TEXTILES MADE FROM LUXURY FIBRES

Processing Alpaca Fibre - From field to Fabric

At British Alpaca Textiles every process of making textiles happens in the UK.

We produce our own alpaca and guanaco fibre. Our story is simple. We grow and process our fibre from A to Z. The products we make our sourced and manufactured in Britain for all weather from cool crisp fabrics to warm thermal and cosy fabrics.

The process starts at home with the British Alpaca on our local farms – our fields.

Shearing Alpaca

Our British Alpaca are usually shorn annually in the months of May to July on our farm by our local shearer who specialises in alpaca shearing. The shearer works with electric shears and the fleece is rolled of the saddle in one piece with long smooth strokes on to a fleece board.

Sorting & Grading Alpaca Fibre

The fleece is then sorted by hand and graded on the farm. It is sorted in bales of 10 fleeces where colours, grades and types of equivalent fleece are stored in separate bales for the different types of yarn spinning. The decision as to which type of cloth the fleece makes is determined at this stage.

Scouring

All sorted and graded fleece is then despatched to the mill for scouring. It is then washed in natural detergents. No chemicals are used.

Blending & Combing

The Alpaca Fleece is then blended to achieve the texture and prepared for spinning. A combing machine opens the fleece and removes vegetable matter.

To create the finer worsted fabrics and knitwear the alpaca fibre is combed in one directions to remove the short fibres (noils) so that the fibre is aligned. (The noils which are removed are used for woolen goods or feling.) To create woollen fabrics it is made into rovings and carded.

Spinning

Spinning can either be woollen or worsted. We use both types of spinning depending on the fabric we produce.

Woollen spinning is made from rovings which are made from fibre that has been carded by a machine which twists the fibre on to reels keeping the yarns loosely twisted. This yarn is used for knitwear, soft and heavier cloths.

The fibre used from alpaca slivers where the individual fibres lie parallel is drawn out to a thinner and more uniform diameter and twisted tighter and thinner in the spinning process. This creates fabric which is crisp. Smooth, clear faced and lighter weight.

Weaving

This process produces the actual British Alpaca Fabric interlacing strands of yarn at right angles. The lengthwise strands are known as the warp and the crosswise strans as the weft. Warp threads can be raised in various combinations to create different weaves and patterns. Weft threads can be woven loosely for light airy fabrics or tightly for dense strong fabrics.

Commercial Finishing

Few fabrics are ready for use when they come from weaving or knitting. Most must go through several finishing processes which add variety to the surface appearnace of the fabric.

Woollens are finished by brushing, which raises the ends of the fibre. This creates soft handle for which alpaca is famous. The fabric nap may also be shorn to create velvet feel and appearance.

Worsteds fo through less radical finishing changes and are usually not brushed. They are often shorn to achieve the clean, crisp feel for which they are known.

After all these stages of production ………………. Our British Alpaca Textiles are ready for the market.

It is truly a story which starts in the field and ends up as finished fabric!