Butterfly Hill’s Alpacas Attract the Curious

Loudoun Now
By: Patrick Szabo

Original content from Loudoun Now.  

To many motorists roaring past on Rt. 9, the alpacas in the front yard of the Butterfly Hill Farm Store are a curiosity, especially when decked out in their colorful Christmas wear. Over the past six years, those camelids have helped build a family business that attracts patrons from all around the region.

Inside the store, owners Gerry and Catie Dutcher sell mill-spun yarn and clothing like hats, scarves and gloves.

Gerry said their drive to raise the animals stemmed from Catie’s love of fashion and making clothes. They chose alpacas because their fleece has long been recognized as a “fashion fiber.” “[Catie] is quite a seamstress—she loves to create,” Gerry said.

hile Catie makes some of those products by hand, much of it is made up north. After shaving the alpacas in the spring, the couple sends some of the fleece to a mill in Maryland to be spun into yarn and the rest to the New England Alpaca Fiber Pool to be made into clothing, 100 pounds at a time.

What makes the fleece so popular is its quality compared to sheep wool. It’s hypoallergenic. It contains no lanolin to make it greasy. It doesn’t require any harsh chemicals to clean. It comes naturally in different colors. It’s a lighter weight and it’s made for warmth. “It’s very insulating,” Catie said. “[It’s] half the weight and twice as warm.”

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