So, here it is. Our little owl. We’re launching a small palette to begin with: Two naturals and five over-dyed shades. I love how the colored dye creates a tint through which the heathery gray fibers show through. We’ve picked the names: Cilantro, Cinnamon, Cerulean, Camomile and Rosebay (the last two pictured above), Tawney and Sokoke. We’ll be adding shades soon, both naturals and colors.
This yarn has been a pleasure and a challenge to make. It’s easy enough to source American wool. There are still a lot of sheep in the US. And there are brokers who buy it and sell it. But the majority of alpaca farms are relatively small. The average herd in New England is about 30 animals. And the average yield per alpaca is about 4 pounds. A very small number. There are no brokers who can take your order for specific grades and colors of fiber. But maybe, in time, the US alpaca industry will grow to be as large as our sheep industry. In the meantime, many alpaca farms work with mini-mills to spin their own very lovely yarns, limited edition artisan yarns. They’re expensive. And well worth the price, given what goes into them. I encourage you to seek them out.
As for Quince & Co’s alpaca yarn, tomorrow we introduce our version, blended with wool and spun with loft and bounce. We’ve spun a lot of our Owl it because our goal has always been to be a commercial mill. We want to compete with inexpensive imports and in doing so, we hope to create a demand (however small) for American fiber and spinning. We’re trying!