Peter Connelly, owner and shearer of Pura Vida, returns from Montana to New Mexico, where he began his shearing business over a decade ago. Over the years, Connelly has honed his skills as a shearer not only on alpacas but buffalo, striving for total shearing efficiency for maximum fiber harvest while expressing kindness to the animals and their owners.
“Pura Vida Shearing sets the standard for alpaca shearing,” say Sandy and Lee Liggett, owners of Whispering Spirit Alpacas and Whispirit. “Peter and his handlers are trained in proper camelid handling techniques and shearing protocol. They lay each animal down gently on safety mats. Once the animal is prone he shears each animal calmly and efficiently.” Photos from last year’s shearing can be found here: http://bit.ly/1quJ2eA
The resulting fleece ‘blanket’ is then skirted (the process of removing sections of the fleece that are dirty, coarse, or contaminated), bagged and sent to a mill for batting. The returned batted fibers are then turned into beautiful fabrics by Whispirit’s FeltLOOM machine, suitable for construction into garments, hats, shawls, scarves and other accessories.
Whispirit debuted its Spring 2016 line of women’s jackets and accessories featuring new colors, designs and techniques on its revamped website in April. All Whispirit’s hand-made, award-winning designs are as close as possible to 100% grown, manufactured and assembled in the United States. Photos of select spring line designs can be found at www.whispirit.net or at this link: http://bit.ly/22d8q4v
Whispirit’s designs can be found at Albuquerque Alpacas, Mooncat Yarns and Artemisia Artwear in Taos, Handwoven Originals in Santa Fe, and Everything Alpaca in Castle Rock, Colorado. To shop the Whispirit collection, visit www.whispirit.net.
Whispirit creates unique, high-quality garments and accessories showcasing the pasture-to-closet nature of U.S. born and raised alpaca. Sandra Liggett’s simple, award-winning designs permit the beauty of the non-woven (non-knitted) alpaca fabric to shine as wearable, durable and useful art, requiring the same care as any natural wool garment.
Another goal is to take a step in bringing textile manufacturing and truly, totally, American made craftsmanship back to life in this country, creating or sustaining jobs in New Mexico. The Whispirit alpacas are born, raised and shorn in New Mexico. The batting mills are in Colorado and Washington. This unique felted fabric is loomed on our New Mexico ranch in the East Mountains. No patterns cut here then shipped elsewhere for assembly, either. Our seamstresses are local, too.