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 is 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.
Alpaca fleece has hollow fibres which make it excellent at regulating heat for the animal and makes it very warm for us. It is also hypoallergenic. Unlike sheep wool it does not have any lanolin oil so, is quicker to process as the oil doesn’t need washing out first. Our rugs are the natural alpaca colours with no dyeing or other chemicals used. They are soft, hypoallergenic and versatile.
The rugs measure 30” wide by 50” long and are the perfect size to have by a fireside, throw over a sofa or to warm your feet on a bedroom floor. The dogs love their fireside rug, they just wouldn’t sit still for the photograph! All the rugs are fully reversible except Chocolate Ripple.
There are many weighted blankets on the market now which are reputed to help anxiety. Whilst I have no knowledge of how scientific this is if you are looking for a weighted blanket for a bed at 4kgs these should do the trick.