A visit to The Border Mill for a tour was followed by a visit to the very friendly and enthusiastic Jacki Barlow at Beacon Alpacas in Yorkshire (now a star on The Yorkshire Vet). Then came the visit to Debbie and Paul at Barnacre Alpacas. By that time the die was cast. The New Leaf herd was started with matriarch Cha Cha and her new born cria, who we named Stella. That was it. Completely hooked.
Six months later, farewells were made to the legal world and a new leaf was turned.
Once you have alpacas, what do you do with them? Every breeder has a different focus. Some breed champions; some alpacas just keep the grass down; some go trekking; some scare foxes away from lambs and chickens; and some are pets in a field. My focus is the stunning fleece and what can be done with it. There are many sources of beautiful 100% alpaca yarn, so my interest lies in creating blended yarns.
Nearly forty years ago my Auntie Lizzie taught me how to crochet small flowers but I had not lifted any craft needle since then. So, with the help of YouTube, and a Debbie Bliss book I started knitting. Kathy at Kathy’s Knits patiently answered very stupid questions when I bought my initial kit. The trail took me to Ravelry, and the Shinybees podcast. I became a very keen novice knitter and wanted to knit with nice yarn!!
I was blown away by the gorgeous yarns at EYF 2016. I met Jess at Ginger Twist and the idea of new leaf yarns took shape. Quality fleece has now been sourced from small herds round the country. The aim is to ensure this fleece, produced by much loved alpacas, goes to good use.
Cha Cha and Stella have been joined by Mary, Betty and Lila and we are hoping for two cria this summer. We incorporate fleece from the ladies in the blends. Please sign up to our newsletter to hear how they are getting on and about our new products.
This is a brand new venture, a million miles away from anything I have done before. Thanks so much for the encouragement and practical advice from Mike, Debbie, Jess, Pauline, Marleen, Juliet and John, Jo and, of course, Doreen