Grandview Alpaca Fiber Studio
Alpaca fiber: weaving, felting, and knitting into wearing apparel, rugs throws and more
October hours: 10–4 Mon–Sat; Sun 1–4
Year round by appointment
Fiber artist Sandy Binder learned to knit years ago when yarn with matching fabrics was all the rage. She took up weaving when she was working towards her master’s degree in art education.
Then Sandy raised alpacas for 19 years on a farm in Missouri, shearing them every spring before the hot days of summer.
“With all this beautiful fiber, I took up spinning and starting weaving again,” she says. “And within the last five years I’ve learned to felt, which is my present passion.”
Sandy recently relocated to Brown County, IN, but she is still working in alpaca fibers in her home studio there. Sandy creates a wide range of items, all from alpaca yarn. She knits it into hats with matching scarves. She crochets alpaca rugs. She hand weaves scarves and throws. She felts it and makes ear warmers, teddy bears, boot liners, table trivets and coffee mug coasters. She even spins her own yarn.
“Alpaca fiber is unique and one of the softest fibers in the world,” Sandy explains. “It is lightweight, warm, water resistant and allergenic. It comes in 22 natural colors!”
Since there is not enough alpaca fiber produced in the U.S. to warrant mass production, you’ll only find alpaca products made by small producers such as Sandy.
Sandy gets her ideas for new products by looking around her world and saying to herself, “I think I will try to make this in felt!” She also develops new products through experimenting.
Last summer, she sent some alpaca fiber to a mini-mill in Iowa, where it was made into rug yarn. While she planned to weave the yarn into rectangular rugs, she decided instead to try crocheting it into oval rugs and then felting it.
“They came out beautifully, “she says. “I spent the remainder of last winter crocheting and felting rugs.”
During the entire month of October, Sandy’s Grandview Alpaca Fiber Studio will be open to the public during the Back Roads of Brown County Studio Tour. Sandy will be demonstrating felting using her machine that contains over 1000 barbed needles. Visitors can also discuss raising alpacas with Sandy and brown her alpaca photo albums.