Alpaca fiber is considered some of the finest in the world. It is incredibly durable, with one of the highest tensile strengths of any natural fiber. Alpaca's unique semi-hollow core gives it an insulating softness that captures heat and ensures coziness. With minimal lanolin and other oils, it is hypoallergenic and can often be worn by people who are allergic to wool. Alpaca produce 22 tones of natural color ranging from greys and whites to rich browns. Due to the range of color, there is little need for dyeing.
Cashmere has notable thermal regulating properties, with the ability to take up to 40% percent of its weight in moisture without feeling damp. The fibers are extremely fine and despite weighing 10 times less than wool, are actually warmer. Our cashmere comes from the absolute finest quality fibers, and is hand woven on traditional looms by the discerning hands of local craftsmen. Length and fineness of the fibers chosen are what distinguish cashmere qualities. Our scarves and wraps are made with longer, thinner fibers, ensuring they pill less and maintain their shape better than lower quality cashmere. You can feel the difference.
We source pestemals that are hand woven from 100% organic cotton, which grow more absorbent with each wash. Unlike the cotton we use, commercially processed cotton is treated with chemicals to “break it in” reducing absorbency. Organic cotton must be naturally “broken in” with time, use, and washing. Once broken in (after 3-4 washes), it is far softer and more absorbent than traditional cotton. Our pestemals are incredibly soft. They are fashioned from high quality organic cotton, and grow softer with each wash. Because they are made of organic cotton, they require no fabric softener to retain their softness; it is inherent in the fabric.
The chaguar plant is found in the Chaco forest in Argentina. It resembles the yucca, with sword-shaped evergreen leaves growing to roughly 3 feet high. It is the Wichi women who have mastered the skills needed to obtain the chaguar fiber from its tough leaves. The leaves are soaked in water to soften, and pounded until the fibers are exposed, washed and hung on branches to dry. When dry, the fibers are worked into threads by rubbing them together on the thigh, previously coated with ash to ease the task. These threads are later dyed with natural pigment obtained from forest plants, in colors ranging from bright yellow to blue and black. The dyed fibers are then woven into our beautiful baskets and cushion covers either using a needle or simple hand looms.
Linen has an incredibly rich history and has been used in woven textiles for thousands of years. A favorite of the ancient Egyptians, linen is sourced from the flax plant. Post-harvest, flax reeds are left in the fields to decompose, revealing soft fibers beneath a tough outer stem. These fibers are then collected and stored to soften further before being spun into linen. Thicker and stronger than cotton, linen maintains the breathability of cotton with the added benefit of a beautiful drape. Plus, linen is lightweight, resistant to pilling, and will keep its strength through repeated washings.
On the Altiplano (high plain) llama fleece has been annually shorn by native Andeans, and used in various textiles for thousands of years, with no harm to the animals. The llama is an inherent part of the ecology of this region and as they graze on native plants, they help restore the natural habitat after centuries of overgrazing by sheep. Llama wool is naturally durable, hypoallergenic and antimicrobial. It contains no lanolin and no chemical agents are ever used in processing. The natural fiber comes in many different colors ranging from white or grey to reddish-brown, brown, dark brown and black.
Prized for their incredibly soft coat, which produce wool of incomparable softness and warmth, the merino sheep are one of the most ancient sheep breeds. The merino wool used in the pieces we carry are sourced from the heights of the Patagonian Andes. Rest assured the wool we use comes from sheep never exposed to the practice of mulesing. Merino wool does not have the coarse, itchy feel of standard wool because the merino fibers are much finer than standard sheep’s wool. Like most wools, merino contains lanolin, which has antibacterial properties, but unlike "traditional" wool, merino is much finer and softer. Merino fibers have a low micron count of 21- 24. The higher the count, the rougher the fiber, and 24 and below are the very softest.
When it comes to Yak, we work exclusively with Norlha to bring you the absolute gold standard. Khullu (the under-layer) is an astonishing fiber when spun. The dense, soft feel is likened to cashmere with zero itchiness. Remarkably, yak wool is almost twice as warm as merino. Take a second to consider the merino sheep grazing around 3000 feet, while yak thrive at roughly 16,000 feet. The yak wool is sourced directly from the herder communities of the Gannon Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture each spring when the yak naturally shed their fine, silky winter khullu. If the herders didn’t gather the wool, it would simply fall off, so no harm is done to the generous animals. The fiber is collected by hand, cleaned, hand spun and woven locally into the incredibly luxurious blankets and ponchos we bring to you.