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Local Essex Alpaca Yarn
100% alpaca wool
Great Lodge Alpaca wool
Alpaca wool is strong, shiny, smooth. It is heavier and warmer than sheep’s wool and has no lanolin, which makes it hypoallergenic.
Our fleece is spun at a small mill in Derbyshire. The fleece from the body of the alpaca, called the blanket, is spun to produce 100% alpaca wool. The fleece from the alpaca’s neck and legs is blended with 30% Est a laine Merino fleece.
The yarn is available in 100g skeins.
Our animals’ fleeces are spun individually to keep their natural colours; so you can visit the alpaca that your wool came from.
The alpacas first fleece is extra soft and described as ‘Baby alpaca’.
Pure alpaca wool is beautifully soft but less elastic than wool or wool blend. We recommend hand washing garments made from this wool.
You can use any Double Knit, 4-Ply or Aran knitting pattern with our yarns – but do remember to check your tension.
Great Lodge Alpacas
Alpacas originate in the Andes Mountains in South America. They are members of the ‘camelid’ family. Alpacas are often confused with Llamas. They are smaller and lighter than llamas at about 3 ft tall. They are kept for their fleece, rather than Llamas which are used as pack animals. They live for between 15 and 20 years.
We bought our first Alpacas Lulu, Alberto and Apricot from Melford Green Alpacas in May 2012. Lulu was preganant and her son Louis was born the next year. We have had 3 more crias (baby alpacas); Lulu gave birth to Betty in 2015 and Apricot to Stevie in 2015 and Jemima in 2017.
Alpacas are pregnant for 11 months and mating is timed so that they will give birth in the summer to give the cria the best chance of survival. Due to their harsh native climate in the Andes, it is said that they will wait for a sunny morning to give birth and this has indeed been the case for all our crias. They were all born safely with no assistance, apart from that of the other older female whose job seemed to be to keep the rest of the herd out of the way!
Our male alpacas are castrated (wethers). While we would love to keep some to breed from, the logistics are too complicated and so we use a stud from another herd for mating.
Alpacas are calm and a little timid. They do not spit at people but can spit at each other. They like to live in a herd and should never be kept singly. Our herd is a matriarchy and Lulu is the boss! Our older girls will eat out of your hand, but the boys are warier. None of them like to be patted and they are not halter trained.
They are a one coated animal and grow about 5-8 pounds of fibre a year, at a rate of about 3.5 inches per year. They are shorn in the summer. There are 2 kinds of alpacas, Suri and Huacaya. Huacaya are more common and these are the type we have. Suris’ fleeces are longer, and the strands are more separated.
Great Lodge Herd
- Dry Drayton Apricot Huacaya female Mid Fawn 17/07/2004
- Burnt Fen Lulu Huacaya female Light Brown 10/09/2006
- Millbrook Alberto huacaya male White 07/09/2007
- Great Lodge Louis Hugo Huacaya male Dark Brown 26/05/2013
- Great Lodge Betty Huacaya female white 10/07/2015
- Great Lodge Stevie Huacaya male 10/06/2015
- Great Lodge Jemima Huacaya female 10/07/2017
- Great Lodge Tasmin Huacaya female 02/06/2020
- Great Lodge Peaches Huacaya female 20/6/2020