Alpaca Rug

Dianne here….and in addition to not knowing how else to show it is me, I have lost the long draft I made for this blog post!  Grrrr.

Anyway, I have shipped the alpaca rug that I have been working on for the last month or so, working on it on our fiber trip and it is as close to 3’x5′ as a rug can get and still be handmade so it is done! 01fcd29aec4021ce1757f57aa7abf53f2da5738fed

Several of you have asked about the alpaca and about the rug commission, so here is the story.

Several years ago I was at the Pendleton Woolen Mill outlet in Portland, located in one of their old mills. They get weekly shipments of scrap wool and selvages from their two operating NW mills. I asked if they had any wool and the young man looked and said, no wool, just this box of alpaca….I said ‘let’s see’. 

He brought out the box and I saw there was a jumble of three plaid patterns, woven from the same brown and white alpaca fiber, probably left-overs from alpaca lap blankets or throws.photo

It was reasonable by the pound so I made ‘three bags full’ of the three patterns, thinking I could use it for beginning students. I wish you could feel it; it is so soft, but you can see it has a fringe on each side which adds to the plumpness of the braid, but added to the softness of the fiber, makes it frustrating for beginners, so I have made several baskets, this one with the white plaid, matching the plaid on the butted rows.

And an alpaca bed for our 8# fox terrier, Cisco.01e61713dc83e6cea5297e65f8fe833c84afe9396a01506e28c43b072d404bf5a9ac5de1a5f3e3092e1f

01250f470b6bf81f2685d68a7230fe67817644d0dcLast summer my youngest daughter was going to a baby shower for her friend who lives in TN. Two days before she asks me to make a small basket with the baby room colors (green, brown, white!). I got busy and used the white plaid, again matching the plaids on the butted rows, and introducing green wool with matched alpaca plaid on the last row. I did not get a pix of the finished basket as I was a little rushed!

The friend was thrilled and in the Fall the husband called my daughter and asked if he could commission me to make a 3’x5′ rug to match for the baby’s room as a surprise for his wife. I started a continuous with the 2 white alpaca plaid strands and one green wool and tapered before beginning to butt all the subsequent rows, starting with the darker alpaca plaid and brown wool. I ran out of the green, but remembered Christine and I had bought from the same source several years ago and she agreed to bring her green on our fiber trip. Alas it was a different green but we made it ‘work’ by using both.

I am pretty pleased with it and it is on its way to TN. Should arrive in a couple days. I hope it will wear well, but it will sure be soft on the feet!

8 thoughts on “Alpaca Rug

    • Dianne here: Thanks Kris! One comment I forgot to make in the second draft was how much I enjoyed working on a large rug. It had been awhile since I had since much of my work (since my floors are pretty covered) lately has been hangings and baskets especially after taking on rug hooking. So the large rug offered the same sort of pleasure as a good, long book: always there, kind of don’t want it to end! Anyone else feel that way about projects? Anyway, I have been fortunate to have been gifted with lots of rolled wool lately and a large piece of grey wool and think I will start a circular hit and miss and just let it marinate as I do other projects! I have done 2 hit and miss ovals but never a round, which is my favorite shape (increase with abandon, no counting!)

  1. Good Morning, Diane!

    The rug is lovely and it sounds like alpaca is a nice soft material to work with … perfect for a rug for a new Mom who may spend a lot of time standing in front of the crib! Soft under the toesies! And what a nice thing for the Dad to request. Lucky new parents to have such a beautiful heirloom.

    I agree with you about larger projects. It seems like you are shipping away an old friend. I started a hit or miss round rug years ago for my entryway. Had it “marinating” – as you aptly put it – in my rug room when my cousin visited. She loved the rug, had a perfect place for it in her home! What do you say?

    And so I finished it to the size she wanted (36″ compared to the 60″ I had planned for myself) and sent “Partly Cloudy” on to Pennsylvania.

    Sigh .. Now I have to start another one, since I really would like a new rug in the entryway. However, you can’t do the same thing twice … and so I’ll have to come up with a new idea. Maybe a four circle rug connected with triangles? For certain that would be a good project to marinate! 🙂 And in pieces to boot!

    • Dianne here: So true! If you start the multicircle, look toward the end in our book. I did a 7 circle and have advice I learned the hard way!
      Yes, I am looking forward to the hit and miss, a round this time. But after a couple other commission projects and Christmas gifts!

  2. The rug looks beautiful. I am sure the customer was thrilled. Nice way to use both greens. Wish I could feel the alpaca under my feet.

  3. Hi Diane, take the time to make the rug you want for yourself. There is always another project to do, a gift to make or a request. I have one hit and miss round rug in my craft rm. It is about 6′ across and was placed under a table with the rolls still attached so i could continue the rug. That was 15 years ago. Many other rugs have been finished, but this one still awaits.

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