For some time now, quietly and slowly, I’ve been developing a series of spinning kits that I hope will make local fibres more accessible to spinners. I will be releasing my first kit at the Artisans Textile Festival in Bendigo 20-22 July.
The Natural Gradient Alpaca Shawl Kit celebrates the wonderful natural colours of local alpaca. This kit contains all the fibre you need to make a beautiful ombre shawl. The fibre has been picked, washed, weighed, blended and drum carded to create five graded batts from rusty chocolate to soft almond, with nothing left to do except enjoy your spinning.
One of things that can put spinners off alpaca is the giant bags of fleece that you can end up with. If you want to work with colour, there are multiple bags and voluminous amounts of fleece to contend with plus significant wastage, washing and sorting. It can be overwhelming for someone who just wants to give alpaca a try. It is my hope that kits such as these can enable spinners to try a variety of local fibres in a supported, accessible way.
To guide your spinning efforts and ensure you end up with a useful yarn, the kit is accompanied by a handy booklet that contains information about alpaca fibre, provenance, spinning tips and even a guide to choosing the perfect knitting pattern.
There’s space to write down notes about your yarn so you can remember what you did for next time. There are simple guidelines for spinning the alpaca as well as specific technical information about the yarn I spun, so whether you are an intuitive spinner or a tech nerd, you will find your sweet spot with this kit.
I knit up a small sample with only 100g but the kit contains more fibre, so the shawl would be bigger too. I used Evelyn Clark’s Shetland Triangle with the alpaca spun into a 2 ply woollen fingering weight. The drape, the slow fade and the open lace are just scrumptious. Details of the shawl are also on Ravelry.
If you are a maker concerned about your environmental impact, please be assured that all the alpaca in these kits is local to Victoria, has been processed in-house (literally!) in Ballarat and and contains no dyes/bleach/treatments of any kind other than biodegradable, earth-safe detergent. All the fibre waste from these kits is recycled into dog beds by another maker. The carbon footprint is low.
The Artisans Textile Festival runs in conjunction with the Australian Sheep and Wool Show weekend. It’s located at the North Bendigo Bowls Club, just a couple of minutes away from the Showground itself, with a host of textile vendors. You will find my kits on the My Spin on Things stall, a wonderland of fibre supplies. I will be there in person on the Saturday.
Perhaps I will see you there?