This past winter I was fortunate enough to get my hands on some of the amazingly woolly, squishy and soft Range yarns from Hinterland! These undyed beauties worked so perfectly in a gradient, and played the role of muse as I found different ways to explore texture and the melting of one color to the next. The Range Shawl definitely tops my list for some of the most fun I have had in exploring creativity in my design work!
I can't wait to get some more of the Hinterland yarns onto my needles, and I want you to have the chance to try it out as well! Read on to learn about Hanahlie - the woman behind the alpacas and Hinterland Yarn, in her own words, and to enter your chance to win the Range Shawl pattern and the yarn to knit it up!!
Could you tell us a little bit about what brought you to starting your own yarn line?
I started Hinterland after taking on a few alpacas that were in need of a home. At that point I didn't really know very much about alpacas or llamas, but had a great interest in fibre and working with my hands. Slowly, over the course of a few years, the herd started to grow. My husband and I got involved in helping out animals in rescue situations, and managed to build our herd from these rescues along with helping many of them find new homes.
After a few years the fibre started piling up in my garage (as it does at many fibre producing farms). I couldn't keep up with hand spinning, nor am I very good or fast at it, so I decided to get some yarn commercially made. I wanted to keep my production in Canada. It was important to me to have woollen spun yarn, so with our limited options here, I went with a small mother and daughter owned and operated mill in northern Alberta. After a year or so of experimenting with different yarn combinations, I settled on a 50% alpaca and 50% Canadian Rambouillet (French Merino) wool.
Can you tell us about the different bases Hinterland has to offer? Do you have a favorite??
The Hinterland bases are Range, which is somewhere around an American worsted weight yarn, Ravine, a bulky aran weight, and Watershed, which is a softly spun single chunky yarn. I also do a few small batch single breed yarns like Alpine & Glade (both BC grown Corriedale), and Cabin & Burrow (Washington grown Navajo Churro). But those yarns come and go.
My favourite is Range. I think it's the most versatile, and I just love the intense bloom after blocking… it totally changes the fabric. It's also the yarn that other people seem to love the most too, which is great!
Where can we find your yarn?
The Hinterland online shop : hinterlandfarm.ca
Tolt Yarn and Wool, in Carnation WA, and the Beehive Wool Shop in Victoria BC.
What advice would you give to people out there wanting to follow their creative dreams?
Start with doing some diligent market research, and figure out who your market is and how to connect with them. Making the right connections and alliances are not only valuable from a business stand point, but also extremely necessary for maintaining momentum and staying positive. I have found it deeply fulfilling on so many levels to have made new friends, and supporters along the way. Without them I wouldn't have continued in the way that I have. So I would say that is the biggest piece of my business that I have found the most crucial, above and beyond the dollars. Secondly setting some short term and long term goals. Knowing where you want to be and how you plan on getting there is another really big one. Always look ahead and be thankful for the people who have helped you get to where you are.
What is your spirit animal?
I have always thought my spirit animal was a bear… not for the reasons you might think of when imagining a bear (standing on their hind legs being ferocious), but because they remind me of the forests around where I live. Here the bears are very docile and peaceful. They are a very important part of our natural landscape and even protected in some areas in the rainforest and along the coast. They are a big spirit, scary and beautiful at the same time. I am fascinated by them.
What is your favorite noise?
I think my favourite noise would be the sounds that the forest makes in the fall when it's getting cold and wet. It's kind of eerie, but complex too.
Anything else you would like to add?
I'd just like to thank Andrea for including me and my story about Hinterland. I truly appreciate every connection I've made with my small business and feel just so thrilled that knitters, crocheters, and weavers out there are enjoying the product that I make - in collaboration with the alpacas ;-)
Have you been thinking about getting your own Range Shawl on the needles?? We would love to have you join us for a Range KAL for the month of May! We will cast on May 1 and knit together thru the month! For all of the information and to get signed up - head on over to my Ravelry group!!
To kick things off with a bang, we are giving away a Range Shawl kit to one lucky winner! Leave a comment below telling us about some of your creative dreams, along with your email address, and I will pick the winner next weekend!
Congratulations to last week's O-Wool Giveaway Winner - Katrina! I've emailed you about your prize!!