Warm to Summer knitting

I went with our yarns to a local market the other day. It was glorious spring weather: bright sunshine, little wind – the first warm day people had enjoyed after a particularly cold, wet spell. There were lots of smiling visitors, many of them people who would most likely be knitters and who love yarn. Did the stall do well? Not a bit!

That brought home to me the fact that most people consider knitting really seasonal: specifically, something to do in the colder months.

But it ain’t necessarily so. If you don’t wish to pack away your needles, hooks and yarns for the next few months, here are some ideas to keep you working comfortably throughout the summer.

Try working with lighter yarns – finer suri alpaca is smoother, less fluffy than huacaya and can be used to create soft, light tops, shawls or wraps for the warmer months.

A simple pattern using larger needles and fine yarn gives an ‘instant lace’ effect. It is easy to create a simple top to throw over light clothes by knitting two basic rectangles in the pattern and yarn of your choice, then joining them with short strips like shoulder straps. You may join the sides or not, as you wish.

Look at giving the gift of luxury knitting, but instead of knitting that scarf or wrap yourself, make a gift of a kit for someone you know who will love the yarns. Or simply find a lovely container for a couple of balls of luxury alpaca yarn.

We know where it comes from, where it is made - and we have handled it

I was contemplating the other day the number of times I handle our knitalpaca products. For us, the most important thing is that our yarns are soft and feel luxurious. The ‘handle’ or feel is of prime importance. This is probably the case with most natural fibres, but certainly with alpaca and other animal fibres the hands are busy all the time.

As an alpaca farmer I have the privilege of handling our yarns right from the source. A new alpaca (cria) is born, and felt as soon as it is dry. We keep a ‘hand’ on its fleece development as it grows. All our animals are subjected to the ‘hands on’ treatment many times a year: when we undertake routine husbandry tasks we always have a close look at fleece development and check its softness, lustre, colour and other features (and, of course, we always try to score a cuddle with young animals).

Once a year alpacas are shorn, and their fleece skirted and sorted, with a sample from each taken for testing. Results of the tests give us a good idea of how the animals are progressing with their fleece development.

To send fibre to the mill for processing another hands on experience awaits: each fleece is skirted and cleaned of vegetable matter (a daunting task with some alpaca fleeces) weighed, checked again, assessed as to softness and colour, and assigned to one of a number of yarn types to be spun.

Then, when the yarn returns from the mill, I can indulge again by feeling the softness of the finished product, then running the yarn through my fingers as I knit or crochet a new project.

Alternatively, when fleece is hand spun there is a whole lot more tactile interaction as fibre is cleaned, teased out and each millimetre of yarn spun, plied, washed and wound into balls

How many times is our product handled? It must amount to hundreds. You won’t get that with synthetics!

So this year when you buy a ball of knitalpaca yarn, take moment to think about the role of hands in its creation. Then enjoy every centimetre of it as it flows through your hands.

Here's another yarn to knit yourself some Luxury

We have recently received a small batch of a new yarn: ‘Cashpaca’. This gorgeous stuff is a blend of Australian black alpaca and cashmere from local goats. The yarn is very soft, with silvery cashmere flecks. Processing has been painstaking, and stocks are limited, but if you are looking for something special, local and natural, you should give it a try.

2018 - the Year of Blowing our own Trumpet

A few short years after acquiring my first alpacas I had some fibre spun into knitting yarn. It was enormously exciting to see – and feel – a soft, lustrous product derived from these very attractive (and, and that time, very expensive) animals.
Now, more than a decade later I am excited all over again.

In conjuction with wonderful friends and co-alpaca breeders we have improved the quality, quantity and lustre of our alpaca fleeces, and the people at the specialist mill outside of Melbourne have consistently improved the quality, and creativity, of the processing. The new knitalpaca suri yarns in particular are a revelation – a glimpse of what can be achieved with vision, reliability and experience.
With our 2017-18 alpaca clip we are aiming to produce the best suri alpaca yarn so far seen in Australia …in the natural colours of alpacas, and natural colour blends …grown and entirely produced in Australia.

