Nickelby At Darnum

alpacas gippsland

Summer is here so we can't wear alpaca, right?

Angela BetherasComment

Wrong! Yes here in Australia we are finally entering the t-shirt wearing time.  Most would say down here in Victoria it has taken its time in coming but that doesn't mean your alpaca needs to be bagged up and packed away.

why? Alpaca is not technically a wool, it is a hair.  It is a hollow fibre which allows it to breath with your body so it is one of those rare fibres where we can say that it keeps you lovely and warm in Winter and cool in Summer.  If that wasn't the case you would see alpacas panting in the paddock like you do sheep in the heat.  The lightness of the alpaca means they can handle the heat and indeed many of them love to sunbake.  You will often see them stretched out in the paddock exposing their tummies to the sun to soak up all the rays.  Oh what a life.  Don't we all wish we could do just that and then at dinner time some human comes along and feeds you your dinner, just the way you like it.

To make alpaca even more versatile we mix it with cotton as well in our own range and of course we only use Australian cotton which is known in the cotton industry to be the best in the world so we would have nothing less to go with our beautiful alpacas.

So don't completely tuck your alpaca away to the bottom draw during Summer.  Granted you probably won't want to wear it when the temp hits the mid 30's but if you have a choice between alpaca and a manmade fibre such as polyester, then please, for the sake of your skin and body, put on the alpaca.

Here is a picture of Judy and Saori enjoying the beautiful sunny day

cria baby alpacas.jpg

From Paddock to Rack

shop newsAngela BetherasComment

We hear so much the catch phrase of "from paddock to plate" in marketing these days but here at Nickelby At Darnum we have another take - "from paddock to rack", clothing rack that is.  Whilst many alpacas are destined for the meat market these days as it is a growing market, Nickelby Alpacas are grown for their lovely soft bouncy fleece.  It is nearly shearing time yet again, certainly not my favourite day of the year, however to immerse myself in the bags of wonderful fluffy fibre is rather joyous.  The hard part is finding a spot to store it as I work through it all.  You see, I keep my fleece to use in my garments.  I either spin it myself or possibly felt some of it or when I am organised, which I have to be very soon, I send it to boutique mills run by other alpaca breeders to turn it into yummy yarn which I then use to make the garments which I sell under the label of "Nickelby Designs".  I dye all my own yarns which is lots of fun and often when you visit you might often see skeins of yarn drying along the fences.  I weave my fabric Saori style (watch for future blogs when I talk more about this) and then cut it all up! Not out of frustration but because of design.  I make my fabric into garments, yes I do lots of scarves and wraps, however unlike many, I sit at my sewing machine and turn the lengths of fabric into clothing.  A process I just love.  So next time you are in the area, pop on in and have a look at what I produce, feel how soft and lovely alpaca is and be tempted to take home a piece for yourselves.  If I exclude the 12 months the alpacas take to grow the fleece, the making of a wrap or a scarf which has been spun and dyed, woven and washed. The entire process has taken over 12 hours for each one but more on the process in future blogs.

With Christmas coming up if you are looking for that unique gift for someone special which made right here in Australia then please take a look at our online shop.  Until next time.....