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Monday, March 25, 2013

HOW TO WASH ALPACA-FIBER CLOTHING CAREFULLY

Alpaca clothing is durable, warm, and stronger than cashmere, meaning that these articles won’t come cheap. Although pieces made from alpaca fiber are worth their price, they’re still by no means cheap, so practicing extreme care is necessary.

Alpaca silk blend on spindle
According to Purely Alpaca, their fibers come in about twenty-two natural colors. These colors will never fade if the clothing manufacturer refrains from dying the fibers. These clothes can last for years when taken care of properly.

When you wash the item, you’ll have to do it by hand. Not all materials work well with washing machines, and the heat of dryers can ruin your favorite piece just a few moments. Remember to follow the steps below when washing your alpaca-fiber tangibles.

•Fill a small wash bin with lukewarm to cool water.
•Add a squirt of a mild/plain shampoo
•After the water is soapy, fully submerge the garment.
•Once the garment is soaked, slightly agitate and scrub it, washing away debris and germs.
•Spread a large towel out on a flat table or counter.
•Rinse the soaking garment with cool water until you see no more soap.
•After removing the item from the water, lay it out on the towel
•Roll the towel up, ringing out excess water
•Then, remove the garment from the towel and move it to a dry one.
•Pull your garment back to its normal shape, so that the seams are straight.
•Move the garment & the dry towel to a shaded location.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

ARE ALPACA FIBER SOCKS WORTH THEIR PRICE?

About Alpaca Socks

Most people are accustomed to purchasing socks and underwear from well-known department stores. This is common because of the price and the convenience of obtaining average, cotton socks. They usually come in a package of six pairs for about ten dollars, and you can purchase them in the same place that you purchase food and toiletries.

Alpaca Fur Socks and Alpaca BreedersExplaining the difference between cotton socks and alpaca socks is like comparing a tricycle to a BMW. Alpaca socks are far superior, but alas, so is the price. There is no denying that cotton socks are cheaper, but as the saying goes, “you get what you pay for”.

So, are alpaca socks, really worth the price? With a large following that pays an average of fifteen to thirty dollars per pair, we have a confident “Yes”.

The Woes of Cold Toes
Anyone familiar to snow flurries and wind chills understands the misery of cold feet in winter. Cotton socks are notorious for getting holes at random intervals. Some rip within a week, other pairs last for months. There’s no rhyme or reason; cotton socks just rip. With alpaca-fiber socks, you’ll never experience the annoyance of a toe escaping through a hole at a very inconvenient time.

Dry Feet are Happy Feet
Alpaca fiber naturally kicks back moisture, keeping it away from the skin. This keeps your feet dry, warm, and cozy. In addition, this is why alpaca socks last longer, as moisture is likely what causes cotton socks to rip so easily.

Stand on Cloud 9
Literally, stand on a cloud. Alpaca socks are extremely comfortable; it feels as if you’re standing on a fictional cloud. These socks are not itchy like wool, but they offer even more warmth.

*Photo of baby alpaca courtesy of Stardust 27 | Imgfave

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

FIVE STRANGE FACTS ABOUT ALPACA FIBER

Alpacas make fine additions to any family, with their soft and huggable fibers and adorable faces. Beyond their soft fiber and good looks lies an entirely new set of quirky behaviors and unique characteristics.

Alpaca fiber is similar to wool, except it keeps heat in better. Their fiber has no lanolin, which makes their fleece hypoallergenic. Those who are allergic to wool can benefit from alpaca fibers.

Alpacas have flame-resistant fibers, meeting product safety standards for use in clothing and furnishings. Consider an alpaca-fiber scarf, if you’re a smoker. Especially if you smoke, “alpaca” day.
It’s okay, he didn’t like that joke either.

It’s a good thing their fiber is flame-resistant because it’s water-resistant as well! Since their fibers reject water molecules, these fibers make for a lighter and warmer fleece than sheep’s wool.

Alpacas come in a myriad of colors and blends. Currently, there are fifteen to twenty recognized colors including light rose, dark brown, and white.

There are only two breed of Alpacas that we know of today, the Suri and the Huacaya. The Suri alpaca fibers are long and silky, whereas the Huacaya has curly, crimpled fleece- giving it a very wooly look. Most alpaca’s fibers come from the Huacaya alpacas, so you’re likely familiar with the crimpled fleece look of alpaca fiber.


Photo Source: TheGuardian

Thursday, January 24, 2013

THE ALPACA VS. THE LLAMA

The alpaca vs. the llama

It is very common to confuse alpacas and llamas. Although there are a few similarities in appearance, these two animals could not be any different from one another. Both animals are South American camelids, but the distinctions of personality traits and livelihood can’t be mistaken.

Alpacas grow a soft and pure silk fiber that is used for many types of clothing. This is one of the alpacas greatest attributes. The llama, too, grows a fiber but it’s much coarser than the alpaca’s and is not desirable for clothing.

Where llamas can function alone, alpacas need to be herded together. Companionship is very important to the alpaca.

Size is a very noticeable difference. Alpacas are actually half the size of a llama! Their small stature and gentle personality makes them a unique animal to raise. Llamas have been known for their strength and ability to cart loads at long distances.

We can’t forget the differences of ear shape. By examining the ears, one can determine that a llama has curved or “banana shaped” ears, while an alpacas are perfectly straight.

