Fleece – what does it all mean?

We all had a great day yesterday at Pure Alpacas courtesy of Hilary and Jay.

People brought their fleece with show result cards and histograms and Jay meticulously explained what it all meant – along with various history lesson opportunities along the way!

When we were done with looking at fleece it was time for a delicious barbecue – it was noted that lots of people went back for seconds…..and thirds… 😊

In summary – great weather, great company, a great learning experience and a fantastic spread to round it all off! 

West Shires Alpaca Group Craft Show 2019

The inaugural West Shires Alpaca Group craft show was held at the Royal Three Counties Show.  We wanted to showcase alpaca fibre, giving the public the full picture starting with the animals in the halter show, then the shorn fleeces in the fleece show, how the best fibre can be used as demonstrated by members of the Worcestershire Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers who were spinning and weaving and finally a display of the huge variety of items that can be made with alpaca fibre in the craft show. 

We were very pleased with the 50 entries we received in the four categories and our judges had a tough time deciding on the winners of each class and the best entry in each category.  The public showed a lot of interest and admiration of the display of craft show entries and the demonstrations by the guild members, many being inspired to start a new craft and make use of alpaca fibre.

Our congratulations go to all the entrants, the results are here but special congratulations go to the winners of each category:

Spinning                             Julia Berry              

Weaving                             Anne Cheston

Knitting/Crochet            Julia Berry

Felting                                 Nicola McDowell

Royal Three Counties Show Update

We’d like to say a huge THANK YOU to all entrants at the 2019 Royal Three Counties Alpaca Fleece, Halter and Craft show – we had a terrific show this year with a record entry.

Whilst the weather was variable, the energy and enthusiasm inside the tent was fantastic. Thank you to the judges Rob Bettinson and Jo Bridge for their sterling efforts, and for their hard work and stamina – it was no small task! 😊. Last but definitely not least we also need to thank our small army of volunteers who worked tirelessly in the run up to and during the show.

Well done everyone, and don’t forget West Shires Alpaca Group will be back with the Midland Halter Show in November this year!🦙😎🦙

Royal Three Counties Show

Only two days to go! The West Shires Alpaca Group is looking forward to welcoming you to the Alpaca show at the Three Counties Showground.

Fleece judging is on Friday, the Huacaya halter show on Saturday and last but not least we have ‘Super Suri Sunday’ – it’s going to be a very busy few days!

Everybody has been working hard in the run up to ensure we have a smooth running show.

Hope to see you there! 🦙😊

Craft Show Judging & BBQ

On Sunday we had the WSAG Craft Show judging followed by a BBQ.

Whilst the weather was unkind, in true British BBQ fashion, we adapted, with Iain (aka ‘Grumpy Chef’) cooking under a gazebo while the rain poured down and everybody else took refuge inside.

It might have been wet, but our spirits certainly weren’t dampened, and we had a very good and well attended event with good food and good company.

Our thanks go to Julia & Adam Berry for kindly hosting this for us and to the expert judges drafted in from the wider craft world.

BBQ!

Following the craft show judging on Sunday 9th June we’re having a BBQ for members – an opportunity to chat ‘alpaca’ and to see the results of the craft show.  Food will be ready from 5pm. Hope to see you there !

Mill Visit

We had a great day yesterday at The Mill at Clivewood, kindly hosted by Caroline and Ian Oakes.  We were shown around their newly established mill that’s dedicated to processing alpaca fibre and saw all the machinery and processes involved in taking raw fleece and turning  it into finished yarn. Caroline also showed us around her weaving studio showing us her many looms and the different pieces of work she has in progress.

It was a very well attended event with around twenty members present. Our sincere thanks go to Caroline and Ian for inviting us into their home and putting on a lovely event (and feeding us so well too!) that was both informative and social.

DON’T FORGET – the next event is the Royal Three Counties Show at the Malvern Showground 14th-16th June. VOLUNTEERS WELCOMED to help set up and run the show. If interested please let us know at info@wsag.org.uk.

Mill Visit

Don’t forget the mill visit 11th May, 2pm at Clivewood Farm (SY4 5PR) where you’ll learn all about what happens to your crop when you send it to the mill.

You’ll also learn about what you can do to maximise the quality of your processed fibre and what you can do to make the lives of your friendly millers easy…. and keep them friendly 😊

You have fibre – they have the means to process it, come along and take a look!

All About the Fibre #2

Today saw the second part of the West Shires Alpaca Group ‘All About The Fibre’ session, and we went south in the region to Apperley village hall in Gloucestershire. We had another good turn out and discussed selling wholesale, commercial processing and processing by hand and the various routes to market and what’s worked well for different people. Thank you to everyone for sharing their experiences and knowledge – lots of food for thought.

Talking of food we were also well supplied with plenty of yummy home made cake 🍰 and tea and coffee too!

Hopefully it was a helpful session that shed some light on what you can do with your fibre and the many choices of processes it can go through – a key theme running through the session is to always ‘start with the end in mind’ so that you make clear decisions on which processes you put your harvest through, drive efficiency and optimise your return.

Look out for the follow-up info sheet which will be available shortly.

Looking forward to the mill visit – date for your diary: 11th May at The Mill at Clivewood, Shropshire.

AGM & Vet Talk

Great to see so many people at the West Shires Annual General Meeting. We had a fantastic turnout with 33 old and new joining us at Abberley Village Hall for a hearty buffet lunch followed by a vet talk on alpaca care and husbandry kindly provided by Josie Rafferty BVetMed MRCVS, from MacArthur Barstow & Gibbs veterinarian practice.

We really hope everyone found the day both useful and enjoyable and it was good to meet new ‘alpaca people’ and catch up with old friends!

We’re building our calendar of events for the year so if there is anything you are particularly interested in that’s not on the list, just let us know and we’ll see what we can do.