From field to fashion, a holistic approach to knitwear
Hi, my name is Tracy and I founded Purl Alpaca Designs in 2008. Having collaborated with various partners over the years, I now have a medium sized herd of alpacas, fabulous colleagues and a range of stylish knitting kits for you to make or give to loved ones.
I can only make our yarn every two years as it takes that long to collect enough good quality fibre. After shearing, I grade, sort and prepare the fleece ready for spinning. Once delivered to the mill, it takes 2-3 months to go through the processes and be returned to me as yarn. I currently have our 100% pure, worsted spun, alpaca yarn in stock (available in 7 natural colours); plus the last of our 100% pure woollen spun yarn. This is being replaced by a 50/50 blend from our alpaca fibre and merino fleece sourced from reputable farmers. This means we can make three weights of yarn (Fine, Medium and Chunky) in our natural colours; maintaining our credentials as having a totally natural, sustainable and ethically produced product.
Great to make, wonderful to wear
Many of these designs are mine; I'll start with an idea, do a rough sketch, knit a tension square and then design the whole garment using an excel spreadsheet. From this I write the pattern and take it, with the yarn, to Gill (my favourite test knitter). She will test the pattern as written, but also contact me if something doesn't work, check spelling and wording etc. Throughout each stage, I'll see photos of how the design is coming together. Once the pattern has been tested in this way, it is sent to a tech editor and graded into various sizes. I also hold a photo shoot so that the images can be taken for the front and back covers. Quite often, I'll have a second sample made, just to make sure the grading is right. Only once all this has been done, does the pattern become available for sale.
I'm currently commissioning other designers to create something new so that our range has different design styles and, soon, crochet patterns.
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Ridgeleys Farm, 163 Caxton End, Bourn, Cambridgeshire, CB23 2ST, GB
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