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Don’t sweat it… a peak into the alpaca fiber collection process

Daphne Benzaquen

Many of you have been curious about the Alpaca fur collection process so I decided to take a deeper dive into the topic. This, too, was one of the first topics I asked about when meeting with our crafters in Arequipa, as I wanted to make sure the resources used in daph. products did not harm any animals or the environment.

Compared to the wool of sheep and llamas, the alpaca’s fur is the most difficult to work with due to its “slippery” texture and finer structure. Naturally, the fiber has thermic characteristics, washes easily, barely shrinks and is hypoallergenic. The fur itself comes in up to 22 different colors but can also be carefully dyed, which is very time consuming. Because of these characteristics, the alpaca fur is much more valuable than that of a sheep.

Although the fiber we use is said to come from baby alpaca, that does not mean it comes from a baby animal, (don’t worry!) it means that it is the first sheer on a younger animal, i.e. the first time the fur is collected.

The shearing of alpaca fur occurs once every three years, depending on the health of the animal, the amount of fleece available and the quality of the fiber on the animal. January through April is usually when the fur is collected seeing that these are the warmer months in Peru and gives the alpaca ample time to regrow their coats before the wintery months arrive. Since Alpacas do not shed, without the shearing practice alpacas could overheat in the summer months and experience extreme dehydration and sometimes even death, thus collecting their fur is not only beneficial to the community but also essential for the alpaca’s life.

In Peru, there are many alpaca farmers who treat the alpacas as their pets and therefore the shearing process is one which the animals grow accustomed to. The alpacas are laid on their sides and carefully, the fibers are collected. Due to the increasing popularity of the alpaca fibers, any requests for products consisting of alpaca fibers must be made a year in advance in order to ensure there is ample supply.

Because of the scarcity of the alpaca fur, daph. has chosen to create only a limited quantity of products that are made of baby alpaca in efforts to provide their consumers with unique products but also prevent a negative impact on the alpaca community in Peru. Be on the lookout this fall for our baby alpaca fur clutches in multi colored patterns.

 

The information in this weblog is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights. Thanks to www.threadsofperu.com for being a resource for the images and background information used in this post.

This weblog does not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of my employer. It is solely my opinion and I have not been paid to write this post. 

Feel free to challenge me, disagree with me, or tell me I’m completely crazy in the comments section of each blog entry, but I reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason whatsoever (abusive, profane, rude, or anonymous comments) – so keep it polite, please.


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