Felted Purses and Other Great Bags

Enjoy my Pinterest collection of Felted Purses and other Great Bags!

See my blog post on Wet Felting Purse Tips or take a Wet Felting Purse Class at Alpaca Meadows!  If there is not one scheduled, gather a few friends, contact me and together we’ll schedule a class on a date and time that works for you.

How to Make a Suri Alpaca Doll Wig

Lara Nance, doll customizer, author, (and frequent customer of doll hair from Alpaca Meadows), has a YouTube channel called Artistic Adventures.  She has done videos on many aspects of doll customizing, and most recently put together a video on Processing Alpaca Fiber for Doll Wigs.  It seems there are various techniques for making doll wigs.  Lara makes a wig cap out of T-shirt material and glue that is molded to fit the doll’s head, as shown in the following video.  This is much easier and less time consuming than another doll wig technique called rerooting.

This video focuses on how to prepare Suri Alpaca Fiber for doll wig making.

In this video, Lara completes the wig by sewing the glued alpaca wefts to the wig cap with needle and thread for a beautiful finished wig with bangs and a center part.

How to Make a Suri Alpaca Weft for Doll Hair is a mini-tutorial by Fabiola at Fig and Me.  The method she illustrates involves sewing suri fiber onto yarn with a sewing machine, then sewing it onto a crocheted cap.  For a tutorial on how to sew weft to a crochet cap, see this video by Gabi Moench-Ford or this tutorial on her blog called Fairywool Dolls.

Be sure to see:

Using Suri Fiber for Doll Hair
Tips for Purchasing Suri Fiber for Doll Hair
Cleaning Suri Alpaca Fiber for Doll Wigs
Doll Makers – Customer Gallery

Shop for Suri Fiber and Suri Locks at Alpaca Meadows!

Felted Flowers

This Saturday, I’ll be teaching a Wet Felting Fancy Flower Class. This Pinterest board of Felted Flowers are some of my favorites! Hope you’ll find inspiration here too.


See my tutorial on How to Wet Felt Flowers.

Felted Bouquet Kit

Felted Bouquet Wet Felting Kit

This is a kit available through our Online Store or Farm Store at Alpaca Meadows.  Click on the link or the image above to see videos for wet felting some basic flowers.

Other good tutorials I have found are from the Felt Magnet website, How to Make a Wet Felted Flower with Central Core and Layered Petals and How to Make an Easy 3d Wet Felted Flower

Learning to Knit – Getting Started

You have your yarn and your needles, a comfortable chair, you’re relaxed, and you’re ready to get started knitting.  There are different ways to hold your knitting needles.  Some people hold their hands over the knitting needles like a table knife and some hold them like pencils.  See How to Hold Your Knitting Needles and Yarn for pictures of the different ways.  Try both and see what is most comfortable.  There is no right or wrong way.

Casting On

Casting on is the first step in knitting and is the process of getting stitches on the needle.  There are a number of different Cast On Methods. The Loop Cast On is an easy one for beginners.  It is quick and easy, but can be difficult to keep an even tension when knitting, so exploring other methods may be in order down the road. The Knitted Cast On is an easy method and you will learn the knit stitch at the same time.  It is fairly stretchy and a good choice for many sorts of projects.  KnitPicks has a good video and tutorial on this method.

Knit Stitch

There is more than one way to learn the Knit Stitch. The two most common ways to knit are the English knitting method and the Continental knitting method.  Try both and see what you like best.  You may feel awkward at first.  Like everything else, learning to knit takes some practice and patience, and so does learning to hold your knitting needles and yarn.  Just start knitting – you’ll get it.

Knitting is a 4-step process:

Insert the needle

Wrap the yarn

Pull through the loop

Pull off the new stitch

You will knit all the stitches on your needle and when you have finished, you will have knit your first row.  If counting rows, your first row including the cast-on counts as row one.

When you have finished the row, you will turn your work. Exchange the needle full of stitches in your right hand for the empty needle in your left hand, and start again.  Knitting every row creates fabric with a series of ridges, each ridge being created from two rows of knit stitches.  This is called the knit stitch or garter stitch.

Purl Stitch

The Purl Stitch is next, click below to watch the video or see the tutorial.


