PHILLIPSBURG, Kan., May 18, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- A custom-designed heirloom alpaca blanket and pillow set by The Shepherd's Mill of Phillipsburg, Kan., will be featured at the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association National Alpaca Show May 20-21 in Denver.
The one-of-a-kind creation, which will be auctioned to benefit the recently-formed Alpaca United, is part of the 'Paca to Product Project that traces the high-quality fiber from shearing to sale.
Animals from Colorado were sheared just before the Great Western Alpaca Show in April, and the fiber was distributed to a dozen top producers in the United States, including Sally Brandon of The Shepherd's Mill.
"She just does an extraordinary job of spinning yarn for people and really helping people understand what's the best use for particular fibers," says 'Paca to Product organizer Barbara Ziek. "She makes beautiful, beautiful shawls and throws and things. She's a real fiber artist."
Brandon, who received white baby alpaca fleece from Diane and Tom Cribley's Falkor Ranch Alpacas in Elizabethe, Colo., designed a multiuse throw-wrap-blanket and had enough remaining fiber to add a French fold pillow cover that doubles as a protective case for the blanket.
"As a wrap, it is the perfect weight for a chilly night on that never-to-be-forgotten destination wedding trip," Brandon says. "Folded in half, it would make the christening day of any baby memorable. It's long enough to be a lightweight throw for snuggling toe-to-toe on the couch."
The soft, elegant woven wrap is 98 percent alpaca with an opalescent nylon accent. The set has a retail value of $500.
Other products at the show, designed to highlight the wide potential of grown-in-the-USA alpaca, include a felted handbag, a machine-knit vest, a knit hat-and-scarf set and a felted wall hanging.
Ivan Orkin of Tierra del Cielo Alpaca Ranch in Watkins, sheared the alpacas, and the fiber was sorted and graded by Deb Christner of Akuna Matado Alpacas in Hotchkiss and Leah Reynolds of Horse Mountain Alpacas in Loma.
Ranchers Sharon and Frank Loner of Mile High Alpacas in Parker, Chris and Christiann Schade of C Squared Alpaca in Black Forest, and Barb and Peter Ziek of Wild Hair Alpacas in Colorado Springs donated fleece.
The Shepherd's Mill, Inc. (www.kansasfiber.com), with the slogan "From Alpaca to Yak, we create exquisite yarns and fabrics from the nation's finest natural fibers," has attracted national attention for quality. Visitors can watch the full milling process through five large windows.
Madison Avenue designer Elizabeth Eakins Inc., which featured photographs of the mill in an advertising campaign, uses its yarn in a Private Reserve line of wool rugs.
"We were also privileged to reinterpret a traditional Linsey Woolsey coverlet from the late 1700's for her," Brandon says. "We produced the heritage piece out of local wools. It's been really exciting to be a part of these projects. It's satisfying to know our mill has reached this level."
Contact: Sally Brandon, 785.543.3128
SOURCE The Shepherd's Mill, Inc.