Here are a few of our USA Made Alpaca sources:
We purchase hand-spun/hand-dyed alpaca yarn, children's alpaca clothing, alpaca baby booties, alpaca scarves, artwork, etc. from craft artists in the U.S. See our Artist Showcase link to learn about that program. We offer a consignment service for artists who produce more expensive items such as capes, wraps, some scarves, etc. These items can also be seen in our Artist Showcase.
We purchase yarn, blankets and socks from U.S. mills. We also buy some items from Canada. We have plans which may have us soon purchasing raw alpaca fiber from U.S. farms. We are also currently seeking new sources of commercial American alpaca yarn on commercial quality cones for use in making socks, scarves, etc.
We also buy items directly from Peru's poorest alpaca farmers in Free Trade support of them.
Most of our higher end designer items are designed by American designers but made in Arequipa, Peru, the world's capital for Alpaca clothing with hundreds of years of skill in working with alpaca. It is currently quite difficult for U.S. mills to produce high end sweaters, jackets and coats which can compete with Peruvian in quality and of course price.
We are always seeking new sources of quality U.S. created items. If you learn of items which may fit with our product lines please let us know and/or have the artist check out our Artist Showcase area and contact us.
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Each late spring, as it begins to get hot, alpacas are shorn for their annual 'clip'. Alpacas are a domesticated animal. The annual shearing is completely natural for them and the animals are notably more comfortable after their annual 'hair cut'.
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Baby alpaca is an industry term, which relates to the fineness of the fibers that went into that particular garment or product. There are several fineness grades of alpaca fiber. The grade of fineness is not necessarily related to the age of the animal from which the fleece came. Baby alpacas (called crias) typically do have very fine fleeces. As alpacas age, the fineness of their fiber tends to decrease. Through selective breeding, there are adult alpacas that continually produce fiber, which grades at baby or finer. As alpaca producers this is a quality that we strive to produce.
Royal baby is the finest grade of alpaca fleece. Products made from royal baby are very expensive because there are only small amounts of this grade of fiber produced in the world. Baby is the next finest grade. It is very fine and feels wonderful in garments worn next to the skin. Superfine is the third grade and is not quite as fine as baby alpaca, but is still very soft and luxurious. There is a large supply of alpaca produced in this fineness grade. Many of our luxurious garments are made from superfine alpaca. The coarser grades of alpaca fiber are called adult or coarse and are used primarily for rugs, outerwear and other products not worn next to the skin. Some inexpensive alpaca products may actually be produced from the coarser grades of alpaca. Adult alpaca is still nice and has all of the wonderful qualities of the finer grades of alpaca. It just isn't as soft and may feel a bit prickly if worn next to the skin. The durability of the coarser fibers is superior to the finer fibers.
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We ask that you please include a note of what we should do when we receive your return and make sure we know who you are! :) Other than that, just send it back and we'll take care of your return with an exchange or refund per your instructions.
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Dyed garments will have some chance of bleed but since alpaca fiber takes dying better than most other fibers your garment, with proper care, should retain its beauty for many many years.
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Alpaca fiber is stronger, lighter and more resilient than wool. Finer than cashmere and equal or superior in warmth to Gortex. And of course it is 100% natural and good for the environment. Unlike wool, harsh toxic chemicals are not needed to process alpaca as it contains no lanolin oils.
Meet someone who has owned a quality alpaca sweater and they will tell you about its unique comfort, encasing warmth, breathability and soothing softness.
Alpaca fiber comes NATURALLY in 22 different colors! It also dyes very well, hold its color and blends superbly with silk and other fibers.
Alpaca is naturally hypoallergenic. It lacks the lanolin and other oils seen in other fleeces. Its fineness will be noticed as you don't feel the scratchiness felt with wool. Most people who are allergic to the itchiness or get a rash from wool will cherish being able to wear alpaca!
Alpaca garments are strong and resilient. Expect to keep your quality garment for years if you take good simple care of it. Most alpaca fine garments DO NOT need to be dry-cleaned. A simple washing in baby shampoo will do just fine. We provide simple care instructions with orders. They are also listed elsewhere in this FAQ and can be found on the main menu on the website.
Perhaps you, like many others can pass it down as a family heirloom. Alpaca garments dating back over 2000 years in Peru are still in good condition!
Alpaca is the true standard of clothing luxury. Still relatively rare and expensive (from $3 to $6 an ounce for quality raw fleece), the products made from alpaca are a breed apart.
Enjoy your alpaca garment and all it represents.
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We also shop directly in Peru and buy at fair prices from the local artisans there.
You will find that with proper care, your valuable alpaca garment will become a personal favorite or perhaps even a family heirloom!
Here are some tips, gleaned from experts, on the best ways to keep your fine alpaca garment clean and in good shape for many years...
First, think of your alpaca sweater as fine yet strong hair, which is what it essentially is.
Cleaning any natural animal fiber garment can be done in a washing machine, as long as there is no agitation at all, but we don't recommend it for anything larger than socks. Felting can occur in the spin cycle, every bit as easily as agitation. The finer the fibers, the less handling it can take before felting.
Temperature changes between the wash and rinse water tends to be the most common cause of shrinkage. Make sure the water stays the same temperature. Lukewarm is best, about 100 to 105 degrees. Don't use extremely hot or cold water.
Laundry soap and dishwashing liquid can be too harsh for some fibers. We recommend baby or other mild shampoo to our customers (skip the stuff with lots of fragrance or conditioners added - cheap stuff is just fine). After all, these products are designed for gently cleaning hair fibers, thus it's fabulous for alpaca garments.
Swish your garment very, very gently in a (clean!) sink with the shampoo, let sit for just two or three minutes, and rinse in same temp water. Be sure to think in advance about how you'll get the same temperature water for washing and rinsing. Maybe a bucket transferred from the tub once the temperature is set. Try to handle the item as little as possible.
Leave it in the sink for a few minutes for it to drain, gently squeeze just enough water out so you don't soak the floor when taking the garment out of the sink. Lay it out on a towel and GENTLY roll up in the towel. Don't squeeze or press hard- you only want to have the towel absorb more water. Leave it in the towel for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a dry towel and let air dry. Turn over and place on fresh, dry towel every few hours (drying time is highly controlled by room temperature and humidity). Another nice, simple and inexpensive drying method is to use a sweater dryer rack. These allow you to lay out the sweater and provide good air flow around the garment. They typically cost around $10 at Wal-Mart type stores or online (search for: sweater drying rack).
Whatever you do, don't use Woolite! Even the "gentle" formula can be too harsh for some fine clothing.
Structured coats, jackets, finely woven or intricately detailed garments should be dry-cleaned.
Though not as susceptible as wool items, during the summer months, your alpaca garments should be stored away from possible moth infestation. We recommend using a sealed cedar chest, closed bag, or another moth protected environment.
With proper care, your alpaca garment will give you many years of soft warm enjoyment and you too will have an alpaca heirloom!
If you have further questions about the care of your fine alpaca item, feel free to talk with us at:
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All we ask is that you send a note of instructions (refund, exchange, questions).
Please return unwanted items within 30 days.
Please be sure to tell us if there is an actual problem or flaw with the item so we do not restock it... though you do not need a "reason" to return.
A copy of the receipt is appreciated by not required but do
** Please include a reminder note of what we should do when we receive your return.
Return to the address below.
Purely Alpaca PO BOX 8598 La Jolla, CA 92038