Francine the adorable alpaca

Twisted River Fibers is located along a small river in central Minnesota. In our past life we were suburbanites. After our youngest baby bird flew from the nest we realized we could make a move to the country which was something we had always dreamed about.

As we got to know our new neighbors we learned of a nearby alpaca farm and went for a visit. That is where we met Francine – an adorable auburn alpaca. We purchased her fleece to go with the spinning wheel I received as a gift from supportive spouse mentioned below.

Down the rabbit hole…
Spinning yarn is a very old craft and a simple idea mechanically speaking. It is also quite addicting and after spinning all of Francine’s fluff I would spin whatever I could get my hands on. Soon there were shelves of yarn that needed to find purpose in the hands of other crafters.

Rabbit hole part 2…
There they were at the fiber co-op. Two gorgeous father and daughter English Angora bunnies with the most soft, gossamer fluff I had ever seen. I imagined this woolly goodness sliding through my hands at the wheel. They endured the ride home in boxes with a quick stop to purchase hutches and other bunny necessities. Separate hutches – because well… bunnies.

Rabbit Hole Part 3
A year later, Francine’s alpaca shepherdess decided to get out of the “poop” side of the business and sold us three of her alpaca boys. In addition to the three alpacas we purchased two llamas. Why? Because llamas are super cool and who doesn’t want a llama. Plus, we thought at least one of them would make a good guard llama.

Before we could bring the herd home we needed to create a space for them.
Did we know what we were getting into? No. Did we have proper fencing? No. Did we even know anything about llamas and alpacas? Not really. We had a TON of work and learning to do. It was October and we needed to put up the fence, clean out the barn full of junk from the previous owner, find hay for the winter and figure out how to operate what had now become a llama farm. With the help of Greg our CMM/SS (chief muscle man/supportive spouse) it all came together.

It turns out…
that no matter how much we love spinning one person cannot hand process and hand spin enough roving and yarn to keep the store shelves stocked. Farm to sweater sounds like a great idea, and it is, but we needed help. Now we have some our fiber processed into roving and yarn at a fabulous nearby mill.

Minnesota Grown
It has been an evolution since we first opened shop. We prefer to source most of our fiber from our own animals and nearby farms. It’s all about the importance of the “story”, and how the animals are raised which doesn’t matter to everyone, but it does give extra warmth to our products. Later we added spinning wheels and mini looms because why not provide you with some sweet tools to go with all that homegrown fuzz.

Responsibly Sourced
The dye pots needed some extra yarn for dipping so we have expanded into yarn blanks from other sources including merino and silk. We only buy from sources who get their fiber from animal and environmentally friendly producers.

It has been fantastic adventure since creating our first yarn from Francine the adorable alpaca. We love introducing visitors to our friendly herd and a few of the endless avenues of the fiber arts rabbit hole.

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