An amusing similarity between alpacas and llamas is their ability to spit! As unusual of a behavior as spitting is, both alpacas and llamas are known for this.

So the next time you come into contact with an alpaca, hopefully you’ll be able say “that is definitely not a llama!” For any additional information on the wonderful alpaca, please be sure to give us a call.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

A BRIEF LOOK AT THE HISTORY OF ALPACAS

Alpacas played an important role in ancient Incan civilization. These gentle and unique animals were centralized on the high Andean Plateau on the mountains of South America.

So, just how did the Alpaca become a most loved animal? You have to understand that alpacas have been co-existing with people for nearly 5,000 years.

The alpaca has always been bred and cared for in a humane way since their beginning. Back during Incan civilization, alpacas were part of religious ceremonies and were believed to be a treasured member of the community.

“The Spanish conquistadors failed to see the value of alpaca fiber, preferring the merino sheep of their native Spain. For a time, alpaca fiber was a well-kept secret.” At that time, Alpaca fiber was spun into garments for Incan royalty only. Now, it is common for retailers to sell alpaca fiber clothing. “Museums throughout the Americas display textiles made from alpaca fiber.”

Sir Titus Salt of Saltaire, in the 1800's discovered, “that alpaca fiber was stronger than sheep’s wool and that its strength did not diminish with fineness of staple.” So you can see the majority of purpose for the breeding and raising of alpaca was for their fiber.

Since their arrival into the United States in 1984, Alpacas have been raised by loving families and retired individuals looking for a rewarding investment.

Alpacas have been named one of Mother Nature’s favorite farm animals and we can see why. We love our alpacas and treat them as cherished members of our family. The bonds we’ve created with this unique breed of animal are priceless.

(Source – Alpaca Info. http://www.alpacainfo.com/about/history.asp)

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

BASIC ALPACA CARE AND NUTRITION

Alpacas are one of the most gentle and docile animal, requiring basic care and lots of love. Even though their care is easy to contend with, the alpaca still needs proper nutrition to live a long, healthy life.

In order to take proper care of your alpaca, get to know them first. Obviously, pregnant and nursing alpacas require different nutrition and this must be distinguished before you set up a feeding plan and schedule.

Alpacas follow a pretty simple to monitor eating schedule and diet. It will not require too much effort or time to establish an effective routine for feeding.

According to Alpacas.com, “Alpacas are ruminants, which means they chew cud like a cow or deer.” They can survive on low protein hay and grass, as well as plenty of water. Having a well-balanced diet is crucial to the survival and reproduction ability of the alpaca.

Alpacas benefit most from natural grazing and eating plant material with long grains like hay. You can purchase large quantities of grain from suppliers but as Alpacas.com states, these are “best thought of as supplying vitamins and minerals rather than the bulk feed.”

If you plan to change your alpaca’s diet, make sure you approach this gradually. Switching food supply or adding new supplements to your alpaca’s diet can be very rough on their digestive system, making them sick and weak.

To set up a typical nutrition schedule for your alpacas, Australian Alpaca offers good information. “They tend to be active at dawn and dusk.” This is useful to know when choosing feeding times. “They eat for 5-6 hours a day and they ruminate for 7-8 hours a day.” Alpacas will also be inactive and restful for 7-8 hours a day.

When it comes to creating a proper nutritional plan for alpacas, there’s a lot more to know. Our website can supply you with the tips you need or you can give us a call; we would be happy to help get you started raising and caring for your own alpacas just as we do.

Monday, December 10, 2012

ALPACA FIBER PRODUCTS: THE PERFECT HOLIDAY GIFT FOR THE WINTER

With the colder weather approaching, we begin to prepare ourselves for its harsh bite. What some people don’t realize is that alpaca fiber is the perfect material to don yourself with. Alpaca fiber is incredibly warm, has a higher insulation that sheep’s wool and is naturally water resistant; perfect for protection against wind, snow and sleet.

As the cold settles in, we know the holidays are coming right with it. Giving everyone on your holiday list something warm and cozy to make it through the winter is the perfect gift! Take a look at these fashionable and essential winter wardrobe choices made from our very own US grown Alpaca fiber.

They say when your hands are warm, so is the rest of you. Don’t let your loved ones go outside with their hands unprotected. These gloves are all terrain and will keep hands warm in a variety of outdoor winter activities.

An extremely popular fashion, these attractive earflap beanies will keep you looking great and feeling great, too! Combining both Alpaca fiber and Micro-Fleece, your head and ears will be shielded from the harsh weather.

Don’t neglect those feet during the winter months! Especially if you or a loved one does a lot of work outside, these socks are a lifesaver. Reaching mid-calf for extra warmth, your feet will be reinforced when your footwear if your footwear or pants begin to fail.

If you’re the crafty type, knitting something yourself for your loved ones is a great way to spread love and warmth this holiday season. Nothing is more meaningful than getting a handmade gift straight from the heart!

Whether you’re making cozy items yourself or you’d like to purchase some, Countryside Alpacas can help you out this holiday and winter season! Order online or come see us at the Farm Store one of these days from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m: 12/15, 12/16, 12/22, 12/23, 12/29, and 12/30. If you’re unable to visit during these times we will be showing our products at various craft shows or you can always give us a call at 860-738-1490 to schedule an appointment. Happy gifting!