Dawn from Knavesmire Alpaca was a tremendous help when I first started bombarding her with questions about her alpaca kits – a woman with more patience truly does not exist. Alpaca is quite the mystery fibre for many felters – we know it exists, we hear it’s a bit different to work with in comparison to sheep wool, but we’ve all seen that one person on Pinterest who creates the most otherworldly creations out of this fibre (or fleece, as the hugely knowledgable Dawn tells me is the more common term in alpaca circles – or should that be herds? Flocks? Wait while I check this out… oh, it is herd. Seems to me like they’re missing a trick not calling themselves a Pack of Alpacas – who do I write to so that this greivous error can be corrected?)
Sorry, where was I?
I wanted to give it a try, even more so after Dawn shared some photos of some truly gorgeous wools she had washed, dyed and carded herself from her own colony of alpaci (no? We’re not even pluralising alpacas as ‘alpaci’? OK *sad face*) Those colours! Dat fleece! Instant longing for these beautiful wools abounded, I had to try them… but I was nervous. I’ve made plenty of wrong turns in my quest for the right fibres in the past, and I didn’t want to waste any money. Fortunately for me Dawn sells a great starter kit (you can also buy colours individually – for more details see my Suppliers page) and the additional items included made me weigh it up and come to the conclusion that even if the fibres weren’t to my liking I at least had some other bits and pieces to show for my money (spoiler alert – the fibres most definitely worked for me!)
What do you get in a kit?
In my kit I received:
- A 5×8″ felting mat (which is a perfect travel size)
- A pair of finger guards
- 5 assorted needles (32, 36, 38, 40 and 42 gauge triangles) and a needle case
- Pipe cleaners
- A cute little ‘bits and pieces’ bag
- Oh yes – and 200g of carded alpaca fibre in 13 colours
Summary of the kit
Let’s get this out of the way now – the wool was absolutely amazing. I have never felt anything quite like it. Who would have thought a pride of alpaci could produce such soft fibre! It was clean, no vegetable matter, no random straggly hairs that didn’t belong there, and those colours! Mother of Dragons, these pictures just don’t come anywhere close to showing how beautiful these colours are.
With the exception of that gorgeous Kingfisher blue in the bottom left and that red-pink colour lurking behind it (and maybe that pinkish one standing up in the bottom middle too) the colours are actually very soft and subtle – very natural and in some cases pastel. This compliments the softness that you achieve as an effect with the wool. For more information on felting with alpaca see the Alpaca Wool Review.
The mat, whilst being smaller than average, is actually the perfect size for being on the go or for travelling (don’t felt and drive… or ride the bus… or the train – look, just wait until you’re stationary, you’ll thank me for that sage bit of wisdom, believe me). It’s great quality and just the sort of mat you’d want to use.
The needles, again, are a great range – one of each triangle gauge and there is no skimping on quality. Likewise the finger guards are of excellent quality – in fact they are better than some of the others I’ve bought in the past as they were already quite supple when I first put them on (I hate breaking in new finger guards). The pipe cleaners were a handy little addition, as was the bag, which now holds my collection of eyes. What? Who doesn’t keep eyes in a pretty little baggy?
The important stuff
Contact: Dawn can be contacted through her Facebook page Knavesmire Alpaca.
Colours: In terms of colour she can dye any colours you want, so please discuss your requirements with her. I don’t know the names of the colours in my picture so I have decided to name them:
- Top row (just in frame): Soft Heather
- 2nd row l-r: Candyfloss Pink, Dusky Rose, Mint Green, Butter Yellow
- Mad pile in a bad row at the bottom, l-r: Pea Green (just visible), Soft Green, Soft Purple, Wild Strawberry, Wild Raspberry, Kingfisher and Soft Red-Pink
- Not in shot – Pale oatmeal (a soft cream colour, darker than ‘natural white’)
Price: A 200g fibre kit costs £22 with £3.75 p&p.
International shipping: This is possible.
Can other colours be purchased individually?: Yes – see ‘Felting Suppliers page for more information.
I am so glad I bought this kit as I feel as though it has opened up a wider world of felting to me. Now I have tried these wonderful fibres I know that I will want to buy more and more, and if you’re unsure about trying alpaca that I think that this kit is an excellent way of testing the waters.
Please note that different clips may produce wool that differs from the description given below. All wool reviews are based on the quality of the clip I am using at the time of review.
Some photographs have been edited to ensure images represent the wool as true-to-life as possible, as apparently the ability to take accurate pictures of wool is not one of my strengths!