Raw material selection
The alpaca and llama breeders bring their varying classes of fiber to the warehouses.
The alpaca and llama fleeces are first graded and then sorted for fineness and color. This operation is carried out by ladies whose skills of selection have been handed down from generation to generation.
Baby 21 – 22
Superfine 24 – 25.5
Adult 27 – 28,5
Coarse 30 – 33,0
The wool fiber scouring operation has the objective of removing the natural grease and any extraneous dust that the fleeces collect.
The wool scouring is carried out in a large industrial machine containing five separate washing bowls using clean warm water and bio-degradable detergents, leaving the fiber clean and containing no more than 0.5% of its natural lanolin.
Carding and Combing.
The carding process removes a percentage of the vegetable matter and coarse hair and presents the raw material in a continuous sliver. The material is a then combed on rectilinear combs where the short fibers and the remaining vegetable matter is removed. The resultant sliver is then passed through a series of gilling operations designed to align the fibers and make the sliver more regular in preparation for the spinning operation.
The final product of the carding and combing operation, universally known as ball tops, are passed through a further series of gilling passages designed to reduce the weight of the sliver and present it in a desirable state for the yarn spinning process. This is done on the spinning frames where the sliver is reduced to its required thickness and twisted to give the yarn strength and durability.
The dyeing process.
Though alpaca and llama fibers come in a rich palette of natural shades, in order to satisfy the international fashion markets fibers are also dyed to a wide range of colors. The yarn dyeing is carried out in a pressurized vessel using eco-friendly dyestuffs which are approved for garment manufacture.