The Fibre of the Gods
Sold with CITES certification of origin
Named "The fibre of the gods" by the Incas, Vicuna is widely accepted as one of the most luxurious fibres in the world.
The vicuna is a relative of the Llama and Alpacas, two animals already well known for their soft wools. Living in Peru the vicuna isn't farmed or domesticated as most fleece giving animals are, being allowed to roam free range through the Andes mountain range. Actually, it's not really a case of allowing them........ The reason the animals aren't farmed is because they have an amazing skill for being able to escape! Instead the communities in which the herds graze organise a "Chaccu" every year. Locals form a long line over the hillside and drive the animals into a funnel of coloured ropes, which in turn lead into a corral. Once caught each animal is checked over and sheared, with just 200gms being taken from each.
The very fact that vicuna are so hard to domesticate led to severe decreases of their numbers in the past. Rather than go through all the time and effort of the chaccu it was easier simply to shoot the animal and take the fibre. Today all the fibre is associated to an international licensing scheme to ensure that every gram can be traced back to the source, ensuring the animals are treated fairly and local communities get a share of the income. Anyone buying vicuna from Wingham will receive a copy of this CITES license.
The fibre itself is the noil the short fibre left behind from the production of the combed tops, with a micron count of just 12.8! Because of this it requires an experianced spinner to produce a consistent yarn, however a small amount will go a long way. The pictures show a hank made from just 10gms in a handspun 2-ply yarn. Produced by Ruth Gough.
A suit made of vicuna would set you back a fair amount........ enough to buy a car or two. At £25,000 that's probably beyond the reach of most of us, but here's a chance to get your hands on one of the most wonderful fibres around... The Fibre of the Gods.