Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Alpaca Dream is Born !

Some time ago I wrote about my love of yarn and my local search to find shops to satisfy my own addiction.
I received a call from a close friend who asked me, "why didn't you write about this "neat and great" shop in your own town"?. What shop?  I quickly did a little homework and this is what I found.

I also found that I was a little late, others had found and talked about this shop. Bay 9 news, Largo Patch have all interviewed the owner Alicia Chivers, but the minute I walked through the door I knew this was going to be a very interesting and positive experience. My writing about this shop would be personal.  I felt as if I was going back in time. For many years I owned a very similar shop in another state, not the same but the goals and dreams were the same. Mr. Dude and I opened the door of this beautifully decorated building, which we found by turning off of 113th St onto 9th Ave S W. Immediately  a petite and attractive young woman with an engaging and animated personality met us. Then the story begins.

When Alicia Chivers left her successful business life she and her partner in life George Castro had a dream.
They started Luna Bella Alpaca Ranch on a 3 acre piece of land in this highly populated area, but as I have said in previous Blogs, this was an agricultural area before the developers began to buy up huge plots of land and the boom of migration began. This 3 acre ranch is an oasis of love. Hard work, has promoted the growth of the herd to over 24 and counting. Cria or baby alpacas are arriving every year to enrich the herd. ..

I would like to refer you to Alicia's blog so that you can see the daily life of a Alpaca farmer, and to glean from this blog, what goes into the "Field to Finish" product that the Alpaca produces with their wonderful wool.   Today I want to write about the second part of the dream.

Criativity was opened September 29, 2012.  Cria--refers to the baby Alpaca and tivity  is a reference to the birthing process with a play on the word Nativity.  This store and the ranch are 99% Green and it is obvious that everyone involved share the same Philosophy. Alicia has taken her business experience and married it beautifully with her dream.

All fiber products in this store are produced with Alpaca fibers which have been processed by Alicia and George and come from their own animals. Alpaca wool does not contain Lanolin making it naturally soft and hypo-allergenic. As my Mr. Dude walked around this very large and well appointed interior, he took some pictures which  I think will give you an idea of some of the products carried here.

I am a knitter, so for me this was a treat, the beautiful textures and hand dyed colors made my fingers itch for a new project.  I also found a great array of finely made needles, which are not always the easiest thing to find.

The products are all on the showroom floor, and then there is the studio, where is it obvious all sorts of magical things are happening. I met Lee, another delightful woman.  A friend, mentor and local artist who is one of the teachers. There are classes in knitting, jewelry, Weaving, Felting, needle felting, and NuNo felting which is a Japanese art form. One of the the students had produced a beautiful scarf, which I have attempted to show.  The picture does not do it justice, but to touch it's wispy, silky texture and see the beauty of color in person shows that a real artist has been at work. Susan Staffa is a regular in the studio and produced the beautiful Fish themed scarf in the middle. The jacket to the left was made by Alicia. A sophisticated style sense is everywhere and I can see the future of beautiful clothing being made and introduced into the product line.

Every Spring, in April, a week of shearing is done and then the work of preparing the fiber begins again. Some of the fiber goes to Texas and beautiful rugs are made from these fibers.. I remarked at the time that they made me think of the hand woven Rya Rugs of Sweden, but we are so fortunate to have these beautiful rugs made from home grown fibers, right in our town.  American Made!
If you have a desire to have beautiful products made of Alpaca, with a goal of taking weaving, felting or knitting classes, or need  a  gift, here is an array, of sweaters, socks, jackets, and more. Prices range anywhere from 1.99 to 700.00.  The holidays are coming, start your shopping now!

There is so much more to this story, but I suggest  you  visit this beautiful shop and you will understand what I found. I felt such warmth and enthusiasm and know that I will be returning. Who knows I may even take a felting class. Great parking is provided for those of us who want easy access . Soon our Winter visitors will be returning, how happy they will be to find that they do not have to send away for products that can be purchased right here in Largo Florida.
 The address of Criativity is :
                                                      720 9th Ave.S.W.
                                                      Largo, Florida
                                                      Phone:  727-584-4191

Please call for class schedules, and winter hours. You will not be disappointed and I know you will be enriched.


  1. Lovely piece! Hello from Maria in Ireland!

  2. Hello, so happy to have you join me. How is your weather today?

  3. Oh wow, what a wonderful find! What a shame it's not in my neighborhood. As soon as I saw those skeins of yarn I closed my eyes and there I was, wallowing in a sea of softness.

  4. You would love their entire concept of life! Organic veggies, eggs and much more. Oh if I were only younger.

  5. What a wonderful store! Wow! Thanks for sharing.

  6. Sandy - thank you so much for sharing and telling everyone our story. It is beautiful people like you that make each day I walk into my store a pleasure. And encourage me to write the next story on my Blog!

  7. We had a great time Alicia, looking forward to reading your next blog as well--learned a lot about those " spittin" but wonderful Alpacas. Our best, as always,