The process of alternating knit and purl rows creates the stockinette stitch. When you are knitting stockinette, the side that is smooth is considered to be the right side (abbreviated ‘RS’). The purl side with the bumps and ridges is considered to be the wrong side (abbreviated ‘WS’)

Sometimes projects will require multiple skeins of yarn, which will require joining a new skein of yarn.  If possible do this at the end of the row.

Casting Off

Your knitting project is finished, congratulations!   Now you need to get your knitting off the needles.  Some refer to this process as casting off, some call is binding off.  Click below to watch the Binding Off video, or see the tutorial.

Be sure to bind off loosely or the pattern will be “gathered” at that bound edge.  If you find the edge is too tight when binding off, use a larger needle to bind off.  Also, be sure to form the stitch on the straight part of the needle, not the tip.


Next, you will want to weave in the ends and block your scarf.  Blocking is an integral part of finishing a knitted item.  It will even out your stitches and allow your fiber to bloom!  Be sure to read How to Block: Knitting Techniques on the Interweave website.


Other good knitting resources:

Learning to Knit – What You’ll Need

Top 10 Yarn Questions

How to Read a Knitting Pattern

Knitting Stitches You Need to Know

Find Your Style: Battle of English vs Continental Knitting

You might also want to check out 10 Easy Scarf Knitting Patterns for Beginners.

Happy knitting!

Here are some Online Knitting Classes you might enjoy:

Learn Essential Beginner Knitting Skills ins New Class | Craftsy

Learn to knit a scarf ins My First Scarf class | Craftsy Learn how to knit a hat ins My First Hat | Craftsy

Free Knitting Pattern – Easy Mistake Stitch Scarf

This Easy Mistake Stitch Scarf is a pattern I like to use when teaching people how to knit.  This pattern is from the Purl Soho website.  I have adapted the pattern to use with our bulky Snuggle Yarn from the Alpaca Yarn Company, and big needles, so fewer stitches are needed when casting on than what is written in the original pattern.

Hand-Knit Ribbed Snuggle Scarf




US 11 – 8.0 mm


Two skeins of Snuggle Yarn


Ribbing is the result of alternating knit and purl stitches within the same row.   Mistake rib is a multiple of 4+3


Approximately 60” long x 6” wide



Cast on 19 stitches.

K2, p2, repeat to last 3 stitches, k2, p1.

  This scarf will take two skeins of yarn, which will require joining a new skein of yarn.  If possible do this at the end of the row.

Repeat the pattern for 60 inches or to desired length. That’s it!

If you plan to knit until you run out of yarn, you will need to be sure you will have enough yarn left to bind off.   Figure out how much yarn it takes you to knit one row, plus some extra.  You can measure off a few yards and then determine whether your row takes you more or less.  This will give you an approximate amount of yarn necessary to bind off.

Bind off stitches in stitch pattern.  Be sure to bind off loosely or the pattern will be “gathered” at the bound edge.  If you find the edge is too tight when binding off, use a larger needle to bind off.  Also, be sure to form the stitch on the straight part of the needle, not the tip.

Next, you will want to weave in the ends and block your scarf.  Blocking is an integral part of finishing a knitted item.  It will even out your stitches and allow your fiber to bloom!


Be sure to check out the FREE Knitting Tutorials from Craftsy!

Knitting Stitches You Need to Know

You might also want to check out 10 Easy Scarf Knitting Patterns for Beginners and more Free Knitting Patterns on this website.

Happy knitting!


How To Use Hand Cards

The purpose of Hand Carding is to disentangle, separate, clean, straighten and blend fibers together for spinning into yarn.  Carding is a type of woolen preparation, where air is introduced between the fibers and can be trapped as you spin, resulting in a loftier yarn. The tools used are called Hand Cards.  Hand carders look a bit like hair brushes, and consist of two wooden paddles with sheets of fine metal teeth that brush out the fibers. Carding opens up locks of fiber and then aligns the individual fibers to be parallel with each other. Carded fibers are generally shorter, with longer and shorter fibers mixed together, and not completely smooth and even.  The result is a batt or rolag of lofty fiber that can them more easily be spun into yarn.


The Hand Cards available in our Online Store are made in the USA, by Strauch Fiber Equipment.  Watch the video below to see how to use them.

