October 2006
Visiting an Alpaca farm in the UK

In early September, I went on a one-week vacation to the UK accompanying my sister to visit my cousins who live there. It was a much-needed rest and relaxation trip with family reunion wrapped in one. The weather was perfect, sunny for the whole week, no rain at all.

What I did not expect was visiting an alpaca farm, which was within walking distance from my cousinís house. I had prepared myself for a yarn-less visit, as none of them is a serious knitter/crocheter. Imagine my surprise when my aunt told me that she has a friend (Myra) whose daughter owns an alpaca farm nearby. Knowing I would enjoy it, she had arranged for us to visit the farm.

So one morning we walked over to Toft Manor in Dunchurch located in Warwickshire. It is a magnificent farm close to a reservoir with 200 alpacas. This beautiful farm not only breeds alpacas, but also provides accommodation for travelers interested in the area. In addition, they have a shop on site for selling yarn and beautiful finished garments.

In the wild, alpacas are in many different shades and the birth of a new baby can be a surprise as the color of the baby may be very different from the mother. Through selective breeding, a breeder in South America has successfully bred Accoyo alpaca, which is absolutely white with very dense fleece.

Alpacas at Toft Manor are mainly Accoyo with a few colored Alpacas. Personally, I prefer to buy yarn that is naturally colored, not dyed. That is what I was looking for, and bought at the farm. I still have no idea what I will do with the yarn, but you all know the irresistible desire of buying something so wonderful. You can look at the few pictures from our visit at www.craftland.com/UKvisit, including a photo of the yarn I bought and a one of my cousin who had the chance to feed a baby alpaca whose mother refused to nurse her.

For more information about alpacas and their fleece, check our July 2006 eNewsletter.

For more information about Toft Manor visit www.toft-alpacas.co.uk

Nazanin S. Fard

Needlecraft University

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