Alpacas do three things quite well; they eat, poop, and grow fiber. The fiber that they grow is harvested once a year on what is easily the worst day of an alpaca’s life (and consequently the alpaca rancher’s life as well) Shearing Day. At Starlight we refer to shearing day as a “SPIT HAPPENS” day. Tying down the alpaca with ropes attached to each leg the alpaca is denied his number one defense- RUN! leaving him with his number two defense- SPIT! With a sock over the alpaca’s mouth to contain probably the foulest smelling body fluid of all, the shearer removes the luxurious fiber. A team of ranch helpers quickly gather the fiber into two large bags- one for the blanket of the alpaca which is the prime fiber from the back of the animal and the other for the neck, legs and belly fiber called seconds. As the alpaca is led away the sock is removed carefully and discarded. This is an alpaca spit sock and is not to be confused with the alpaca sock you will buy online from us.
Once the fiber is collected and we have collected our wits, we clean the fiber by removing dirt and VM (vegetable matter) with a leaf blower. We then box up the fiber and ship it to the New England Alpaca Fiber Pool, NEAFP, and order products. NEAFP collects fiber from alpaca ranches throughout the US and processes it into alpaca products such as socks, gloves, hats, scarves and mittens. This allows alpaca fiber to go from ranch- to product- to your home.