Noble Alpaca Farm, Sheguiandah, Manitoulin Island, ON

noble_farm1Today we are featuring our first fiber farm- Noble Alpaca Farm on Manitoulin Island in Ontario, Canada. Our interview is with the owner.

1. Can you tell us a little bit about your farm related to fiber arts? The type of animals and number of animals? Is there anything that makes your farm different from other farms?

At the Noble Alpaca Farm, we raise Alpacas for their luxurious fleece. We also raise Guardian Llamas for their protective capabilities.

We currently have 100 Alpacas and 23 Llamas. The Alpacas are shorn in the spring each year and we send the abundant harvest of fleece to a fibre mill for processing into yarn and felt. The resulting product comes back to our fibre studio where some the yarn is packaged for sale to knitters and fibre artists and the rest is transformed into luxurious hats, mitts, scarves, shawls, slippers, vests etc.

What makes us different from most Alpaca Farms is that we love to have visitors. We offer free farm tours to people who want to know more about Alpacas or to tourists who just want to do something a little different on their vacation, like getting kissed by an Alpaca or taking an Alpaca for a walk. Some visitors have even had the privilege of watching a baby Alpaca being born.noble_farm3

2. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the history of your farm? How did you get interested in creating fibers for knitters? How did you come to fiber arts farming? Readers will love to hear your story – so tell it!

This farm was known as the Noble Farm when the land was opened up in the 1880’s. The farm house is approximately 130 years old.

We purchased the property in 2006 with the intention of having a hobby farm. My husband had always wanted a Jacob’s sheep as a pet so we went to a nearby farm to purchase one. On that farm, there was a herd of Llamas and I instantly fell in love with them. But in among that herd of llamas, there was one that looked a little different. It was an Alpaca! We started asking questions and the farmer told us what can be done with them. She showed me her storage shed and it was full of sheep fleece waiting to be sent for processing. She told me that the same thing can be done with Alpaca fleece. Seeing all those bags of fleece and the bags of finished yarn made me very curious so we went home and did some research.

That led us to a farm a few hours away from us. They gave us a tour, helped us with a business plan and that led us to purchase our first herd of 7 Alpacas in 2007. We also had 2 Llamas and the Jacob sheep from the other farm.

The rest as they say, is History!

noble_farm43. What type of products do you create for the fiber arts community?

We operate a fully stocked fibre studio. We have yarn in all weights and colours, including Rug yarn, which is new for us this year.

We have rovings in many different colours for those who want to spin their own fibre.

This year we are offering knitting board kits for young people who don’t know how to knit but would like to learn something similar. The kits include the tools and yarn and pattern to complete a scarf in just a few hours.

I spend all year knitting and therefore have lots of Alpaca items ready to go for people who want gifts for family and friends. Or for people who can’t knit themselves and still would like the warmth and softness of Alpaca for themselves.
These items can include: mitts, hats, scarves, vests, leg-warmers, balaclavas etc.
We also have some of the coarser fibre made into sheets of felt which are then made into warm and cozy Insoles for winter boots.

And we carry super toasty ALPACA SOCKS! They come in 3 different styles depending on the activity being done while being worn. A slipper-type sock for lounging around the house, a lighter weave for everyday activities, and a heavyweight terry sock for all day out on the ice or on the sled.

I mentioned rug yarn as something new for us, we also carry Alpaca rugs that are handmade right here in the studio.

All of our Alpaca items are hand-made except for the sock which are manufactured for us at a mill in Quebec.

4. Do you sell fiber products directly to consumers? How can someone purchase products from your farm or producted by your farm?

Our fibre studio is set up to take Debit, Visa, Mastercard, and cash so if anyone is interested in purchasing something while they are here, it is easy.

We also have things available on our website. We take telephone orders quite often.

5. Can we visit your farm?noble_farm2

We love to have visitors. That is the best way to experience the wonders of Alpacas is to see them up close and interact with them.

We are open from Monday to friday from 9 am to 5 pm, Saturday from 1 pm to 7 pm and Sundays are by appointment only. The safest option during the off season which is from January to May, is for visitors to call ahead to make sure we are available.

6. Do you have any specialties that you would like the fiber arts community to know about?

Now that our herd has grown substantially in the last few years, we now can accomodate large orders.

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