At Silkeborg Uldspinderi, wool is our foundation. We have worked with wool for three generations. From the lightest and softest qualities to heavy and warm Scandinavian wool; as well as from raw wool to the finished product. Wool is a unique natural material. It provides insulation against both heat and cold, is naturally dirt-repellent, can hold lots of moisture without feeling wet and has antibacterial properties. It is flexible and has almost infinite possibilities depending on which type of wool you use and how it is processed on its way from the sheep to the finished product.
Once the sheep have been shorn, the wool is sent to be washed in order to remove any dirt and lanolin, which is wool’s natural, water-resistant grease. It is then carded. Carding disentangles the fibres and removes any impurities so that the fleece can be spun to yarns which – depending on how they are spun – can be used for weaving or knitting. A woollen jumper or plaid can be more or less “woolly” depending on whether the yarns are combed or just carded. Combing the garn removes the short, loose fibres; this results in a smoother, stronger and softer yarn.
If a woollen garment feels itchy on the skin, this is due to the short fibres that make the yarn shaggy. When the yarn is combed, the loose fibres are removed and the wool will therefore not feel so itchy. Furthermore, combed yarn will not have the same tendency to peel – i.e. to form small knots of tangled fibres on the surface. Wool insulates. It can keep you both cool and warm thanks to the fibres’ special structure, which is able to trap lots of air. It is the air in the textile that provides insulation, and a thin woollen plaid is therefore much warmer than a thicker one made of cotton, for example.
At Silkeborg Uldspinderi our focus begins on the raw wool so that we are always able to ensure that we can attain the desired quality that is then processed and transformed into throws and cushions of a quality that will last for many years.
We have a soft spot for the alpaca. The alpaca’s natural habitat is the roof of the world – in the Andes in South America, where it lives in great herds at an altitude of 3-5000 metres in a climate in which temperatures can fluctuate from minus 20 degrees to plus 30 degrees within a period of just 24 hours. Although it is related to the llama, the alpaca is an independent species descended from the vicuña, which lives in the wild. The alpaca has adapted to the Andes’ harsh climate with its fantastic thick coat that provides insulation against both heat and cold. Unlike sheep’s wool, which insulates by trapping a lot of air between the individual fibres, the alpaca fibres provide insulation because every fibre is hollow and filled with air, thus enabling a stable temperature to be maintained.
Technically-speaking, the coat of the alpaca does not consist of wool, but hair, which means that the fibres are smooth, supple and flexible. As a result, a plaid or a scarf of alpaca is attractive, soft and lustrous. Even very thin plaids are warm –and can be used by the majority of people who are allergic to wool. At Silkeborg Uldspinderi we work with alpaca from Peru, where the vast majority of the population of alpaca have their natural habitat. The skills of local artisans have been refined down through generations, thus enabling the raw fibres to be transformed into beautiful textiles of exceptional quality. We have therefore chosen to produce our alpaca products exclusively in Peru.
Alpaca is available in several different qualities. We have chosen to work solely with the finest qualities: Baby Alpaca and Premium Baby Alpaca in our throws, scarves and cushions. Quality is determined by how thin and fine each fibre is –and thus has nothing to do with the age of the animal. The fibres are sorted meticulously after shearing, with only the finest hairs being designated Premium. Premium alpaca has an almost silky feel and a special lustre; it is used for our most exclusive plaids.
Baby alpaca & wool
Wool and alpaca each have their own unique properties and we have chosen to combine in a number of soft, warm products. Wool and alpaca insulate against both heat and cold. Wool fibres provide volume and airiness, whilst the alpaca’s long, smooth fibres provide extraordinary softness and lightness. At Silkeborg Uldspinderi we have chosen to unite these two qualities in a number of wool and alpaca designs that combine the best of both worlds. The result is a quality which is lighter than that found in pure wool, but which is at the same time more woolly and airy than our pure alpaca series. Light, soft throws with an attractive appearance and lots of warmth.