You may want to check out a great article on how to properly and efficiently use hand cards called “Care & Feeding of Handcards”  from the Earth Guild in Asheville, NC.

How To Prepare Wool For Spinning

For a great class on fiber preparation, check out  How To Prepare Wool For Spinning.  It is a Craftsy online class that you can watch at your convenience, and go back to when ever you want.  See more Spinning Classes here.

Learn How to Spin With a Drop Spindle

Guatemalan Weaving Ministry

On a mission trip to Guatemala with my daughter, I learned about a weaving ministry led by Hilda Perez.  Hilda teaches women in her village to weave.  She and her husband Roduel live in Ixcan, an area where many refugees settled after Guatemala’s civil war.  Not only is weaving a learned skill that helps to sustain the women’s families, it provides stress relief, and gives them a sense of purpose.  There’s something beautiful about helping to give another woman some purpose in her life. Hilda has about 40 women that participate in the weaving ministry.

Roduel and Hilda Perez

Hilda and Roduel travel over 10 hours to bring woven items to sell to the mission teams that travel to Santa Maria through a mission agency called Mission Impact. The items below are some that we brought back from our last trip.  They are now available in our Farm Store.  Proceeds will go towards purchasing more handwoven items from these talented women, and a portion of it will help fund mission trips back to Guatemala.

Guatemalan Handwoven ScarfFB7 (640x640)Guatemalan Handwoven Tablerunner
Guatemalan Handwoven PurseGuatemalan Handwoven ScarfGuatemalan Handwoven Bookcover
 Guatemalan Handwoven Scarf Guatemalan Handwoven PurseFBFB (480x640)
 Guatemalan Handwoven Tablerunner Guatemalan Handwoven Scarf
 Guatemalan Handwoven Bookmarks Guatemalan Handwoven Purse Guatemalan Handwoven Tablerunner
 Guatemalan Handwoven Cases Guatemalan Handwoven Scarf IMG_5377 (640x640)
 Guatemalan Handwoven Cases Guatemalan Handwoven BagGuatemalan Handwoven Tablerunner
Guatemalan Handwoven PurseGuatemalan Handwoven ScarfGuatemalan Handwoven Purse
Guatemalan Handwoven BagGuatemalan Handwoven ScarfGuatemalan Handwoven Purse

Backstrap Weaving is an ancient art practiced for centuries in many parts of the world. It is still used today on a daily basis, in many parts of Guatemala by Mayan women, to weave fabric for their clothing and other needed household textiles such as shawls, baby wraps, tablecloths, washcloths, towels, and so much more.

The art of weaving has been passed on from mother to daughter, generation after generation. At birth, baby girls are presented with the necessary tools for weaving. At the age of eight or nine, Maya girls are taught to weave for the first time, by their mothers, older sisters, and older women.

The looms are simple, often handmade by the weaver, and easily portable because they can be rolled up when not in use. The back rod of the loom is tied to a tree or post while weaving and the other end has a strap that encircles the waist so that the weaver can move back or forward to produce the needed tension.


A weaver using a backstrap loom usually sits on the ground but as the person ages that becomes more difficult and many will then use a small stool.

While Mayan textiles are used for daily clothing and provide protection against nature, they are also incorporated into ancient ceremonies and rituals. Women’s “traje” or traditional clothes consists of a “huipil” – a blouse made from a square or rectangular piece of woven fabric with a hole in the middle for the head and folded and stitched up the sides with arm holes. This is worn with a “corte,” a skirt that is tied at the waist with a woven belt. Textiles vary by community, and designs and colors are often indicative of a specific village. Women’s clothing identifies the woman as an individual within her culture, as well as communicating traditional Maya beliefs about the universe.



Rigid Heddle Weaving

Floor Loom Weaving

Simply Stunning Scarves




African Market Baskets

We are now offering handcrafted Bolga baskets woven by remarkable artisans in Bolgatanga, Ghana. Each basket is a one-of-a-kind treasure.


