Alpaca Blanket Project
This alpaca clothing is truly oneof- a-kind. Each garment is unique. Starting a new design is like starting to read a mystery--- you can plan and follow the plot, but there will be unforeseen twists andturns. How cool is that?
I start with the raw alpaca fiber. The fiber is cleaned, combed and hand dyed to make a palette of colors to work from. It is laid out on silk or alpaca felt to create the design. The work is massaged in a way that lets the fibers join together and does not disturb the design. Gently rubbing over a textured surface or a rolled sandwich of bubble wrap, firms the felt and makes it a new stable fabric.
The process is simple, time consuming and the possibilities are absolutely endless! I feel that I have just scratched the surface. Combining the raising and breeding of alpacas has created a very satisfying life.
My Alpaca felt combines all the things that I love. I love my 36 Suri Alpacas, I love color and I love nature. There is an organic exuberance with my` hand dyed Alpaca fiber. It feels like a combination of cashmere and silk. There is a spiritual connection between these gentle animals that we have birthed and raised and the composition of the felt work. My studio and the barn are in close proximity.
against each other they progressively interlock, pulling the fibers through the silk or wool/alpaca base. This process is enhanced with moisture, heat and soap. This allows the creation of scenes that are both visual and tactile experiences. The finished product is much more sturdy than it appears. The last step in the felting involves throwing the piece on the table many times. It is much more durable than it appears and can be dry cleaned.
I also paint in oils. My oil painting has grown tremendously with my experience in felt and my felting has grown from from my oil painting. I need to pinch myself. I am living a life I had only dreamed of.
Kentucky Royalty currently manufactures alpaca performance socks and plans to expand to include alpaca fashion and performance clothing and accessories. Organizations Shawn Malloy, president of Kentucky Royalty, began the sock project in 2009 with the idea that superior ingredients plus great design is the key to success.
The base ingredient, alpaca fleece, is naturally hypoallergenic, flame resistant and resistant to external water penetration like wool but is able to wick moisture away from the body. This allows alpaca fiber to feel lighter than wool, and warmer than cotton in cool, damp conditions. Alpaca is a renewable resource and requires minimal processing without caustic chemicals. All socks include silver technology for anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties. All socks are machine washable and dryer proof.
By perfecting the right merger of ingredients and the latest in sock technology Kentucky Royalty has created a sock line that is durable, breathable, odor-free, moisture wicking and comfortable.
I fell in love with those adorable alpaca faces the first time I saw them. I have my friend Carol to thank for that! But that was only the beginning of our adventure. We started our herd with six fuzzy kids. I couldn’t keep my hands off of them. I just had to catch them and touch their fleece! Soon I was addicted to that fleece and I just had to learn some new skills so I could spread the love of alpacas!
I learned to knit first, struggled a bit but have been keeping at it. Then came spinning. Struggled some more but then one day this past Spring it just clicked! Or should I say clickity clack, clickity clack. That is the sound of myspinning wheel when I really get going!
My next step was felting! Whoa! I could do this and boy is it easy, messy and fun! I love to get my hands in the alpaca fleece, feel the luxury, the smoothness and fine fibers in my fingers. Felting is now my favorite handcraft. Every piece of felt I create whether it is a scarf, a wall hanging, or even a felted bar of soap is a unique creation.
Working with alpaca fleece in these different mediums has given me a wonderful, hands on approach to evaluate our breeding program on our farm. I want the world to enjoy this luxury fiber! I hope you discover it too!
Alpaca Collections strives to bring high quality apparel combining the ancient Peruvian textile tradition with a modern South American design ethic. The products we carry are made of natural fibers and fabrics, most of which come from the Alpaca animals or pima cotton raised or grown in Peru. Alpacas are beautiful, hearty animals able to withstand harsh environmental conditions and give seasons of amazingly soft wool, supporting their owners and their families for years. We want our business to be like the Alpacas: beautiful, sustainable, durable and giving back to our global family.
Brothers in spirit, Santiago and Craig, the two company founders, were born a few years apart in opposite ends of the Americas. One Latino, one Gringo; each raised with a deep appreciation of the mountains and the natural world; each educated by Jesuits and raised in small families.
Their paths crossed for the first time on a crisp fall day. Santiago was shooting hoops in Craig’s back yard. He was the new Peruvian exchange student attending Craig’s high school and now living at Craig’s house.
They stayed in touch over the years and across continents. They both returned to school for MBAs. The Gringo married a Latina and the Latino married a Gringa.
