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New in town: Michigan Alpaca Market & More

December 05, 2012 - Groveland Twp.- Looking for a unique gift made locally?

Michigan Alpaca Market & More offers a wealth of fiber products made from animals kept right here in the community.

Judy Petrovich opened the store at 1305 N. Ortonville Road with Phil and Judy Maybee, who raise and keep alpacas locally at Pebblebrook Farm.

"I love the alpaca fiber because of its softness and weight—it's extremely warm and soft, and has a hollow shaft so it's insulated and you are able to get a significant amount of warmth from the very light fiber," said Petrovich. "It's just remarkable to work with."

The seamstress purchased animals from Pebblebrook Farm seven years ago and opened the store with the Maybees to offer sweaters, rugs, pillows, hats, throw blankets, purses, coats, dresses, jackets, mittens, gloves, Teddy bears and more made of the versatile alpaca fiber.

Petrovich uses the FeltLOOM, a new state-of-the-art non-commercial loom that allows her to also incorporate other types of fabric into each item she sews. She explains that she begins with a solid color of alpaca fiber and lays other material such as silk on top to create a new design.

There are numerous natural colors of alpaca, ranging from white to black and including several variations of tan, caramel, brown, and gray.

As opposed to sheep wool, alpaca fiber contains no lanolin, a common allergen. As a result, only about 2 percent of the population will have a negative reaction to alpaca fiber, she said.

Pebblebrook Farm has about 60 alpacas and the animals are shorn in the spring. Alpacas are a domesticated camelid native to South America. Products made from alpaca fiber are machine washable on a gentle cycle, and can be laid flat to dry.

In addition to alpaca items, Michigan Alpaca Market & More offers jewelry, birdhouses, honey, marinades, pasta and many other products all made in Michigan.

"I don't have elves working for me, it's a one stop shop here," said Petrovich. "I take custom orders and can have it for Christmas, depending on the size of the item."

Michigan Alpaca Market & More, 1305 N. Ortonville Road (across from Bedrock Express) is open from 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m., Sunday. Details: 248-240-7147 or 248-249-2510.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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