Emma Taylor – 25th November 2021

25 November 2021     British Alpaca Society     BAS Board


With Autumn well and truly upon us & winter looming, we have now closed our Experiences for the winter. We did not open at all during 2020 but have had the busiest year to date culminating in seven nominations for an East of England Tourism award from happy visitors I assume! Participation rather than winning is the value to us but as the saying goes ‘you have to be in it to win it’ so we humbly wait for the results with everything crossed.

Aside for usual alpaca chores & management, I have now finally had time to get back to knitting – not with two, three or even four needles but rather, up to 360 needles! I have in total 9 different knitting machines which take different weights of yarn & work differently. The Passap E6000 is said to be the Rolls Royce of machines but is by far the hardest to master & will accommodate singles up to a 4-ply yarn. I am far from an expert but each day is a learning day & I try to set some time aside to try and translate the creations in my mind into something recognisable on one of the machines, spurred on by the rapidly growing fleeces on our alpacas and culmination of our best fleeces yet to be processed but safely stored in vacuum bags away from moths, flies & rodents.

All the yarns we produce, and use are 100% alpaca and with climate change being front and centre it is an ideal opportunity to promote the many positive features of alpaca -sustainable, strong, eco-friendly, hypoallergenic, flame resistant, anti-bacterial – clever alpacas!  Are you wearing something alpaca as you read this? Do you have an alpaca rug on your floor? Perhaps some alpaca yarn on your needles, hooks, or loom? Are you making the best use of the fibre your alpacas are growing for you? There is a use for all fibre – I have recently been told that a very clever person is even using the second cuts (a mill owners’ nightmare!) for cat nip. Did you know that BAS has its very own pair of fibre marques which you can use? One for 100% pure British alpaca and the other for blended alpaca to promote the ‘Buy British theme?

We are often asked about end products. Each process ‘adds value’ to raw fibre BUT you do need to have an end goal in mind for your fibre, whether that is simply selling as is, processing into yarn for retail sales or own use, or for a knitting/weaving mill to make garments or cloth for you. Each element takes a bit of time and effort in researching not only the process, costs, and credibility of both manufacturer & your market/customer base.

With that all said, I am off to the herd or mill or shop or knitting machines!

Wishing you all a healthy & happy Christmas & hope to catch up at the National!”