Japan, Tomoko Yamanaka, Oversize wool alpaca shawl
Product name: Oversize wool alpaca shawl
Type of product: woven scarf, colour grey : collaboration with hand weave artist
Mica Hirosawa, This piece was woven in Yorkshire England
Description (story of the item): please see below
Materials: 50% wool 50% British Alpaca
Measurements / size: 75cm x 200cm
British Alpaca Project
It was always my dream as a knitwear designer if I can develop my own yarn to create a collection knowing where fleece are coming from. Nearly ten years ago, that happened by accident on my holiday in Devon near Dartmoor when I met Alpaca owner Diane in a little haberdashery shop in town. I was queuing for casher and she was front of me with a bag of her Alpaca fleece - a brown alpaca photo with his name “titan”- hoping to sell it to the shop. We started talking and by the end of it I went home with her fleece. That is my beginning of British Alpaca Project.
From Alpaca to Jumpers
It takes nearly whole year to finish one season sample collection, beginning from the phone call in late spring from James who owns alpaca farm in West Sussex saying shearing has over. I then discuss with Phil, micro yarn mill in Dorset about what sort of yarns we can make. He then starts processing and twists fleece to beautiful yarns. There are two kinds of alpacas ; Suri and Huacaya. Suri has longer smooth and silky fleece quality, Huacya is much more lofty and wooly. Colours come vary from white fawn brown to black in many different shades. I only use natural undyed colours. Phil can create so many beautiful colours in different tones. He makes worsted yarns not only for knitting but also weaving. Around late autumn finished yarns would arrive some to my studio and others send to Peter who uses yarns to weave alpaca scarves in Yorkshire. I collaborate with weave designer Mica who introduced to me to the mill. Knittings are done by group of home knitters. I send yarns with my design patterns to Babs in Kent who distribute them to knitters and collect once done. Some part of knitting are done in studio, especially fair isle patterns and intarsia, Megan has knitted so many patterns for numbers of seasons in our studio. We then link all parts then wash and finish at studio. Our autumn/winter exhibition is in early Spring, by the time we have the order from the collection to produce them, I start working on next years Alpaca yarns.