Alpaca suri: the finest of yarns
One of the most prestigious yarns in the world is certainly the alpaca suri. It is a very soft, waterproof alpaca wool that keeps you warm during the cold seasons. The suri variety is very rare: the suri alpacas make up 5% of the alpaca population in the world, for example in the United Kingdom there are only 2,000 suri alpacas registered.
A therefore rare yarn which also owes its fame to its intrinsic characteristics and which make it one of the most sought after in the world, for this reason the suri alpaca fabric often has a higher price than the traditional one. Let's see together what suri alpaca is and what are the main characteristics that can be obtained from its yarn.
What is suri alpaca?
The suri alpaca is a member of the camelid family which includes the llama, the alpaca huacaya, the guanaco and also the < strong>camel. The alpaca is an animal native to the Andean plateau and mountains of South America. There are two different types of alpacas: Huacaya and Suri. The fiber of the Huacaya alpaca is very similar to a dense, soft and curly sheep. On the contrary, the suri alpaca has a long and silky fiber, which forms locks very similar to dreadlocks.
The fleece of the suri alpaca is fine and dense, soft and fresh to the touch. Perhaps for these reasons it is one of the most sought-after fibers in the world and is also widely used by Italian fashion houses and not only to create refined garments and luxury clothing such as sweaters, coats and interior design fabrics.</p >
The suri alpaca is genetically dominant so crossing a suri with a huacaya always results in a suri. Looking at them, the Suri alpacas have a fleece hanging from the body, which moves freely and gives the alpaca a shiny appearance: the main sign of quality in a Suri is its gloss, but the animal should also have a fine, dense, unctuous pile that should be cool to the touch.
The suri variety has a rich cultural history: originally the Incas raised this animal from wool with a fine and soft fiber, but in 1500 90% of the alpacas were killed by the Spanish invasion and replaced by European cattle. So the alpacas and their shepherds withdrew to the Andean mountains to escape the conquerors and escape the genocide even if unfortunately the climate in the mountains was not the best for these animals and many of them died.
At the beginning of the 1900s alpaca breeding revived precisely because of the rediscovered beauty in the fibers and over time the suri alpacas began to build up a good resistance against high temperatures, adapting perfectly to colder areas.
Suri alpaca farms
Today suri alpacas are bred in many areas of the world, from Great Britain to Australia and up to New Zealand, while in Chile is home to a large part of the alpaca population. Today the suri alpaca is a completely domesticated animal, it is an easy breed to take care of even if it could be a shy and shy animal, but one that knows how to be a good pet.
Alpaca farmers have used selective breeding techniques over time to improve animal nutrition and care and have made significant progress with the quality of the suri bloodlines and the fibers they are able to generate.</p >
The thermal properties of the suri alpaca fabric are among the most amazing and sought after. The alpacas are sheared once a year following manual and delicate methods so as not to compromise the quality of the fiber and to safeguard the animal. Furthermore, shearing helps the alpaca not suffer too much from the heat during the summer months.
The main properties of suri alpaca fibers
The fibers obtained from the suri alpaca have unique properties that also make them more expensive than other alpaca breeds. On the skin, the suri alpaca fiber leaves an indescribable feeling of freshness and softness, almost comparable to cashmere. It is generally warmer than wool and has the sheen of silk. Furthermore, the suri alpaca fibers are partially hollow and with these it is possible to produce light garments with excellent thermal properties since the processed product is fine, soft and warm.
The shades of the suri alpaca vary from white to beige with gray and sometimes even pinkish shades. Some have called this yarn "wool of the Gods" a name that refers to the high quality of the suri alpaca fibers that fall within a medium-high price range. Suri have up to 22 natural shades including white, pink, brown, gray and black.
Suri alpaca wool does not contain lanolin and is therefore hypoallergenic; furthermore, no chemical substances are used in the processing of this yarn and this allows the fiber to remain as natural as possible. Suri alpaca fibers therefore have some properties that make them unique:
- - Increased breathability;
- - Ability to absorb body moisture;
- - Naturally windproof;
- - Fireproof;
- - Low static;
- - Odor resistant;
- - Completely natural and biodegradable.
How do you get the suri alpaca yarn?
The suri alpaca fiber is long and fine and requires a wash to remove dirt residues and the thin layer of lanolin present and a combing phase: the fiber, in fact, is very similar to hair and for to keep all the qualities it must be worked with care and with very careful manual work.
After washing, the yarn is air dried. The entire process of obtaining suri alpaca wool is ethical and completely handmade: even shaving is in fact carried out in this way with an electric hand razor. The shaving process must be very delicate and at the same time hasty to cause the least possible stress to the animals which are often more frightened by the noise of the razor than by the shaving itself. The treatment is so gentle that even pregnant alpacas can be sheared without any problems. Even before shaving, the animals are grouped according to the color of the fleece, then the carding and sorting phase takes place, which women in South America often perform without the aid of machines.
Finally, it is the twist that generates the actual fibers that gives the wool its final strength. From this moment on, the magic happens: there are many garments that can be made with suri alpaca wool, one of the most beautiful and precious textile materials in the world.
Suri alpaca coats
In our collection of wool coats we can include the timeless:
Their composition varies between 75/80% suri alpaca wool and 25/20% virgin wool. It is thus characterized by a soft and waterproof which keeps you warm during the winter months.