Blackwattle Yarn and Fibre is the creation of us, Angela and Matthew Smith, which we run from our farm ‘One Tree Hill’, located in Murrumbateman, NSW. Our farm and yarn businesses are named after two trees on our farm – the stunningly beautiful and old heather tree on the top of our farms one and only hill and the sombre, but truly gorgeous, black wattle trees that grow across our property.
We started our alpaca fibre love affair following the purchase of two alpacas, when we moved to the farm in 2008. The alpaca numbers grew quickly and we now run a herd of about 70 alpacas, mainly breeding females. We focus our alpaca breeding program on developing and producing alpacas that meet the industry standards, whilst focusing on the commercial needs of the fibre these beautiful animals grow.
Our yarn and fibre business grew from the humble beginning of processing and selling our own fibre grown by our herd, to a point now where we purchase and process bulk fibre from a broad acre alpaca farm in Binda, NSW, which runs over 3500 alpacas. In addition we also sell yarn and fibre on behalf of other NSW alpaca owner and breeders, under the Alpaca Breeders Collection label. Check out the Member tab for more information about the collection and its members.
As a trained artist, Angela uses her skills learnt whilst completing a Bachelor of Visual Arts, to now create master pieces on yarn. Paint on canvas = paint on yarn! As a visual artist, Angela has a passion for creating colours and emotions using yarn and dye as her canvas.
Our farm, called One Tree Hill Alpacas, is located in Murrumbateman in the Yass Valley region. It offers picturesque views of the snow-capped Brindabella Ranges in winter and spectacular sunsets in Summer. The fertile ground provides excellent feed our alpacas all-year round. In summer, you may even catch a glimpse of our alpacas cooling off in the dam and a couple of wedge tail eagles flying over.
Learn more about our farm by visiting our website: One Tree Hill Alpacas.
Our passion for a sustainable alpaca fibre and yarn business within Australia is the driving force behind our brand and business. We are passionate about Australian grown and produced alpaca yarn and fibre. We produce and sell premium and luxury alpaca yarn and fibre, both hand dyed and natural ranges. We love sharing our joy of alpaca yarn and fibre with our customers, especially alpaca yarn and fibre that has been grown and processed in Australia.
All of our alpaca fibre is grown within Australia and is manufactured into yarn and fibre at three mills, two are located in NSW (within a three hours radius of our farm) and the third is located in New Zealand.
Our bases are named to give our customers an understanding of the fibre used and where it is processed. Our core yarn bases are:
- Waratah – 4 ply 100% alpaca, grown and processed in NSW. Our most popular yarn base.
- Senna – 3 ply alpaca, merino and nylon yarn grown in NSW and processed in New Zealand.
- Grevillea – 4 ply alpaca, merino and nylon yarn grown in NSW and processed in New Zealand.
- Acaica – 8 ply 80% alpaca and 20% merino grown and processed in NSW.
We also use a speciality mini mill, which is located one hour from our farm to process limited edition luxury blends. These yarns are breathtaking and form part of our luxury ranges. All the dyed yarn and fibre is hand dyed on the farm by Angela in her workshop, the farm shed.
We take great pride in working with some very talented Australian crochet and knitting designers to develop patterns to suit our yarn. It is a pleasure to connect with talented artists across Australia to blend their design skills with our beautiful yarn.
We care about the environment at Blackwattle Yarn and Fibre. We believe that by looking after our environment we are looking after our livestock, who in turn produce the best quality fibre that goes into our yarn.
The animals themselves, by natures design are more environmentally friendly that other livestock options. Alpaca have soft padded feet, that are very similar to the pads on kangaroos feet, therefore helping to minimise the environmental impact on our soils. Kinder to the environment than hard hoofed livestock live sheep. They also nibble at the grass and not pull the entire plant out like other livestock do.
All fibre in your yarn bases are non super washed. ‘Superwash wool’ is a wool that has been treated or processed in a way that allows it to be machine washed. Most super wash wool is made in two ways (or a combination of the two). The first is to use a chlorinated acid bath that removes the ‘scales’ from the fibre. Unfortunately, the use of chlorine also results in the creation of chlorinated organic compounds, including dioxins, which can be deadly to humans at levels below 1 part per trillion. The other method is to coat the fibre with polyamide and/or nylon that basically keeps the scales from being able to join together and cause shrinkage. A common polymer used is Hercosett 125 — a polyamide-epichlorohydrin whose production and raw materials are highly toxic.