COLUMBIA June 1, 2017 -- Heartfelt Alpaca Creations has
The suri alpaca has a long lustrous fleece that hangs vertically down its body and is often referred to as dreadlocks. The locks that make up the fleece should be round, close to the skin and have a uniform twist from beginning to end. The locks in a suri fleece should be uniform in size and style throughout the fleece. This uniformity in a suri fleece is akin to the uniformity created by crimp in a Huacaya fleece.
Whether Suri or Huacaya, both types of alpaca fleece are considered luxury fibers because of their unique characteristics. In the United States 85% of alpacas are Huacaya while the remaining 15% are Suri. Both of these fibers can be as soft or softer than cashmere.
One of the students at the University of Missouri's famous School of Journalism did a nice little piece on Heartfelt. Check it out here!
Heartfelt Alpaca Creations has been partnering with Purely Alpaca/Choice Alpaca for several years, and we wanted you to know about their fiber call. Purely Alpaca is offering $10 per usable pound of prime fiber and $8 per usable pound of seconds and thirds, to be paid in store credit forwww.PurelyAlpaca.com.Interested? Here are the details:
Heartfelt products begin with an alpaca like Cindy Lou Who, our mascot. Sometime in the spring–usually April or May–we'll shear our herds. Diane and Linda do their own shearing a few animals at a time. Mary hires a professional shearer who shears in the US during the New Zealand winter off-season.
The farm store / Heartfelt Studio at 6701 W. Gillespie Bridge Rd., Columbia, MO will be open to the public. The barn is open as well.
We are grateful to everyone who came today for our SARE workshop. We have now uploaded all of our project files to Dropbox.com, so that anyone who is interested should be able to get to the files by clicking HERE. If that doesn't work for you, just email us, and we'll manually add you to the Dropbox folder.
My mom was a quilter, and I can remember as a child playing under the expanse of a new quilt pinned into the frames, surrounded by the legs of my aunts and neighbor women as they sat around the perimeter of my fort, talking and stitching. As childhood forts go, they were huge! So many years later, when Heartfelt was forming and beginning to make felted alpaca rugs, it seemed natural to me to sift through the boxes of quilting and applique patterns that I'd inherited from mom. The grey Evelyn's Posy design is named for her, and I like to think that she'd approve of this new use of these timeless designs.
Three of the four women of Heartfelt have just returned from the FeltLOOM conference in Sharpsburg, KY. LanMark Farm (www.feltloom.com/lan-mark-farm) is the home of Don Bowles and Lynette Frietag, creators of the Feltloom. They have a beautiful farm, with an old farmhouse, a fiber mill, and a lodge perfect for the conference.
The Alpaca Owners Association (AOA) promotes National Alpaca Farm Days every year. The end of summer, beginning of fall, is a lovely time to visit a local alpaca farm, and thousands of small farms across the country participate in the event. They participate by gussying up their farm, airing out their farm stores, and on that weekend they give tours of their farms, their barns, their workshops and their stores to anyone who shows up. It is so much fun!
I grew up sewing, knitting, and crocheting, so most of the alpaca fiber activities I’ve engaged in have seemed very natural to me. Not so with dyeing fiber. I was involved with alpacas for a full ten years before I finally got up the nerve to even begin to try dyeing my own fiber and yarn. It just all seemed so technical and mysterious: managing the pH of the fiber, getting the heat right, mixing the dye to get the color I wanted. There were too many variables to content with.
Heartfelt is a small company founded by four women from the American heartland and steeped in the traditions of many cultures. Ancestors of the alpacas raised by Heartfelt's owners were domesticated some six or seven thousand years ago, when the first hieroglyphs were being used in Egypt and Stonehenge was being built in England. Alpacas lived with humans for so long that Incan mythology has alpacas emerging from the caves along with humans. They are also believed to have arisen from the waters, and in some stories are credited with saving humans from the floods.
We found we needed a quicker, easier way to cut insoles from our alpaca felt. After doing some searching, we found Tippmann Die Cutting Company in Ft. Wayne, Indiana. Die cutting is a manufacturing process used to generate large numbers of the same shape from a material. We had them custom make four sizes of dies (Small, Medium, Large, and Extra-Large) to cut out our alpaca insoles and another two to cut out coasters and hot pads.
When Heartfelt ordered its FeltLOOM®, there were only about a dozen in operation around the country and none in Missouri. The machine was developed by a group of Kentucky farmers who worked with the University of Kentucky’s Center for Manufacturing to refine their original designs. The University provided the engineering and modeling expertise required to build new production prototypes. A patent was issued on this needle felting loom for fiber artists in October 2008.
Alpaca fiber comes in 22 natural colors recognized in the US. Any colors in the tan to brown and grey to black spectrums will occur naturally. So all of the base colors for Heartfelt rugs and wall hangings and all of our insoles use natural, undyed fiber. We do, however, dye some fiber to use as decorative elements on our rugs, wall hangings, hot pads, and coasters. Sometimes we use commercially dyed yarn. Sometimes we purchase dyed fiber from other fiber artists. Still other times, we dye the fiber ourselves.