Alpaca products from the Letterbox Herd now in store at Eighty Seven
Barbara (my other halves Mum) has a huge passion for animals and their wellbeing. She has a particular soft spot for Alpaca’s which has grown into her owning her own herd. She now has 14 in total and they live with Barbara at her idyllic farmhouse in Dorset, their land being within a Nature Conservation area. Very scenic!
If you would like to learn more about the alpaca’s behind the products in store please read the small passage provided by Barbara below.
We have owned alpacas since 2004 and most of the existing herd were bred from our original females and their daughters using good quality sires from prestigious breeders. Of the 14 we have now, 12 are white or fawn but we also have a pretty rose grey and a lively black female. All have individual characters and some respond to their name. Our alpacas are named after people we know – though the people who have given their names are not always aware of this!
Alpacas are pregnant for 11 months, are shorn yearly and live mainly on pasture and what they can forage. This summer our herd have particularly liked strawberries but they are also very fond of apples, pears, broccoli, carrots, parsnips and green beans.
Sometimes Alpacas are used as fox guards to protect chickens and sheep and occasionally they can become companion animals or contribute to the lives of people with health or learning difficulties. Two of our boys work in a special school where they are part of the rural studies department. Most alpacas are haughty and a bit aloof – more like cats than dogs.
The best of Letterbox yarn is spun in British Mills both in Dorset and in the Scottish Borders and the remainder is sold for use in carpets, socks, insulation and felt amongst other uses. When the processed fleece comes back to us we some of it is dyed by hand and this is one of the aspects we most like about using the yarn. We hand knit, crochet and felt it into small garments for sale or into special things for the family. Alpaca is light in weight, soft with a good handle but not very elastic. In order to get shape in knitted garments it needs to be ribbed or added to a sheep’s wool such as merino which does have elasticity.