Last month I visited the National Alpaca Show in Telford and was delighted that Shropshire had a high profile. The county is well and truly on the map- thanks to Newport’s Alpaca Farm Eggnog, named as the Supreme Huacaya champion.
Alpaca Farm Eggnog is the first female winner of Supreme Champion in over ten years. The accolade was a great victory for a small local breeder against competitors from all over the country. In total 450 alpacas were exhibited at the event.
My own herd are doing well, although I haven’t had time to exhibit them recently. We have five babies due in the summer, so I recently sold some of adult alpacas to make room for the expected newcomers. Four of my animals have gone to a farm at Leominster, where they will be a visitor attraction linked to the farm shop. I was sad to see them go but I had to put the young generation first.
March was a busy and productive month for our shop in High Street, Church Stretton, and the beginners crochet sessions on Wednesdays proved popular.
There has been substantial interest in the looms we stock – Sampelt and Rigid Heddle. These are great starter looms for people learning to weave because they are small and don’t take up too much space. Although they are compact, there are endless creative possibilities at your fingertips. You can make anything from scarves and shawls to cushion covers, table mats, table runners and wall hangings!
We have more creative fun coming up in April and will be holding another crochet event, the Granny Squares Workshop. If you’re interested in taking part, you will need to be proficient in basic stitches. You will learn how to crochet granny squares and join them up to create a variety of different blankets.
We will also be welcoming Fiona Nisbet back to demonstrate Inkle loom weaving. This type of weaving was famously highlighted by William Shakespeare in Love’s Labour’s Lost. The term “Inkle” means a ribbon or tape. You can find out more about Inkle looms from Wikipedia.
I went on a workshop myself recently to learn about needle felting. The event was run by the Shropshire Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers and took place in Bayston Hill, Shrewsbury.
Needle felting has been described as “a modern twist to the ancient art of felt-making”. Felting is a method of producing felt from animal fibres (including alpaca wool). Needle felting doesn’t require water which is used in wet felting. Specialist needles from industrial felting machines are used by the artist as a sculpting tool. Again, to find out more about the process, see Wikipedia.
The workshop I attended was run by Jenny Barnett who is brilliant at making amazing animals. We made a hare – and the six of us (all beginners) ended up with very different shaped hares, all with great characteristics! Jenny has written a book and will be attending the Wonderwool Wales show at the end of the month. (Wonderwool Wales is the premier wool and natural fibre festival in Wales and was founded in 2006 to promote the country’s wool and natural fibre industry).
If you’d like to try your hand at needle felting, we sell kits in the Coco Alpacas shop; we have a choice of beagle, butterflies, flowers, sheep or a rooster.
Dates for the diary
Friday April 22nd Granny Square Workshop 10.30am -1.30pm
To be held at 9 High Street, Church Stretton SY6 6BU
Cost £28.00 – includes wool
Thursday April 28th Inkle Loom Weaving Demonstration by Fiona Nisbet
Held at 9 High Street, Church Stretton SY6 6BU
10.30am – 3pm
April 23rd/24th Wonderwool Wales – Royal Welsh showground, Builth Wells
Enjoy this lovely month now that Spring has arrived and I hope to see you around.