Clara Boulton – 30 September 2022 – What better way to keep warm than making alpaca hats?

30 September 2022     British Alpaca Society     BAS Board

With birthing well and truly done, and all of our cria looking extremely well grown (some are looking like small adults!), it means we have slightly more time on our hands. We run alpaca activities on our farm year-round, but we mostly stick to just weekends unless it is school holidays. So, as we leave the school holidays, and the days get shorter we find we get slightly longer indoors which leaves us a little bored.

Over a year ago now we started processing our own fibre at home, which is such a joy! We skirt it in the alpaca barn, wash it in our kitchen, dry it outside on our patio, card it in our dining room on our big drum carder, and spin it whilst sitting on the sofa! The great thing about spinning your own fibre is that you can spin up just what you need for each project. If I fancy a brown hat with a white pom-pom on top, I can take what I need of carded fibre, spin it up nice and chunky, ply it exactly how I like it for hats, and voila! Once you get into spinning it is beautifully mindless task, whether it is watching the Great British Bake Off or plotting a new field layout. It also leaves room for experimentation, whilst carding if I find two fleeces are a similar length and micron, I can have a go at blending the fibre to create a new colour, or lightly card them together for more of a ‘tie dye’ effect. It is great if you enjoy having a creative outlet that can turn into a really profitable ‘side hustle’ if you own alpacas.

My latest addiction is hat making, I make them by loom knitting, you can easily pick up a loom on amazon, and there is a plethora of YouTube videos to follow online, as well as really helpful Facebook groups. After 4 evenings of very determined ‘looming’ I am produced 5 spiral hats as I wanted to clear out a stash of yarn, I’d spun, to make room for my next project. The only disadvantages are I want to keep them all for myself!

If anyone ever has any questions about processing their own fibre or how we get started, they are always welcome to get in touch!