Proceeds from the sale of these baskets helps to provide healthcare, education and financial support to over 1,000 African villagers and their children.

african_market_baskets  african_market_baskets  african_market_baskets

African Market Baskets™ is a division of The Overseas Connection, Ltd., located in Boulder, Colorado.  Founder and CEO, Steve Karowe has been importing from Africa since 1991.  Since 2004, he has worked directly with artisans in Bolgatanga.  Steve Karowe also formed Every Basket Helps™, a non-profit organization created to help manage humanitarian projects in the villages of Ghana.  African Market Baskets™ donates 10% of its profits to Every Basket Helps™.

Steve travels to Africa to meet with the weavers regularly and to oversee Every Basket Helps™ projects which include:

  • Providing basic school supplies for the weavers’ children annually
  • Organizing and funding health care for the weavers and their families annually
  • Funding and building a community weaving center that serves two villages and over 400 weavers (2009)

The Story

Basket weaving has helped bring much needed income to the villages surrounding Bolgatanga, Ghana. The traditional skill which has been handed down from generation to generation provides employment to approximately 10,000 people, mostly women. An average of two baskets a week can be woven by a woman who also has household chores, firewood collection, water collection, washing and the care of her children to tend to each day.

Starting a basket Elephant Grass Weaving

Using locally-grown straw, the women create art.  View a gallery of images showing women weaving and the process from natural grass to finished basket.  This gallery shows how the grass is transformed, colored and then woven into a basket.

Baskets to Market Baskets to Market Baskets to Market

Bolgatanga and its surrounding villages are the largest producers of straw baskets in the country. Known as the crafts center of northern Ghana, Bolgatanga has a large central market where artists sell their work every third day.  See a gallery of images showing the transportation of baskets to market.

Health Care Registration

African Market Baskets™ is a member of the Fair Trade Federation.

Fair Trade Federation

Right now, we have the African Market Baskets in The Farm Store.  They make great yarn baskets, or stashing most anything!  I’ve got one in my bedroom that holds socks, and yes, a cat from time to time as well!

We do not yet offer them online.  Seems they sell so fast, I can’t get them listed!











Thanks to all of you who help support the weavers by buying African Market Baskets.

Free Crochet Pattern – Stormy Weather Cowl

I liked this cowl pattern so much that I made three of them!  I did use three different color combinations, not sure which one I like the best.  The pattern is called Stormy Weather Cowl by Tamara Kelly.  It works up very fast with our bulky Snuggle yarn and a big hook.  The colors I used for the one below are Winter Sky and Pine Tree.

Stormy Weather Cowl - Snuggle Yarn

Love the zig zag design that is accomplished by going two rows down to create the stitch, a little tricky, but no big deal once you figure out where to put your hook!



US 9.0mm/10.mm (M/N)


One Skein each of two different colors Snuggle Yarn (I only used about half a skein of each, so there will be yarn left for another project, maybe another two tone project)


32 inches (81.28cm) and the width is 7 inches (17.78cm).


This pattern is not worked in successive stitches, but rather in successive chain spaces – two rows down. It makes for a very closed fabric with lots of interest, but it’s not as hard as it might sound!  To make the cowl longer, add any multiple of 2 to the starting chain/first round. If you want a closer fitting neck warmer, just decrease by any multiple of 2.



Round 1: With Color A, ch 61, sc in 2nd ch from hook, and each remaining ch to end; join with sl st to work in the round. (60 sts)
Alternate Round 1: FSC 60; join with sl st to work in the round. (60 sts)

Round 2: Ch 2, skip the 1st 2 sts, dc in the next st, *ch 1, dc2tog with the 1st half worked into the same st as previous st, skip 1 st in the middle, and the 2nd half worked into the next st; repeat from * to end, finishing last dc2tog with 2nd half in 1st st of previous round, ch 1, join with sl st to 1st dc of round.

Round 3: Ch 1, sc in 1st st, ch 1, skip ch-1 sp, *sc in the next st, ch 1, skip ch-1 sp; repeat from * to end, break yarn and seamless join to 1st sc of round.

Round 4: (Note: When you dc in the ch sps, be sure to enclose the ch sts of Round 2 and Round 3 in the st.) With Color B, join with sl st to any ch-1 sp in Round 2, enclosing the ch-1 sp in Round 3, ch 2, dc in next ch-1 sp of Round 2, * ch 1, dc2tog with the 1st half in the same ch sp as the previous stitch, and the 2nd half in the next ch sp; repeat from * finishing last dc2tog with 2nd half in same ch sp as join, ch 1, join with sl st to 1st dc of round.

