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Shupaca Alpaca Blog

Traditional South American Weaving Techniques

Traditional South American Weaving Techniques
Discover the beauty of traditional South American weaving techniques with our curated collection of handcrafted textiles. From the intricate and colorful Andean weavings of Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador to the stylish and durable Wayuu mochilas of Colombia, each piece tells a unique cultural story. Explore the bold patterns and deep symbolism of Mapuche weavings from Chile and the delicate, lace-like Ñandutí from Paraguay. Add a touch of cultural richness and artistry to your home with these timeless, eco-friendly textiles. Shop now and celebrate the heritage and craftsmanship of South American artisans. Continue reading

Introduction to Alpaca Wool: Why It's Unique and Valuable

Introduction to Alpaca Wool: Why It's Unique and Valuable

Alpaca wool is renowned for its exceptional softness, warmth, and durability. Sourced from the fleece of alpacas in South America, this luxurious fiber is hypoallergenic, making it ideal for sensitive skin. Alpaca wool’s unique thermal properties provide excellent insulation while remaining lightweight and breathable. It’s also highly durable, moisture-wicking, and water-resistant, perfect for both clothing and home textiles.

Choosing alpaca wool supports sustainable and eco-friendly practices, as alpacas have minimal environmental impact and their wool is biodegradable. From cozy sweaters to elegant home decor, alpaca wool offers unmatched comfort and elegance.

Explore the benefits of alpaca wool and find your perfect piece at Shupaca. Embrace the luxury and sustainability of alpaca wool today!

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How to Care for Your Alpaca Socks

How to Care for Your Alpaca Socks
Alpaca wool socks are comfortable and long lasting making them a worthy investment for your feet! To get the most use out of your new alpaca socks, it is important to properly care for them. Continue reading

Benefits of Wearing Alpaca Socks

Benefits of Wearing Alpaca Socks
Nobody likes having cold feet. When your feet are cold, your entire body will be cold too. Have you ever wondered why that is? The feet have a huge impact on how warm or cold you feel because just like your hands,  Continue reading

Are Alpaca Gloves Warm?

Are Alpaca Gloves Warm?
When winter comes and the snow begins to blanket your surroundings, gloves aren’t always the first things that pop in your head. Cold, nippy weather will signal your favorite warm and comfy things –from snuggle blankets and chunky sweaters to plush bathrobes and fuzzy socks –but gloves rarely make it to that cozy collection. Continue reading

11 Ways To Tie Alpaca Scarves

11 Ways To Tie Alpaca Scarves
Alpaca hats? Check. Alpaca gloves? Check. These items are staple accessories for times when the wind gets chilly and keeping warm becomes a priority. Continue reading

Alpaca vs. Cashmere? 6 Big Differences

Alpaca vs. Cashmere? 6 Big Differences
What makes the perfect sweater? For a garment to be a staple in our cold-weather wardrobe, it has to have the appropriate combination of softness, warmth, and durability –and plus points  will go to a piece that is water-resistant, sustainable, and has good insulation.  Continue reading

Why Buy An Alpaca Throw Blanket?

Why Buy An Alpaca Throw Blanket?
Alpaca fleece is an incredibly soft, smooth, and warm fiber that makes alpaca throws one of those simple luxuries you don’t realize you are missing until you’ve wrapped yourself in it.  Continue reading

How Is Alpaca Yarn Made? in 6 Steps

How Is Alpaca Yarn Made? in 6 Steps

If you’ve already worn an alpaca sweater or wrap, you pretty much know why it’s renowned for being one of the most prized natural fibers on the planet, and already a preferred fabric of luxury fashion houses. You already know that the impeccably soft, lightweight, breathable material that drapes beautifully comes from the adorable alpaca, which is native to South America. And you’re also absolutely certain that alpaca is already a staple in your winter wardrobe. But have you ever wondered how this fantastic fleece is turned into your favorite sweaters, hats, and shawls?  Allow us to break down its production process below.


Breeding

Alpaca wool is derived from the natural fibers that grow on alpacas. There are two breeds of alpaca: the Huacaya alpaca (fluffy sheep-like wool) and Suri alpaca (draping locks with a silkier, more lustrous fiber). 

Alpacas are considered “easy keepers.” They are gentle grazers and have soft pads, which are easy on the pasture. Keeping alpacas happy and healthy in their natural habitat is the first step in the wool’s journey of becoming a luxe fabric.

Shearing

Shearing of alpaca is typically done once a year, usually taking place in January through April. This allows the alpacas to re-grow their coats throughout the warmer months (and not have heat stress), and be prepared for the colder months of winter.

An alpaca is ready for shearing when its hair has grown to a certain length. Scissors are used for the shearing process. It can take up to four people to shear an alpaca, since the gentle creature is quite resistant to the process (it’s like trying to give a toddler a haircut). The entire coat usually comes off in one large mat since the breeders will shear the alpaca close to the skin. 

The short fiber will then be sorted into a number of categories, ranging from the finest to the coarsest. The coarsest wool is typically used for felted jewelry and handicrafts, while the finer wool is utilized for the production of garments.  

Carding

After the fiber is sorted, any seeds, burs, and other waste or debris that the alpacas have picked up will be carded using a fine-toothed brush. They can also be cut out by hand. During the carding process, the individual wool fibers are also combed in a uniform direction. And while alpaca already comes in 22 natural shades, it is at this point that the fibers can be dyed. After the carding process, alpaca wool is ready to be spun into yarn.

Spinning

Shupaca Alpaca Spinning

Spinning refers to the process of turning raw wool fibers into strong and consistent threads. Peruvian weavers use what is called a pushka –a drop spindle that resembles a wooden spinning top with an elongated axis. Fiber is gathered and twisted using one hand while being wound into the spindle with the other hand. Spinning (along with gravity) will cause multiple threads to combine to form stronger fibers. The single threads, on the other hand, are separated from the pushka, are formed into balls, and then spun again. It takes an experienced, steady hand to correctly twist the fiber without breaking it, while maintaining a consistent thickness for hundreds of meters. Hand-spinning wool into yarn is not only a highly-skilled craft, but a treasured Peruvian technique performed by the indigenous people, and has been passed down from generation to generation.

Washing

Once the alpaca yarn has been formed, it will be washed to remove its impurities. The Peruvians use a variety of wild plants to make a natural, non-toxic cleaning substance. The organic detergent (either using a root or plant that is grated or pounded and mixed with water) creates a foamy wash which effectively cleans the dirty wool in just a few minutes. Once the wool is clean, it will be hung to air-dry. 


Knitting, Weaving, Crocheting

The dried wool will then be ready for the final step which will turn it into a finished textile product. Similar to how you can knit and crochet doilies and sweaters at home using a ball of yarn, alpaca yarn will be knitted or weaved into hats, wraps, sweaters, socks, etc. –all ready to be exported around the world.

 

If you are interested in our alpaca collections please check them out below. 

Alpaca Throw Blankets

Alpaca Pillows

Alpaca Heirloom Collection

Alpaca Scarves

Alpaca Wraps

Alpaca Gloves

Alpaca Beanies/Hats

Alpaca Socks

Alpaca Head Bands and Neck Warmers

Alpaca Clothing

Alpaca Plushed Animals

Alpaca Artisan Yarn 

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