With the weather slowly starting to turn more autumnal with each passing day, it’s the perfect time to share my recent discovery – the newly launched Ally Bee collection.
With uncontrived modern classic designs made from the softest alpaca and select luxury British wool yarns, this is a thoroughly British venture imagined, researched and brought to fruition by ex-London lawyer, Alison Baker.
Having fallen in love with British alpaca, Alison decided to tap into this previously virtually unchartered territory within a knitwear market largely dominated by imported fleece.
“I was single-minded that there had to be a way to make luxury natural fibre knitwear without the air miles, with the knowledge that the animals had been reared under strict standards of animal welfare and that could support British industry through the entire supply chain. I began from scratch researching how to make a bespoke yarn of superior softness on par with cashmere and fine merino and suitable for manufacturing luxury knitwear.
In the process I also discovered the great softness of British Bluefaced Leicester wool, a perfect local accompaniment to my alpaca yarn. My idea soon became an obsession and ‘Ally Bee’ – the name was chosen by my daughter – was born.”
The Ally Bee AW14 collection comprises four garments and six accessories designed in London, made from alpaca year spun in mills in Dorset and Devon and sheepswool spun in Yorkshire. Crafted on hand-frame knitwear machinery in a small factory in the Scottish borders and then expertly hand-finished, these Ally Bee designs are both durable and timeless.
I love the idea of sustainability in every stitch and the fact the alpacas grazed on smallholdings across the UK are gentle creatures, much loved by their owners. Alison describes them as low impact grazers, meaning they graze without ripping grass up from the roots – a bit like a lawnmower on four legs!
1 Bramble Bee Beanie in Blue Mint – £59.50 // 2 Ribbed alpaca armwarmers – £89 // 3 Ribbed alpaca scarf – £179 // 4 Bramble Bee Raglan knit in Ecru – £189 // 5 Alpaca snood – £119 // 6 Oversize Heritage cable knit in Navy – £279
These adorable lawnmowers have produced some beautiful pieces. Always a lover of cold weather accessories, the armwarmers and cosy scarves are my favourites, not to mention the oversized navy jumper edged in grey – perfect winter warmers.
Take a look at Darcy, Dorrit and Dougal in their starring roles…
To see more about the journey of Ally Bee, the spinning of a truly lovely yarn in every sense of the word and The Campaign For Wool, click here.
This post was written in collaboration with Ally Bee.