Sharing alpaca-love with kids battling cancer

 

Who can resist a smiling alpaca? Photo courtesy of Iolanthe Alpaca Ranch.

Fuzzy-faced alpacas with their giant sparkling eyes and long, graceful necks can melt the hearts of children and adults alike. "Part wookie, part giraffe, part teddybear . . ." is how Myla Kent, founder of the Iolanthe Alpaca Ranch describes the members of her beloved herd. Myla founded the ranch in 2009 on Washington State's beautiful Olympic Peninsula and was inspired to help children with cancer and their families. She has created a space where kids can experience the warmth and cheer that animals can bring to our lives.

 

A whole community of fiber folks converged, helping Iolanthe transform its alpaca fiber into finished textiles. Myla sent her alpaca clip off to Ellen Lloyd of Olga's Yurt of Fiber in nearby Port Angeles to be processed into roving. From there, the North Olympic Shuttle and Spindle Guild members began helping to turn Myla's rovings into beautiful yarns. See pictures from the first spin-in here. Guild member Alison Sell tells us a bit about the project: "When Myla needed her alpaca wool processed, it was a natural connection from Ellen Lloyd, the mill processor, to our spinning group. After two years of spinning and knitting hats, the North Olympic Shuttle and Spindle Guild enlisted the volunteers from the Strait Knitters of Sequim, Washington. Fifteen spinners and twenty-plus knitters give their time and talent for a few months of the year to a good cause."

 

Thanks to this community effort, kids who visit the ranch can now leave with a handspun, handknitted hat made from their new alpaca friends. Families who are not able to visit the farm in person can also receive an Iolanthe Goodybox and have the experience of a handmade textile. Visit the website to learn more about some of the Iolanthe kids, see pictures of the famous alpacas, and find out how you can help.

Members of the North Olympic Shuttle and Spindle Guild have enjoyed helping to transform Iolanthe alpaca fiber into handmade textiles. Photo courtesy of NOSSG.

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