Guanacos are a member of the camelid family, living
typically high in the Andes Mountains of South America. Because of the value
of their fiber they are a protected species. Wild cousins of the domestic
llama and alpaca, as well as the
vicuna, the guanaco's natural range lies between
northern Peru to the southernmost tip of Chile. Now numbering over 1 million,
and protected by the government of Chile, the guanaco roams mostly in the
Torres del Paine National Park. This tiny animal produces extremely soft,
downy fiber that is surprisingly easy to spin.
Guanacos have a double coat similar to
cashmere; the under coat is a fine fiber one
of the finest natural fibers in the world, and boasts a uniform and very
pale camel color. The outer coat consists of much coarser fibers, guard
hairs, these are a much darker cinnamon (the belly and neck contain white
guard hairs) and act to keep debris and moisture out. Guanaco fiber must
go through the dehairing process which removes these coarser guard hairs
and leaves the downy undercoat which is the valued part of the fleece. The
average weight of fleeces is about 750 grams although some breeders have
some guanaco that produce nearly 2 kilos. The fleece of the Guanaco is technically
made up of hairs with a medullated core and should therefore be called fiber
not wool. The processing to remove the guard hair and the (generally) lighter
coat, as well as the scarcity of guanacos outside of South America all lead
to the premium price of this fiber. Of all the world's furbearing animals
the guanaco's wool is second only in fineness to that of its wild cousin,
Farms: Crown Mountain Farms is located in the countryside outside of
Yelm, WA on a 5.5 acre farm. From top of the hill they have an outstanding
view of the majestic Mount Rainier. In the past years they were raising
Scottish Highland Cattle, Cashgora Goats and Shetland Sheep. From raising
animals for their fiber came the appreciation and the inspiration to offer
exquisite spinning and knitting products. This they did first by travelling
to fiber related shows in the Pacific Northwest. In 2005 they expanded the
business with their own website. Under the "wings" of Crown Mountain
Farms you will find many artists and their products represented through
them. In 2006 they started adding handspinners to their team to produce
their own line of hand-dyed, hand-spun sock yarn which led ultimately to
offer also hand-spun exotic yarns. From raising fiber animals to the finished
product, Crown Mountain Farms is a "living philosophy" and you
will find their love for what they are doing reflected in the service they
give to their customers. They sell Guanacos fiber among others.
GuenGuel: a family owned company in Patagonia Argentina, whose owners,
the Mazquiaran family, are third generation sheep-raisers. Guenguel was
born when this family decided to look for diversity. Guenguel is principally
oreiented to the foreseeable and sustainable production of Guanaco fiber,
as a complement to the production of extra fine and fine Merino Wool. Guenguel's
most innovative line is related with the rational management and sustainable
use of Guanaco. The Guanaco is a wild camelidae originally from Pantagonia.
It possesses a well known high quality fiber for the textile industry, used
for the confection of valuable garments. Guenguel produces and offers natural
fibers to the world, transformed in garments of Patagonian quality and warmth.
Fibers: small company selling Guanaco fiber
from their small herd. They live in the Sacramento Valley of Northern California
on about 10 acres. Their newest ventures are the farm store, Royal Fibers,
and their investment in and small herd of Guanacos.
If you know more suppliers of Guanaco
fiber, please let us know.
Learn more about Guanaco and other textile relevant
issues at the fashion
industry network. The Fashion Industry Network
is a great place to learn about fibers and fashion.
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