The art of alpacas

ron doley wheel alpaca fleeceWhen you meet Jan 2 you learn quickly she is very easy to talk to and very enthusiastic about alpaca fleece. She loves her alpacas and is a very keen alpaca farmer who has done due diligence and made a point of knowing as much about them and their fleece as she can. She never stops learning and her passion for them is infectious. She loves each and every one of her crias (baby alpacas) and always ensures they are put into caring homes. She is full of joy when a new one is born. Her genuine love of her farm and animals is why she makes friends easily. She talks warmly about what she does and you cannot help but get caught up in it. Sonya, our roving reporter, brings you her story this week.

Jan Mark 2

Mum taught me to knit when I was five! And my father used to crochet finely worked doilies! Mum always liked knitting and later on did quilting. I didn’t start spinning until we bought alpacas. At that time, my husband brought me home a spinning wheel from a second hand shop. It had one bobbin, no lazy kate or anything else. I bought an Ashford book and from that, I taught myself how to spin. I was advised to start on sheep’s wool but after a week I went on to alpaca fleeces. Once I mastered that I made hats and scarves. We’ve won over a hundred prizes for our champion alpacas. Rearing them then training and grooming them for showing, is an art in itself!

I sell my work at the Meadows market. I was invited to the Victor Harbour Spinners to talk about suri alpaca. They were such a nice group that I ended up joining! Then sometime later I was invited to to talk about alpacas to the men’s group at Aldinga. I took two alpacas along with me. When the rain eventually stopped I took them out and showed them to the men. Because alpaca fleece and yarn are used in craft work, the men did an unprecedented thing. They had invited their womenfolk! I learned about the women’s spinning group and sure enough, I joined up with them. So now I alternate with the Victor Harbour Spinners and Seaford Spinners on a Monday and I still go to the Aldinga group which meets every fortnight on a Tuesday.

We are overjoyed to have Jan the second join our group. She has much to teach us and we are eager learners. Thank you in anticipation Jan.

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Child’s neck scarf

Cathy made a beanie and matching neck scarf for her little grandson. No point in making him a scarf. He is a very active 19mth old child and he would keep a scarf on. Both hte beanie and scarf are made from merino tops, dark alpaca fleece , hand dyed corriedale  and camel hair and silk. Both beanie and neck scarf are very soft and warm. Little grandson likes his new neck scarf and was happy to put it on for a photo. Marina modelled it as well on Monday to show us that the neck scarf would be a good adult accessory too.

Show and tell

show and tell march 18th

It was a lovely day down by the beach…and then it got a bit warm again! Luckily , we were just about ready to go home by then. There were so many good things to look at this week and so many great ideas to share.

Jan Bentley : a skein of finely spun alpaca in light fawn.

Wendy : 2 balls of finely spun baby camel/wool in pale cream

Cathy: a ball of spun wool dyed with a bottle of Cabernet Shiraz, a small kerchief for her grandson plus a Fair Isle beanie to match,

Marina: 2 pairs of spiral knitted socks, in dark red & green, the other brown mixed with a beanie to match.

Maria : a small jumper in fawn with strips of red & green, small knitted toys for girls with a lacy dress, a man with a hat, sheep, penguin & a fish.

Peter: a piece of weaving made in to lovely bag by Marina.

John: a piece of weaving ready for his next shopping bag,

Sonya: brought in a huge bag of lemon scented Verbena,

Janette: a bag of lemons.

Christine: a bucket full of grapes.

Our wheels

Geoff French Spinning WheelWe have another Jan in our club , which makes it 3 now. She is new to the club this year. Like everyone else she brings a lot of skills and knowledge and can contribute to the pool of experience. Jan likes spinning alpaca and that is what she was spinning on Monday. She has a lovely Geoff French wheel. It is thoughtfully designed and has some nice touches to help spinning. We liked seeing it because a number of people in the club were well aware of Geoff French and his Adelaide spinning wheels. It’s a nice colour and the fawn alpaca Jan was spinning looked good. She has no difficulty spinning this wheel with one foot only on the treadle board.