spin it. The spun yarn is then washed for the last time to loosen the fibres, dried and finally wound up into the skeins that you buy. Each 50g skein takes around 5hours to produce (not including the drying time!). It is well worth it.
Most of the sheep yarn I spin is merino that I buy already washed and combed (if you are interested in why, please look at my Fibres page). However, every now and then, I manage to source some fleece (which I usually get rather excited about).
This time, I found an amazing farm while visiting Portland, Dorset. Fancy’s farm is a wonderful community farm, on the Isle of Portland, just off Weymouth. They have a great ethos and continually make the most of what they have around them. I love them and what they do. If you want to find out more, please visit their website. I took the kids (who loved it), got chatting to the guy who runs it because they have the only herd of Portland sheep on Portland, and discovered that he had a whole load of fleece that he was happy to pass on. As you can imagine, I was very excited and my poor family had to drive back to London with 3 fleeces squished into the car!
I am currently washing and processing it. I won’t be selling it as it really is an indulgence. However I will be using it in my demonstrations, so if you fancy having a go yourself, either spinning or felting, contact me and we can sort something out.