Check out our current stock of lovely suri alpaca yarns, and keep in touch for news of new yarns.
Sheer indulgence … ‘Surindulgence’ from knitalpaca

A special gift for a Real Knitter

Do you know someone who is a ‘real’ knitter – that is, who gets great pleasure from knitting, from yarns, natural fibres and textiles – or perhaps you are one yourself?
This year knitalpaca has developed a great gift for such people
The ‘REAL’ Knitter’s Box contains around 100g of luxurious knitalpaca yarn, in a natural (undyed) colour, information about alpaca yarns, a pattern suggestion for the yarn and a discount voucher for a subsequent purchase, all presented in a lovely gift box.
The choice of yarns includes
• ‘Luxa’ 100% Australian huacaya alpaca in 8 ply,
• ‘Colouratura’ hand dyed suri alpaca
• ‘Ultima’ fine suri/huacaya alpaca blended with kid mohair.
Cost: $38 plus p&p
If you wish, the REAL Knitters Box can be sent directly to the recipient, with a gift card and your message. When ordering, please give recipient name and mailing address and a billing email address.

Even more luxury: new animals, yarns & blends

This month heralds a new range of luxury for knitters and textile artists. We are delighted to announce new developments in knitalpaca: not only do we continue to grow and produce soft, luxurious yarns in Australian alpaca and alpaca blends, but we have extended our range to include other luxury natural fibres and blends—all made in Australia.

Fibre for these unique knitalpaca yarns comes from dedicated growers of huacaya and suri alpaca, merino and angora goats. These fibre farmers, and the people who wash, prepare and spin the yarns at our mill, are passionate about bringing real luxury yarns to knitters and textile craftspeople, and to developing world class products which are grown and entirely produced in this country.

And if you are in the vicinity you can now visit our factory shop to see and feel these lovely creations for yourself. visit the knitalpaca factory shop at 21 Virginia Street, Mornington, Victoria.

New and exciting blends

Over past months, we have been working closely with the specialists who process our alpaca fibre and turn it into yarn. Not content with just producing beautifully soft, natural coloured alpaca yarns, we have been working on small quantities of special blends and new ways of introducing colour into our yarns.

The results are most exciting: new blends of alpaca ‘with a twist’ of fine merino are producing wonderful subtle colours (see our Yarns page) which still retain the unique feel of alpaca.

Now, in order to be more ecologically advanced, we have developed another new yarn: the lovely ‘Salvation’, which uses huacaya alpaca fibre mixed with reclaimed, previously spun yarns to create new texture and highlights.

All new yarns are individually created in small batches – enough for one or two jumpers, as well as a few scarves. But each batch is subtly unique.

Give the Gift of Luxury

You can give a wonderful gift this season to your friends and family members who may enjoy knitting.

Yarn, kits, or a gift voucher can be sent to you or direct to your recipient with a knitalpaca gift card enclosed.

Knit Kits

Beautifully presented in clear containers, knitalpaca Knit Kits include designs from simple scarves and wraps to luxurious jumpers, tops, and even home furnishings. Kits come with Australian alpaca yarns, easy to follow instructions and all the little extras needed to complete the pattern. Have a look at the Knit Kits page. Prices range from $32.00.

Yarn Club

How about treating a friend to a three month membership of the knitalpaca Yarn Club? Each month Yarn Club members receive a pack with at least 100g of yarn, a monthly newsletter and ideas for using alpaca yarns. A great way to try out some alpaca yarns. Read more about the Yarn Club below. Price $65.

Gift Vouchers

We have knitalpaca Gift Vouchers which can be mailed to you or direct to your recipient. They have no expiry and can be used for any of our products. Order from the Gifts page. Vouchers are available for $20, $30, $50 or $100.

knitalpaca yarn club

Yarn Club

Are you new to alpaca yarns and don’t want to commit yourself to a large project?

Want to try some yarns before deciding on a project?

Would you like to give the gift of luxury to a friend?

Our knitalpaca Yarn Club may be just what you’re looking for. Sign up, and each month for three months, we will send you:

  • two balls of luxurious knitalpaca yarn (100 grams or more)
  • ideas and patterns which are suitable for the yarns
  • our ‘Knit, Kit & Caboodle’ newsletter – each month

At just $65 for three months (that’s less than the price of the yarns) it’s a good way to check out what’s available from knitalpaca.

And for the period of membership you’re entitled to a special 15% discount off the purchase of extra yarns.

To join the knitalpaca yarn club:

  • look for the Yarn Club product on the Yarns page
  • click the ‘Add to basket’ box as you would any other product, and complete the order
  • in the “Messages” section of the checkout page, indicate your natural colour preferences – dark or light; browns & creams; blacks & greys etc.

When we receive your order we will send an invoice and the first of your monthly packages. And we will cover the costs of postage and handling – it’ll be removed from the invoice that we send.