After all those years, they ended up living in the same city again. They started talking about going into business together, combining their experiences and relationships, creating a true American company that takes the best of the cultures and practices of North and South America. Born of their innate entrepreneurial optimism, Alpaca Collections is the result of those efforts.
We work closely with our friends at Incalpaca TPX, the Peruvian textile manufacturer that owns the Kuna brand. Their 30+ years of experience and expertise in Alpaca apparel are unsurpassed.
The Kuna brand is the culmination of thousands of years of Peruvian alpaca breeding and textile experience combined with generations of modern technology, apparel manufacturing expertise, and a deep respect of the natural world. The result is a marvelous expression of superior quality, high fashion, practical function and lasting durability.
Kuna is a division of Incalpaca, the leading alpaca apparel manufacturer in the world. Founded in 1979 as a logical extension of their yarn business Incatops, Incalpaca manufactures apparel and home products for the most prestigious brands in the world.
Traveling to Peru several times each year, Cristina works with manufacturers in small to medium-sized factories and cottage industries. The factories develop garments from the finest alpaca, pima cotton, and other natural fibers; these precious fibers are prized for their luxurious feel and lightweight warmth. Every facet of production is carefully considered, from dyeing the yarn to selecting beautiful buttons. Master artisans are employed at every stage in the manufacturing process, and many garments require hand-finishing. The resulting quality is a hallmark of Beyond Threads’ garments and their original “timeless classic” designs.
This year we are celebrating two decades of manufacturing in Peru. It is a country that has struggled with high poverty levels but has recently seen economic growth. We’ve created jobs and helped develop and grow many women-owned companies. In the U.S., we have established vital partnerships with Nordstrom, catalog companies, and our wholesale boutique customers, almost all of whom are small business owners.
Four years ago we opened our first Beyond Threads boutique location in the Historic Pike Place Market of Seattle, Washington. It was the opportunity to show our collection to the consumer, and it has been a wonderful experience to work directly with the actual women who support our product and wear our garments. This retail experience has given us the motivation and impulse to create a site directed to you our customer.
We are excited to continue designing and evolving our line to meet the needs of our customers. We thank all the people that enjoy wearing our products, they are all connected to the people in Peru making our garments. It’s a small world indeed, we are all connected.
Itala is a keen observer of life from which she draws her inspirations, as the sole designer of Itala Testino Collections. She often takes inspirations for her Collections from everyday life and her travels around the world. Itala has created a trademark style of classic and elegant with a modern twist. The Itala Testino Collections are mainly for women but the collections include a house line as well. Itala started in the fashion world in 1989 by opening the Boutique Pistache in Lima-Peru. The designer slowly launched into the fashion world by selling her own designs. Now the brand Itala Testino has been in the US and the world market for 8 consecutive years.
Her creations, that predominantly use the fine wool of the Alpaca camelid, allowed her to launch collections of unprecedented, elegance, with glamorous pieces that have conquered new horizons all over the world.
The company has deep environmental and social concerns, which are in a manner satisfied by its activities that, in addition to being ecologically correct, employ an important number of talented tailors and seamstresses from humble backgrounds who accompany us within this bold and creative project. These tailors would otherwise find it hard to find such well rewarded work in Bolivia’s present dire economy. Furthermore we also work with several charity groups such as “Aldeas Infantiles”, from which we’ve proudly taken several young people above the working age off the streets to work by our side and provide them with a better future.
Liliana Castellanos has been, from the beginning of her career as a designer, totally committed to firstly discovering and promoting the talents of the most needed people of Bolivia and secondly to use the natural materials of her country. When she came back to Bolivia after having worked for Ninna Ricci in Buenos Aires, she decided to cooperate with the women of Taxara. These Indian women live in a poor community near Tarija but are very talented in making an extraordinary fabric called “vayetta”. Liliana managed to develop her first collection with the material made by these women and organize her first exports from Bolivia to Germany. Some of these women stayed with Liliana and have been trained by national and international consultants brought by Liliana and now to her prestigious staff of tailors.
Liliana Castellanos is now committed to develop two new social projects: first, in cooperation with Arco Iris, a charity organization, to set up a production line to design and produce alpaca and llama sweaters with high international standards to be marketed in European and the United States by retail points that will be owned in part by the workers.
Her coats and jackets can be custom-ordered from a color chart, in sizes 2 18.
Immigrating to the USA from The Ukraine in 1980, Fariba first owned a hair salon before finding her passion in design apparel.
