Alpacas are in the Camelid Family with camels being the largest. Llamas are their cousins and are larger than alpaca. Llamas and alpacas are both native to South America particularly Peru, Bolivia and Chile. The Altiplano region of Peru has alpaca herds roaming freely in the desert upper plateau region of the Andes Mountains. The alpaca shown in this picture are from the Altiplano.
Alpacas are bred for the softness, warmth and quality of their fleece. The breeder role is to feed the alpacas well and to mate the female and male properly to provide the best fleece traits. The goal is to produce an elite fleece and quality cria (baby alpaca) with superior breeding values. There are two breeds of alpaca: Huacaya and Suri
Huacaya fleece grows perpendicular to the skin and should be fine, dense and uniform. 80% of the world’s alpacas are Huacaya. Suri fleece falls close to the body, moves freely and give the animal a lustrous, flat sided appearance. They can look like they just had a bath when they have not.
We utilize both types of fleece in our production. Most of our sweaters and accessories are produced with Huacaya. When we state it is 78% alpaca or 40% alpaca it is with the Huacaya fleece.
We specifically state when we use Suri. Our Suri blend is 74% Suri Alpaca, 22% Merino wool and 4% nylon.
One of the frequent questions we receive is "How do I care for my Alpaca sweater, scarf, hats or mittens?"
You can hand wash in cold water with a mild natural detergent or Woolite. Squeeze the excess water from the garment and then wrap in a terry towel to get rid of the excess moisture. Leave them in the towel for an hour and then remove and place on a drying rack.
If you do wash in the machine on the delicate hand wash cycle, please remove and lay the garment flat to dry. DO NOT PUT THE GARMENT IN THE DRYER WET. Alpaca felts just like wool and instead of a sweater that fits you, you will have a significantly smaller sweater or accessory.
Another option is Dryel - this is a chemical cleaning system that allows you to place the dry garment in the dryer with 2 to 3 other garments inside of a garment bag with a chemical dryer sheet for 30 minutes. I recommend this if you just want to freshen up your sweater especially if you are wearing your sweater with an undergarment like a turtleneck or shell. You can purchase Dryel at your local grocery store or discount retail stores.
You can also have the garment professionally dry cleaned.
Happy Spring! I’m sure most of you are looking forward to spring after this long winter. I just got back from Peru and have been working on a lot of new products. We are changing from our old style Intarsia that was done in 40% alpaca/20% wool and 40% acrylic to our new machine Intarsia made in 100% alpaca. The new Intarsia is much softer and we are doing the patterns utilizing up to 9 colors. I’ve also done some new silhouettes in the newer Intarsia styles.
Socks and more socks, it seems I can’t design enough and I thoroughly enjoy designing socks. I work directly with a sock engineer in Peru so that my designs can be interpreted correctly into the knitting machine. With our Jacquard patterned socks we use up to 6 colors; this means some threads on the inside of the sock so that we can get all of this beautiful detail on the outside. You will be more than happy to pull up your pant leg for these socks! In fact at the shows in January thru March we had several of our customers pull up their pants leg to show off that they were wearing our socks. We will also have hats to match some of our top selling socks in the June – August markets.