Making the rugs starts with shearing. Shearing is an essential welfare task. All alpacas, worldwide, are domesticated and need humans to help them deal with their fleeces. If they are not sheared, they can suffer fatal heat exhaustion and back trouble from the weight of the fleece. Shearing happens annually for huacaya alpacas, usually late Spring/early Summer. Hopefully by then it is not too cold at night, and the alpacas have time to regrow their fleece for Winter.
Our rugs are made from the fleece from the whole alpaca. When the fleece going to be spun into wool it has to be carefully separated at shearing. This involves a lot of crouching. After half a day helping the shearer, I was stiff and sore for a week; even though we didn’t separate the fleece this year. We packaged up all of the fleeces straight off the animals and sent them to Pocket House Studio on the Isle of Lewis. Pocket House Studio is a talented husband and wife team who take the raw fleece and hand weave it into beautiful organic rugs. Their ethos is to tread lightly on the earth. The spun yarn is washed with organic soap and air dried in the fresh Hebridean breezes.