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MEET: Purl Alpaca Designs


‘From Field to Fashion’ by Karen Jinks of Chalk Hill Studio


UK Handmade was invited to attend a workshop held by Tracy Birch and Kari-Helene Rane of Purl Alpaca Designs at Angelsey Abbey in Cambridgeshire. Karen Jinks went along to spend a lovely day meeting the girls and finding out more about their sumptuous Alpaca yarn and beautiful knitting kits.


How did you get the idea for Purl Alpaca Designs? TB: When I first became interested in alpacas, everyone told me “the value of an alpaca is in its fleece”. “Great,” I replied, “so what do you do with the fleece?” “It’s in the barn” (or garage) was the usual response. This is when I thought there was an opportunity to develop an alpaca product business.


designer and, thanks to Google, found Kari-Helene Rane’s alpaca knitwear collection launched in her last year of university. I tracked her down and we arranged to meet near Kings Cross where I told her my idea, whilst she presented me with a portfolio of collections she would like to have made.


The first thing was to find a knitwear Our first meeting in October 2007 82 | ukhandmade | Autumn 2011


was the start of Purl Alpaca Designs and we agreed to work together with me being responsible for the yarn manufacture and her being responsible for the design and end product. Due to lack of storage, we decided that our company would specialise in fashionable knitting kits and we would link in the alpacas by naming the designs after one of the animals. The next step was for me


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