Her fabric is knot in a mill North Carolina and the pieces are sown in Los Angeles California.
AMAZING US PRODUCT --- AWESOME DESIGNER!!!!!
ecoSkin is the brainchild of industry veteran and founder, Sandy Skinner. Sandy has lived apparel for 17+ years, working in virtually every aspect of the industry from buying to managing operations to being President of a contemporary brand.
Over the years, Sandy recognized that the apparel industry could do much more to support a healthy environment. She also knew the industry could do more for contemporary women who wanted to live a responsible, green lifestyle but also wanted to look eco-chic and sexy.
In 2007, Sandy decided to act. Using her years of apparel experience and natural drive, she launched ecoSkin to make a positive difference for apparel customers and planet alike. The company took off like a rocket, proving Sandy rightwomen didn’t want to and didn’t need to choose between sexy-hip-chic and eco-friendly. They could be both!
“This is my passion,” Sandy says. “I am committed to making ecoSkin a successful company that I and the industry can be proud of.” She adds: “We are in our infancy with many aspects of eco-friendly apparel. Green technology and environmental standards are still evolving and quality raw materials and dyes are scarce. All of this is challenging but worth the effort. The more customers demand responsibly-produced eco-friendly products, the more the industry will demand responsible suppliers and the faster we will clean up our planet, making green living mainstream living.”
Alpacas produce one of the softest and most luxurious natural fibers in the world so soft and rare it was once reserved for royalty. Frequently compared to cashmere, the unique qualities of alpaca place it in a class of its own. Warmer and stronger than wool, alpaca fiber is hollow, making it very light with remarkable insulating and wicking qualities. All socks are machine washable and dryer proof. Alpaca products are a luxurious pleasure to both the eye and the touch.
Regardless of which Creekwater Alpaca sock you choose, you’ll be making a wise choice. Made from organic Alpaca fleece that’s 3x warmer than wool, each sock has been carefully crafted for your comfort.
I learned to spin yarn from fiber about 15 years ago. One afternoon in 2003, my family was looking for something to do for the day and we stumbled upon an alpaca show.
We had never seen an alpaca or heard much about them, and instantly fell in love with these beautiful gentle creatures. We purchased our first 4 alpacas, including two pregnant females, and our herd was started. My kids showed the alpacas at 4H events, and I started spinning their beautiful soft fleeces into yarn. We started attending farmers markets and craft shows to offer hand knit items made from high quality alpaca yarn. Although I no longer spin as much as I would like, I still hand knit every item so they are all original one of a kind items.
I especially enjoy making baby items and am able to do custom orders.
A line of clothing that blends the lightness of Baby Alpaca with airy Bamboo and Silk... and then pours it over the body into pools of ruffles and waves. Effortless, understated, noteworthy, flowing, grounded, feminine, tailored. This is the Surrey Collection of the Carriage Line. We have raised alpacas for 17 years and started the Enchanted Alpaca in 2008 to bring the amazing animal and heavenly fiber directly to the public Designing our own line was the result of customers asking for certain pieces in alpaca that we could not find. Our first effort took us to the fair trade mills on Peru, but now we are working with start up mills here in the US.
The Quechua Benefit
This Benefit continues to grow every year and expand services it brings -- always training the people of Peru to take care of themselves rather than make them dependent on us, in keeping with the strength and pride that has been theirs since time began. To make a donation: www.quechuabenefit.org.
The Sock Brigade
We have received donations to our Sock Brigade from all facets of our alpaca community. From the sock suppliers (Purely Alpaca, America’s Alpaca-AFCNA, and Creekwater Alpacas. One very special donation came from one of our local alpaca breeders who home-schools her three adopted children! They get money for their grades and have been taught to save and to give. These three kids donated $150 of THEIR own money to our Sock Brigade!! OVER 7000 PAIRS OF ALPACA SOCKS HAVE BEEN DONATED TO DATE!!
To Donate: www.bentstarproject.org and click on The Sock Brigade
The Alpaca Blanket Project
Currently, very few mills in the US have the ability to create woven textiles like these blankets. Most of our mini-mills in the US focus on turning fleece into yarn, and some are making knitted products like socks and scarves. As the alpaca industry has grown, we are now seeing more and more creative ways to process alpaca fiber into beautiful textiles. These Pendleton Alpaca Blankets are incredible -- take one home and send one as a gift!
