The first thing that comes to mind when you think of Alpacas, is most likely…Llamas. Indeed, Alpacas do look a lot like Llamas and they are related; the two are often confused. However, Alpacas are famous for reasons other than being a popular icon.
Alpaca fleece is a wonder fibre, combining softness with strength to help provide warmth while being lightweight and eco-friendly. Unlike its wool counterpart, it contains no lanolin, meaning it doesn’t require chemical cleaning after harvesting, and is often a more suitable option for people with sensitivities to wool. Considered a luxury fibre, much like mohair and cashmere, Alpaca also has tiny air pockets that help improve breathability and repel moisture. In short, Alpaca fleece has an extensive range of benefits.
Our Alpaca quilts are proudly made in Australia from farm gate to factory floor. The fleece is farmed locally, and the quilt is carefully crafted by our friends at Bambi. Here’s a peek inside the process of creating our cosy (and coveted) Snooze Alpaca quilt.
Grazing on fertile local farmlands, these impossibly-cute creatures are curious animals that enjoy a vegetarian diet (mainly grass). Alpacas are highly-efficient eaters and have a relatively lower impact on the land than some of their farm friends.
Modest grazing habits along with their padded feet, mean Alpacas are less likely to damage root systems or disrupt the surface of the soil on the farm, making it easier for grass to regenerate. Alpaca waste can also be used as fertilizer.
Alpacas are shorn once a year, in Spring (more specifically, November in Australia). During the harvesting process, each Alpaca produces around 4kg of fibre and it takes a shearer on average, 2 hours to shear 20 Alpacas.
After harvesting the fleece, it’s sorted into different colours and qualities by an expert Alpaca grader. The fibre diameter, length and colour are all used to classify the quality of the fibre before it’s then compressed into bales and sent off to a different facility for cleaning.
After sorting, the bales of fibre are gently washed and scoured to remove any debris. As Alpaca fleece has a low grease content, it doesn’t require any chemical cleaning. This is advantageous for people that find they have sensitivities to wool, as the chemicals used in the cleaning of sheeps wool can often be the culprit behind the irritation.
After the washing process, the clean Alpaca fibre is repacked into bales ready for sale.
When creating the Snooze Alpaca quilt, the best quality fibre with minimal colour variation is selected. Once the chosen bales arrive at the factory, bags are opened and the raw fibre is put through a machine called a Hopper. The purpose of this step is to help break up and loosen the fibre after it has been compressed in bales during transit.
To produce the fine, web-like sheet structures needed to create a quilt, the loosened Alpaca fibre then goes through a Carding Line machine. The purpose of this is to even out the fibre by dividing, then redividing it. This results in a delicate sheet of parallel fibres.
The Carding Line process also serves to remove any remaining impurities before it’s layered in a lapping process to ensure the consistency in warmth and quality. We can now start to see our Alpaca quilt taking shape.
Next, the web-like layers are quilted. Stitched and secured to keep the fine layers of Alpaca fleece evenly distributed and fixed in place, quilting also provides structure and sturdiness to the finished product.
Precision stitching and exquisite attention to detail go into the construction of each Snooze Alpaca quilt. Each quilted piece is topped with a 100% cotton sateen cover, with a 1cm dobby stripe and finished with a double-border. The team at Bambi are relentless in their pursuit of perfection for the finish of each and every quilt.
The finishing touch for our Alpaca quilts, is being sustainably packaged in our FSC certified, recyclable packaging ready for sale. When our Alpaca quilts arrive in-store, they are ready to find their new home and be loved by all who own them.
Head in-store and feel the care and quality that goes into each Snooze Alpaca quilt for yourself.