A Taste of Life at Windrush Alpacas

August 19, 2009

It’s Not Alpaca But…

Filed under: alpaca, alpaca products, Alpacas, camelids, Crias, suri, yarn — Tags: , , , , , — alpacalady @ 6:37 am
Front View of Black Trellis Shawl

Front View of Black Trellis Shawl

It looks really nice! 

A few months ago I was asked to make a black shawl out of some trellis yarn.  I did find some trellis yarn that was made out of suri alpaca and tried to persuade the lady who had asked for the shawl that I should use that beautiful alpaca yarn.  Unfortunately the lady’s budget didn’t stretch to the suri alpaca trellis yarn and so she asked me to make the shawl in an acrylic yarn instead.

I knew that the shawl would take a while and it did, partly just due to the size of the project and partly due to squeezing in some knitting time during shearing, cria season and then the arrival of our puppy Blue (who thinks that all knitting projects need to be seized and dragged off into the distance – arrgh!)

The pattern was a very simple one, but with the character of the trellis yarn it was very effective.   At times it seemed as if the shawl was not growing, but stitch by stitch, inch by inch it did grow.  When I thought the shawl was about the right size I called my customer and took the shawl to her to try it on.  It was a perfect fit.    Next we had to decide on the fringe and both my customer and I felt that a long fringe would suit the shawl, partly to give the shawl some weight and partly to help proportion the shawl.

Cutting and hand tying the fringe on the shawl took more time, but once I got a system in place I started to pick up speed with the fringing.  The fringe is 16” long and the yarn developed a pleasing gentle curl to it once it was cut.

It was amazing to me to see how that 16” fringe changed the shawl from a plain piece of knitting to a glamorous shawl.  Unfortunately the pictures I have taken do not really do the shawl justice, but at least they give an idea of how it looks.

Back View of Black Trellis Shawl

Back View of Black Trellis Shawl


The next stage was to wash and block the shawl to help it memorize its shape.   I must admit I was nervous that the fringe would react badly to washing, but I carefully wound it around the folded shawl and washed the shawl by hand very gently.  Once I had the shawl laid out and blocked I maneuvered the shawl so that the fringe hung over the edge of the work surface as it dried, allowing the fringe to dry with a nice drape to it.

My customer was so excited when I called her to tell her the project was complete and we made arrangements to meet so that she could collect her shawl.  As she opened the bag and pulled out the shawl her eyes lit up and she immediately tried the shawl on, it looked very effective and my customer was extremely pleased with her new acquisition.

It was very satisfying to see the shawl’s new owner enjoying the shawl so much, she tried it on in several different ways and twirled around to show it off, that alone made all those hours of knitting worthwhile.

I have already had someone else ask me about making another shawl like this one,  she saw my customer trying the shawl on before I had fringed it and immediately wanted to know if I could make another one and how much I would charge for it.  At that time I hadn’t priced the shawl but now I have figured my costs and labor I can get back with her and give her a price – I wonder if I can persuade her to let me make her shawl out of the suri alpaca trellis yarn…  (wishful thinking on my part but you never know!)



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