Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Unwind with Purl Alpaca Designs

Tracy Birch & Kari-Helene Rane from Purl Alpaca Designs will be joining Unwind as vendors so I asked them to answer a few questions and share some of their crafting experiences with us...

Please introduce yourself and your business in 2-3 sentences.

We take the best fibre from our own herd of alpacas and add to it with top grade fleece from local breeders.  After preparing the fibre in-house, we have it spun into yarn by The Natural Fibre Company in Cornwall; then Kari-Helene designs exclusive and desirable garments from this yarn.  We sell knitting kits, patterns and yarn which are great to make and wonderful to wear.

What treats can we look forward to seeing at your stand during Unwind?

Loads! We’ll be promoting our two latest collections, Manor Farm and Mini-Me as well as having some absolute favourites such as the Icon Dress, Balboa Waistcoat, Duchess Cardigan and Bonnie Bolero. We have some fabulous accessories which are quick to make and great gift ideas and we’ve also just received our newest yarn from the mill which is a wonderful champagne colour.

Manor Farm Collection: 
image © Purl Alpaca Designs Ltd

‘Mini-Me’ Collection: 
image © Purl Alpaca Designs Ltd

Waterways Collection:
image © Purl Alpaca Designs Ltd

Tell us about Alpaca as a fibre breed.  

Named by the Inca as ‘Fibre of the Gods’, Alpaca is incredibly light weight but exceptionally warm; it is strong, durable and beautifully soft.  It is still quite rare and one of the luxury fibres, (comparable in texture to cashmere).  Ours is the best quality available and because it is special, it makes the wearer feel special too!

Didn’t we spot you on Dragon’s Den recently…..?

Yes you did!  We really enjoyed our time with the Dragons and were with them for about 90 minutes.  They lost interest when Tracy said how few alpacas live in the UK In summary, they really liked us and our products, but we are too niche for their investment. 

You have done a fair few shows this year, what’s your favourite thing about fibre events?

We love doing these shows; they create such an astounding vibe and give everyone’s creative juices a real buzz!  As our products are all about texture, drape and fit, fibre events are the best venue for people to see what we have.  They can try on a sample and make sure it suits them before they buy the kit.  We also love seeing our customers visiting us, wearing things they’ve bought and made. (We take their photo and put them on the customer gallery of our blog.)  It’s also a marvellous way to meet new people; we could go on...

What are you looking forward to the most about Unwind?

Everything!  We love Brighton, (to the extent that Kari-Helene has just moved there)!  We’re really looking forward to having a fibre event at the Corn Exchange and think the Unwind team are doing a terrific job with the organisation.  Roll-on July!

A big thank you to Tracy & Kari-Helene of Purl Alpaca Designs for taking the time to share some insight into their knitting world; you can find their website by visiting To keep up to date with all of the latest news, keep an eye on twitter, facebook  and their blog.

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