Feeling appreciated and being able to be providers for their families is of utmost importance to these exceptional women. Just as we at Andes Gifts would like to thank you for your continued support, they would also like to say “gracias por darnos trabajo y esperanza, ”which translated means “thank you for giving us work and hope”. Purchasing Fair Trade products is a great way to change lives around the world.
After meeting the man of her dreams born and raised in Spokane, WA, Linda moved with him to Prosser, WA and retired teaching in the public sector and began her own school, assisting home schooling parents. Soon after, she developed multiple chemical sensitivity and began to explore complimentary medicine, as back in the 1980s, this illness was not yet recognized by the medical association. After experiencing many forms of complimentary healing techniques, Linda settled on Reflexology and Nutrition. As she recovered from her illness she and her husband Jim started a Reflexology and Nutritional Health Food Store called the Natural Maximum. During this time she completed her doctorate in Naturopathy, obtained her certification in the technique of Reflexology, and wrote a book called Walk or Ride into the 21st Century. She was interviewed on many radio talk shows on the topics in the book.
At the age of 60 she fell in love with the incredible energy of alpacas and she and Jim began to prepare their 5 acre farm for just three alpacas which would be a calming and healing effect on herself and clients. Only two years later she is now attending courses on alpaca health, fiber, and marketing fiber in order to use her skills in natural medicine and crochet to create natural fiber for the general public who visit her office and store. Her goals also are to make alpaca clothing and accessories available at a reasonable cost such as in the cotton industry. She wants alpaca fiber and clothing to become a household word both nationally and internationally. Linda currently teaches nutrition, reflexology continuing education, offers cooking classes, babies ten alpacas, and creates all original alpaca fiber projects. Linda does not use patterns so all of her hats, scarves, and shawls are one of a kind. Linda hopes to continue to supply the public with her beautiful creations which will last a lifetime. She and her husband have been together 30 years this April and plan to spend the rest of their life with their 10 alpacas, two dogs, and two cats at Natural Maximum Alpacas.
Angelo & Ursula Ponce
Since its inception, LANART has steadily gained a reputation for quality and integrity traits that are paramount in the Alpaca industry and a priority to us. These traits are backed by Angelo who has been personally involved in various aspects of the Alpaca industry for over twenty five years ranging from procurement and processing to retail and cooperatives. Angelo communicates this experience to the committed members of the LANART team and utilizes the same experience in building genuine relationships with his customers. Furthermore, Angelo’s industry knowledge has allowed solid business partnerships to be forged with customers to mutually expose more people to the beautiful luxury and diverse offerings of Alpaca fiber. Consequently, LANART prides itself on obtaining the majority of its business through referral.
Christina, her husband Douglas and their daughter Emma recently moved to Oregon with their performance group The Court of Allusions, after falling in love with the Columbia Gorge area while touring the west coast several years ago.
Christina is fascinated by art that inspires beauty and cultivates mindfulness of self. This fascination is reflected in her Earth Bound collection which seeks to excite both the eye and the mind with beauty, depth, and an air of mystique.
The inspiration behind both these designs is centered around the heart. The Spiraling Song necklace is formed to lay gently above the throat and over heart to serve as a gentle reminder to always speak and act with love.
Mementos have often been kept as a personal source of inspiration and can have the ability to be powerful calming, motivational, and spiritual representations of the ideals we hold most true. Locket L’Amour is made of a fine filigree to help you hold what you keep close to your heart. Locket L’Amour may also be used for aromatherapy by placing a few drops of essential oil onto small piece of cloth and tucking it inside with your mementos.
Christina is excited to be a part of the Columbia Gorge local artist community and hopes that the works of art she has created will bring as much joy and meaning to others as it brings her to create them.
Textures, color, and the deeper meaning of life are what inspire Margit the most. Ideaphoric, inventive, and resourceful, she frequently explores creative re-use and imaginative application of unusual materials. Her greatest source of artistic motivation comes during her walks and time spent in nature.
Many of Margit’s felt pieces have frayed fabric edges, holes, and tied knots with threads left uncut to enhance the earthy organic nature of wool felt. The pieces have an intentionally refined “unfinished” look for intrigue. Her current body of work encompasses adornment for women, including handbags and neck, shoulder, and wrist wear.
Brian’s wife Katina is from Peru, where she studied design in Lima and other parts of Peru. Katina designs 90% of all our sweaters as well as some of our other garments.
Our sweaters are not produced in a factory, they are hand knit in the homes of the master knitters. They are their own boss and they work at their own pace in their own setting.
The Enchanted Alpaca