Duvets, mattress pads and pillows
As warm as a down duvet but less fill is needed to keep you warm so you won’t get hot and sweaty underneath. Alpaca fibre duvets are a great alternative for those who cannot tolerate down.
Why Alpaca Wool?
Because it is warmer, stronger, lighter and cleaner than any other product. It is believed to be the best possible filling available today to provide you with a warm, comfortable, healthy and stress free sleep.
An alpaca fibre duvet will absorb up to 35% of its weight in moisture, keeping you dry and comfortable while you sleep.
The fibre is grown without herbicides in a stress free environment and the animals are not dipped in pesticide baths. No chemicals, dyes or bleaches have been used during the processing. This fibre does not contain lanolin or grease. This porous, naturally dry and clean fill prevents dust mites and other allergens from settling in.
Made in Canada eh…… The work shop is located in the Monashee Mountains of BC in the little town of Cherryville. The office faces farmer’s fields and at any given time there could be cows, horses and many deer roaming around. Sounds Canadian! The fibre used is usually from the underbellies and legs of the alpacas, which is most hollow and the most insulating.
General info on alpaca fleece………
Alpaca fleece is the natural fibre harvested from an alpaca. It is light weight or heavy weight, depending on how it is spun. It is soft, durable, luxurious and silky natural fibre. While similar to sheep’s wool, it is warmer, not prickly, and has no lanolin. Alpaca is naturally water-repellent and difficult to ignite. Huacaya, an alpaca that grows soft spongy fiber has natural crimp, thus making a naturally elastic yarn well-suited for knitting. Suri has far less crimp and thus is a better fit for woven goods. The designer Armani has used Suri alpaca to fashion Men’s and Women’s suits. Alpaca fleece is made into various products, from very simple and inexpensive garments made by the aboriginal communities to sophisticated, industrially made and expensive products such as suits. In the United States, groups of smaller alpaca breeders have banded together to create “fiber co-ops,” in order to make the manufacture of alpaca fiber products less expensive.
Types of Alpacas
There are two types of alpaca: Huacaya (which produce a dense, soft, crimpy sheep-like fiber), and the Suri (with silky pencil-like locks, resembling dread-locks but without matted fibers). Suris are prized for their longer and silkier fibers, and estimated to make up between 19-20% of the North American Alpaca population. Since its import into the United States, the number of Suri alpacas has grown substantially and become more color diverse. The Suri is thought to be rarer, most likely because the breed was reserved for royalty during Incan times. It is often said that Suris are less cold hardy than Huacaya, but both breeds are successfully raised in more extreme climates than those in which they were developed in South America.
Alpacas have been bred in South America for thousands of years. Vivunas were first domesticated and bred into alpacas by the ancient tribes of the Andean highlands of Peru, Argentina, Chile and Bolivia. Two thousand year old Paracas Textiles are thought to include alpaca fibre. In recent years alpacas have also been exported to other countries. In countries such as the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand breeders shear their animals annually, weigh the fleeces and test them for fineness. With the resulting knowledge they are able to breed heavier-fleeced animals with finer fiber. Fleece weights vary, with the top stud males reaching annual shear weights up to 7 kg total fleece and 3 kg good quality fleece. The discrepancy in weight is because an alpaca has Guard hair which is often removed before spinning.
The Amerindians of Peru used this fiber in the manufacture of many styles of fabrics for thousands of years before its introduction into Europe as a commercial product. The alpaca was a crucial component of ancient life in the Andes, as it provided not only warm clothing but also meat.
There is a cross between alpaca and llama that is a true hybrid in every sense producing a material placed upon the Liverpool market under the name Huarizio. Crosses between the alpaca and vicu have not proved satisfactory. Current attempts to cross these two breeds are underway at farms in the US. According to the Alpaca Owners and Breeders Association, alpacas are now being bred in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, UK, and numerous other places.
In recent years, interest in alpaca fiber clothing has surged, perhaps partly because alpaca ranching has a reasonably low impact on the environment. Individual U.S. farms are producing finished alpaca products like hats, scarves, and footwarmers. Outdoor sports enthusiasts recognize that its lighter weight and better warmth provides them more comfort in colder weather, so outfitters such as R.E.I and others are beginning to stock more alpaca products. Using an alpaca and wool blend such as Merino is common to the alpaca fiber industry in order to improve processing and the qualities of the final product.
In physical structure, alpaca fiber is somewhat akin to hair, being very glossy. Alpaca fiber is similar to that of merino wool fiber, and alpaca yarns tend to be stronger than wool yarns. The heel hole that appears in wool socks or in elbows of wool sweaters is nonexistent in similar alpaca garments. In processing, slivers lack fiber cohesion and single alpaca rovings lack strength. Blend these together and the durability is increased several times over. More twisting is necessary, especially in Suri, and this can reduce a yarn’s softness.
The alpaca has a very fine and light fleece. It does not retain water, is thermal even when wet and can resist the solar radiation effectively. These characteristics guarantee the animals a permanent and appropriate coat to fight against the extreme changes of temperature. This fiber offers the same protection to humans. Alpacas as animals are soft on the environment, making alpaca a truly green textile.
Alpaca fiber contains also microscopic airbags that make possible the manufacture of light textiles as well as different kinds of clothing. The cells of the central core may contract or disappear, forming air pockets which assist insulation.
Good quality alpaca fiber is approximately 18 to 25 micrometers in diameter. Finer fleeces, ones with a smaller diameter, are preferred, and thus are more expensive. As an alpaca gets older the width of the fibers gets thicker, at between 1 µm and 5 µm per year. This is often caused by over nutrition; if fed too much nutritious food the animal doesn’t get fat, instead the fiber gets thicker.
As with all fleece-producing animals, quality varies from animal to animal, and some alpacas produce fiber which is less than ideal. Fiber and conformation are the two most important factors in determining an alpaca’s value.
Alpacas come in many shades from a true-blue black through browns-black, browns, fawns, white, silver-greys, and rose-greys. However, white is predominant, because of selective breeding: the white fiber can be dyed in the largest ranges of colors. In South America, the preference is for white as they generally have better fleece than the darker-colored animals. This is because the dark colors had been all but bred out of the animals. The demand for darker fiber sprung up in the United States and elsewhere, however in order to reintroduce the colors, the quality of the darker fiber has decreased slightly. Breeders have been diligently working on breeding dark animals with exceptional fiber, and much progress has been made in these areas over the last 5-7 years.
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