About Our Product Process
All of the Alpaca products listed here start the same way…with the annual shearing. Each year near the end of May we shear all of the Alpacas. As well as harvesting the fleece to produce these products it also makes the hot weather in the summer much more tolerable for the animals. By removing the fleece every spring it also allows us to get a good look at the body condition of the animals otherwise totally hidden by the dense fleece. By the time the colder weather returns in the fall their fleece has grown back in order to keep them warm. We have been fortunate that we have had the same shearers and base crew for over 10 years and as a result the entire process is as stress free for the animals (and the crew)as we can make it. While we have the animals on the table shearing them we also give them their annual vaccinations, trim their feet and teeth if necessary.
We start by processing the Alpacas according to colors. As they are being shorn the fleece is taken off the table and bagged in 3 different groups. The “blanket” area which is the main area from the neck back to the tail on both sides is put into one bag. The neck and underbelly is put into another bag and the fibre from the legs, top knot and tail are put into another bag. The blanket fibre is the one which we use to produce socks. The neck and underbelly fibre is used to produce batting or felting material. The fibre from the legs, tail and top knot is generally to course and dirty to do anything with and is discarded. If this is an Alpacas first shearing (cria shearing) the blanket is kept separate from all of the other fibre and this is what we use to make the toques, scarves and headbands.
We then haul this fibre to a mill in Alberta for processing where the fibre is washed, dried, carded and then woven into skeins with approximately 15% nylon or bamboo so that the Alpaca products will stretch yet still maintain their shape when properly cared for.
The regular skeins are then shipped to the sock manufacturer in Quebec where they process the skeins into various socks and packaged as per our instructions. Once completed they are then shipped back to our farm.
The first (cria) skeins are shipped to artisan spinners on Vancouver Island who produce our toques, headbands and scarves. These are then packaged and returned to the farm.
The course fibre from the neck and underbelly gets processed into batting for duvets.
Due to the very small percentage of the overall fibre being cria and course fibre for batting material we have a very limited amount of the toques, scarves headbands and duvets. We apologize in advance if these products are not available at the time of your order.
All of these products including the duvets cannot be washed in hot water or thrown in a dryer. Doing so will distort the product and ruin the elasticity. They must be washed in lukewarm water and hung to dry.
As you can see these products are all 100% Canadian made! This is what sets us apart from most Alpaca products being sold. Although we believe the quality of our products are superior to imported goods, it is far more expensive for us to produce as there are very few mills who handle this fibre and there are not a lot of producers who have enough fibre to make it worthwhile to process. As a result the majority of fibre in Canada goes unprocessed or is simply thrown away. Worse yet is when the producer leaves the animals unshorn for one or more years.