360 Degrees of Alpaca Farming
I feel like we have two very distinct aspects to Brycarda, farming the animals, and working with the fibre; hence the distinction between the Brycarda Alpacas and Brycarda Fibre Art. The exquisite fibre these animals can produce is truly amazing, and certainly one of the main things that drew me towards starting our farm. These quirky animals are almost impossible not to fall in love with, and spending time with them has such a positive effect on your attitude toward life! To be able to utilize the fibre they provide you with each year to produce such wonderful products allows a "full circle" sense of accomplishment that is often missing in our hectic, modern world.
Alpacas belong in both the livestock world and the pet world for many of us. We name them, we spend time with them daily, we register them and take them to shows. Many farms have walking tours where you hike along with the alpaca. They are a species who enjoy human contact and are trainable. They are "easy keepers" in the amount they eat and the care they need. Shearing once yearly is the most work many alpacas will ever require of their owners. Birthing is very easy for this species, and almost always happens between 8am and 4pm. In short, they make a perfect hobby or semi-retirement farm animal.
The fleece they produce is some of the nicest on our planet. For many people who find traditional wool scratchy against the skin, alpaca fibre is far less prickly, making it much more similar to the coveted cashmere fibre. Their fibre is very warm and lightweight, anti-microbial and considered hypoallergenic. And finally, alpacas come in 22 natural colours to please those who prefer un-dyed fibre to create products.
Once this lovely fibre has been sheared from the animal, it needs to be cleaned and sorted before deciding what to utilize it for. On our farm, the prime blanket (the nicest fleece located in the saddle region of the animal and often up the neck) is sent to a Canadian micro-mill where it is spun into yarn. This yarn is then woven in its natural colour or hand dyed in our studio and then woven into the unique items seen for sale in our shop.
The first photo is a rug woven from natural coloured alpaca rug yarn, medium fawn and white. The second photo is a scarf woven from hand dyed lopi and laceweight yarns. I will discuss the dying and weaving process in future posts, but suffice it to say I find the design possibilities endless.
The only thing I wish for in alpaca farming is a more time in a day to accomplish everything I want to do... Stay up to date on our posts by signing up for these to be emailed directly to you. We respect your privacy and will never hand out your information.