Round 5: Repeat Round 3.

Round 6: With Color A, repeat Round 4, enclosing the ch sts of previous 2 rounds.

Round 7: Repeat Round 3.

Round 8: With Color B, repeat Round 4, enclosing the ch sts of previous 2 rounds.

Round 9: Repeat Round 3.

Round 10: With Color A, repeat Round 4, enclosing the ch sts of previous 2 rounds.

Round 11: Ch 1, sc in each st and ch sp around; break yarn and seamless join. (60 sts)


This cowl is made with Snuggle yarns Pine Tree and Tan Heather.

  Stormy Weather Cowl

This color combination is Tan Heather and Winter Sky.

Stormy Weather Cowl

This color combination is Snow White and Gray Heather.

Be sure to see the Stormy Weather Cowl Tutorial and Video on the Moogly blog for further help!

What I Did With This Year’s Alpaca Fiber

There are many options when it comes to processing alpaca fiber into a value added product.  Finding a fiber mill that will help you evaluate and determine the best use of your fiber is very helpful.  Morning Star Fiber Mill, an artisan fiber mill in North Carolina, offers custom processing and did our processing for us this year.  I brought our fiber to the Great Lakes Fiber Festival in Wooster, Ohio for pick up, which was very convenient, and I had my product back in less than a month’s time.

Alpaca Roving - Medium Fawn  Alpaca Roving - Bay Black

Two of our huacaya girls, Annalise and Amelia, have been at our farm just a year.  Morning Star has a six pound minimum per color for processing into yarn and I did not have that much fiber from these two girls, so I had their fiber made into roving for spinning.  It is super soft and lovely, and I can’t wait to spin some of it!

Alpaca Yarn - White Mocha

I had been saving fiber from Sunshine and Sunscape, mother and daughter, for several years so I did have enough of their fiber to have yarn made.  I didn’t want just solid colors, so gave “artistic license” to JC Christiansen, owner at Morning Star, and said he should “play”.  He ran Sunshine’s white fiber and Sunscape’s brown fiber side by side at the carder to produce the yarn above.  I am calling it “White Mocha” even though it looks rather silver grey.

I decided on a two-ply worsted weight, a less rounded yarn with a nice “squish factor”.

Alpaca Yarn - Cappuccino

I’m calling this yarn “Cappuccino“.  It is a result of more of Sunshine’s white fiber run side by side with medium fawn, from an alpaca named “Brawny”.  For the last few years I have bought fiber from a local 4-H girl, so the remainder of the yarn was made from her fiber.

Alpaca Yarn - Milk Chocolate

The colors used in this yarn are white, and a white and medium fawn mixed to make a medium rose grey, fed side by side at the carder to produce a color I’ve called “Milk Chocolate“.

Alpaca Yarn - Dark Chocolate

This yarn called “Dark Chocolate” is medium fawn and dark fawn, fed side by side at the carder.

Suri Alpaca Roving - White

I had several years’ worth of suri seconds, so had roving made from the light colored colors, see Suri Alpaca Roving.  I have been dyeing this roving and have had lovely results, be sure to see Circus Time and Summer Delight.  Check back for a post on dyeing roving if you’d like to try this yourself, or try out one of our Roving Dyeing Kits!

Suri Alpaca Roving - Mabelle

The brown Suri Alpaca Roving is from Mabelle’s fiber.

Suri Fiber - Natural Colors


I have a market for selling raw Suri Fiber to spinners, and the longer length suri fiber to doll makers.  I sell both natural colors and hand-dyed fiber, so that is what I will do with my prime suri fiber this year.  This involves skirting, tumbling, washing, dyeing, and packaging, more labor for me but less expense.  Who knows what I’ll do with our fiber next year.  I love that there are so many options.  Keeping products unique and marketable is a fun challenge!

See products made from our fiber in past years. More coming soon on how to evaluate your fiber.

Suri Alpaca Merino Lopi Lite Yarn
Mother Daughter Suri Alpaca Yarn

Alpaca Meadows