It is always special to weave yarns from local spinners and dyers – even more special when you meet the animals from which the fleeces came. A recent visit to Apple Cross Farm in Worcestershire gave the opportunity to get up close to Julia Berry’s beautiful alpacas. Julia and her husband, Adam, started in 2014 with 4 pregnant females, and have since gradually built up their fine alpaca herd of coloured animals, providing the highest quality fleece. Julia is also an expert spinner, and produces beautifully fine yarn from her own fleeces. She sells her yarn, and also hand crocheted scarves and shawls in various natural colours. When you buy handspun yarn from Julia, you are told from which alpaca the fleece came from – my beautiful white yarn came from a handsome male called Cortez.
Julia with her beautiful coloured alpacas
I was really pleased with the results of weaving with this fine alpaca yarn, which produced a wonderfully soft, light scarf. Here Cortez’s white yarn is used with Danish Isager fine alpaca yarn sourced from the Oxford Yarn store.
In July, I attended the Hanbury Agricultural Show – a showcase for local farmers and breeders of all sorts of farm animals. The Worcestershire Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers were given a place in the craft tent, and we were thrilled to meet so many people interested in spinning and weaving. We spent the whole day demonstrating, and enabling anyone keen to have a go themselves on our wheels and looms. Also in the craft tent, we met Alex from Spinney Winnie’s, a family run enterprise producing unique hand-spun, hand-dyed yarns, made in their workshop in the local Jinney Ring Craft Centre.
Scarves woven with handspun and dyed yarn from Spinney Winnie’s
I have long been an admirer of Juliet Brown’s lovely hand dyed yarns, and have used them in many weaving projects over the past few years. She has a wonderful eye for colour, and dyes a wide range of wools and silks of different weights. She produces yarn under the label Artists Palette Yarns, and sells from her Etsy shop and local suppliers. She is also an excellent teacher, and has run two workshops for our Worcestershire Guild.
Lampshade fabric woven using Juliet’s lace weight merino/silk hand painted yarn
Finally, travelling back home from London via Burford in Gloucestershire, I came across the Burford Needlecraft shop, selling a wide range of yarns, knitting and tapestry products. I was looking for some undyed yarn on which to try out my garden plant dyes – and bought a skein of Cotswold Lion Heritage yarn. It proved to be an excellent yarn to dye, and I am now looking forward to using it in my next project!