Rosalea, little does she know it, is going to take pride of place in my local outfit this year. Rosalea is a 4 year old alpaca with a rose grey fleece, raised by Carolyn at Windella Alapacas keeps 60 alpacas in the south west.
Before I left Perth for Melbourne (yes,we’ve made the big move back) I visited Carolyn and her alpaca’s and had a great chat about local natural textiles. I am very keen for my outfit to be sourced from Western Australia again this year and I knew I was missing one important ingredient, something to weave.
As you can see half of Rosalea’s fleece hit the indigo dye pot. The next step was to find someone local to prepare the yarn for weaving. Carolyn had some great leads but I was finding that my 750g was too much for the hand spinners and too little for the micro mills (1kg is a good starting point).
I eventually found a West Australian solution but while we wait for the yummy yarn to head my way I thought I would share my findings with you to in case you too have a Rosalea, or a Toby or a Merrilee or a Alfie that you need spun : )
Australian Alpaca Processing options:
There is a comprehensive list of Alpaca processors here, the few below are options I investigated further.
Paca Molino, Jenny Cornwall processes to roving for $65/kg, takes small amounts
Fiber of the Gods, Hazel, process to roving for $64/kg or yarn in 3,4,5,8 ply for $90-108/kg, takes small amounts
Hand Weavers Dyers and Spinners Guild list of local spinners who may be able to help with one off projects. Prefer roving and small amounts.
Fiber Naturally – Gail Herring, this service came highly recommended and it shows in the 5-6 months wait time, $120/kg to yarn, will take single fleeces
Cashmere Connections – visited by Rachel, larger scale processing
Wool 2 Yarn – small runs possible, need to call
Adagio Mills – newly opened, $98-100.kg, min 5 kg, rovings or yarn.
Paddock to Ply, Suzette Sayer, in set up stage, keep watch for more soon.
There was also talk that the Bendigo woollen mill and Waverley mills in Tasmania may be considering starting boutique processing again.
Who did I choose? Well, you’ll just have to wait.