I've always been into hand crafts since my grandmother taught me to knit during a wet school holidays when I was 8. My mother, and two grandmothers were prolific and skilled at knitting, crochet, hairpin lace and tatting so I had great examples to follow.
Over the years I have done a lot of crochet, knitting, cross stitch and needlepoint as well as loads of sewing for my family.
When we bought our alpacas I was excited at the idea of making things using our fleeces and so I have all the equipment needed - spinning wheels, drum carder, weaving looms, knitting machines and a large supply of hand knitting needles and crochet hooks!
We use yarns "Made in NZ" from our own fleeces or we buy in NZ made yarns from our friends in the Alpaca business as needed. We don't want to use any imported yarns so we can support NZ Alpaca breeders and the local spinning mills that remain.
In the 10 years we have had Alpacas there have been a number of commercial mills close in NZ and several have changed hands and fortunately been re-opened. Plus two alpaca farms have set up their own mills in the North Island and are doing a fabulous job creating luxury yarns from Alpaca fleeces.
Several years ago my husband had a serious stroke so is very limited what he can do. One thing he has thoroughly enjoyed is the challenge of knitting machines. He has trouble operating them for more than a few minutes at a time but his skills as an engineer have meant he has the patience and skill to take the machines apart and clean them thoroughly and get them going again. Great physiotherapy! He also loves reading all the literature and instruction books! So we have invested in several machines and lots of spare parts!
I have taken courses in spinning and weaving at the Auckland Hand Spinners and Weavers Guild and have made a few items from my hand spun yarn and on the looms and these have been sold on farm but looking after the alpacas and property takes time so these crafts have to wait.
So at the moment we are concentrating on hand knitted, machine knitted and crocheted clothing and accessories but hopefully our woven and felted alpaca goodies will be in our shop soon.