Episode 93 – Alpaca Love

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These hot temperatures are having some side effects, I need to open my windows for survival. That means the choice between some potential atmospheric background noise or an unconscious host. I’ve soldiered on in the belief that I’m pretty pivotal to this podcast and chosen the former. As summer approaches we are beginning to think about summer knitting, which I have discussed before, quelle surprise in the approach to last summer and summer knitting yarns.

Today is the first instalment of my fibre focus on Alpaca. More Alpaca love was requested by a listener in my survey last year and as always your wish is my command. I will touch on it today as an introduction but there will be much more info to come in the coming weeks.


Oh I’ve a few things to share with you today. Firstly, and probably most importantly, the New Media Europe awards are back. Remember those from last year??

Yeah you do, you bunch of winners you!

Our podcast has been nominated in the Best UK Podcast and Audience Appreciation award categories. Another worthy competitor is another of last years winners, Curious Handmade, you may also vote for Helen if you so wish. There are 100 nominations and the top 10 from each category go on to become finalists.

Voting is open between the 9th and 29th May so you know what you need to do. Now. Do it now.

Don’t let them take your award away.

I have also nominated Ravelry in the Community category. Regular listeners will recognise it’s importance to 90% of my interview guests as they all state it as their go-to resource for business and pleasure connectivity, and we all know what it has done for us as individuals and the friendships it has helped to create. I’m sure I don’t need to encourage you to vote for that too.

nme awards

#RewindKAL – Hold on to your seats folks, I have only gone and cast off Boo Knits Voodoo shawl! (May also have cast on my Lush in the special Shinybees Podcast yarn as a well done to me). It’s not blocked or owt but baby steps and all that. If you haven’t joined us yet, please do. The only criteria are that you must choose your favourite project from a previous KAL and relive it, or choose one that you wanted to do in a previous KAL and missed out on. Some people have managed to complete multiple projects, I’m only just getting started, and there are many others are at various stages between. Most importantly there is lots of chatter and copious enabling. It is open until the 26th June so you have plenty time to get involved, no boats have been missed, and if you need a little more motivation; I have prizes. They are as follows:

1 Skein of Rowan: Fine Art, which is a Mohair blend Sock yarn, previously discussed in Episode 67, kindly donated by Suffolk Socks.

Rowan Fine Art c) Suffolk Socks

Rowan Fine Art c) Suffolk Socks

2 skeins of Cashmerino DK, an 80% Merino, 10% Yak, 10% Silk mix from Bogga at Knitting in France. This was dyed for her friend Renee Callahan of EastLondonKnit for her Brioche Twister Scarf. The pattern is also available free if you sign up to the EastLondonKnit newsletter. She has also added some stitch markers so this is a super nice prize.

1 The Golden Skein Slimmers Club 2016 subscription. So a couple of surprise skeins will come your way.

The podcast is taking a short break. There will be no episodes on the 24th or 31st May, so that means there is no episode after next week until the 7th June. I am taking some time to stoke the fires of creativity and decide how best to move my shiny genius forward. Try to hold it together and perhaps choose your favourite previous episodes for a revisit and some solace.

Enabler’s Corner

This week you will be thankful for my enabling you to Lesley Taylor, The Undraped Textile Artist. I had already purchased some lovely stitch markers of hers from Fluph but Lesley has sent me some too, which is great so now I have a set in each of my notions kits. They are little clip on keyrings with short crochet hooks and charms. The crochet hooks are very handy for picking up dropped stitches, which happens to the best of us. Excellent for a quick repair.

Stitch Markers by The Undraped Textile Artist

Stitch Markers by The Undraped Textile Artist

Lesley has also kindly provided us with a set of ‘Karma’ themed stitch markers as a GIVEAWAY! Karma has its origins in Hindu and Buddhism and is essentially the thought that the sum of your actions and this and previous existences decides your future existence. Basically – be good so good stuff happens to you. From a knitting perspective you must try hard and practice lots and you will fare better in future projects. Chin it off and leave your errors and you will be crap forever and ever and ever. So, enter the giveaway by heading over to the Ravelry group and just leaving any comment and consider the Karma of those actions – enter now and improve your future chances too!

Fibre Focus

It’ll come as no surprise that I like a good bit of Alpaca, particularly the baby variety. It is luxurious and with fewer scales than sheeps wool so it is inherently soft. You might remember me telling you about LJ being found captivated and drooling over Alpaca at EYF. It has a natural luminosity because of the lack of scales and the smoothness, it’s not Mohair shiny but it is good. There are two kinds of Alpaca wool. Suri Alpaca is very silky and lustrous and best suited to being spun in the worsted method. Huacaya are the ones that look like teddy bears and this fibre is better spun like a wool. The fibre itself is quite dry and contains minimal lanolin so its a good replacement for those who have allergies to sheep wool. It also means that it doesn’t need to be scoured before it is spun so they tend to wash the fleece once it is yarn.

Alpaca was introduced to the UK by Sir Titus Salt and was very fashionable with the Victorians. They would bequeath it to the beneficiaries of their wills as it was somewhat on the pricey side. Big Titus built the Saltaire industrial village in Bradford that will be familiar to most and certainly familiar to those in the knitting community from Yorkshire.

If I have ignited an interest and you need to know more right this instant and cannot wait for next week then you need to head to the British Alpaca Society website and get on the most magnificent tool…wait for it…Alpacapedia. LOVE that.

If you are already a fan of Alpaca yarns please come over to the group and let me know, especially if there are good single farm yarns out there, so I can put together a handy resource for Alpaca virgins. Thank you kindly.

Wrap Up

Don’t forget to go and vote to get your award back (and for best UK Podcast whilst you’re there!)

That’s all from me this week. As always, thank you for listening. Feedback is always appreciated, and you can email me or message me via Ravelry or social media. If you enjoyed listening today, please consider leaving an iTunes review, to help others find the podcast too. Happy crafting!

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