the Appleton-le-Moors Alpaca Back to Back Challenge

The weekend of 9 and 10 May saw the Appleton-le-Moors Back to Back Challenge, possibly the first back-to-back involving alpaca fleece.

The concept is simple; the fleece makes its way from the animal's back to a person's in the shortest time possible. The modern challenge involves a sheep's fleece, a team of eight people (including the shearer) and a target of eight hours. The record stands at below six.

The Appleton challenge was a less formal event with the aims being to spend a weekend bringing together the local and wider community, to promote the alpaca industry, to demonstrate the crafts involved and to raise money for Macmillan Cancer Support.
John and Katrina Lane's three alpaca were sheared in a public demonstration on Saturday morning.

The carding team used drum carders to blend the various colours together. Time didn't allow for washing the fleece. Alpaca don't produce lanolin, but the locks hold a remarkable amount of dust, a lot of which dropped out during the carding but there was enough to cover the spinners and knitters.
 The team of spinners, one on plying duty, started spinning at 11:45 with the first stitch cast on around half an hour later.

 The knitters continued through Saturday, with the jumper being sewn up Sunday afternoon. Raffle tickets were sold for the jumper and time allowed to make a matching pom-pom hat and scarf, which were also sold at the celebratory supper on Sunday evening.
The event was a huge success in every way. Everyone involved had a great time, people were inspired to learn to spin, the jumper was finished during the weekend and an amazing amount was raised for Macmillan. The final figure is expected to exceed £4,000.


Sue Doran said...

Wow, that's an amazing total! Well done to everyone involved. The alpaca looked very calm when being sheared!

peahen said...

Thanks for your interest Sue. Yes, that one was. Three were sheared at the start of the event, the third one was a bit of a cry-baby!

r1ckatkinson said...

Great summary of the day,.. nice pix and loved the 'back-to-back' name.

peahen said...

Thanks Rick. I've been deliberately brief here because I've written up a full article for a print magazine. You'll hear all about that when it's published.