In Q&A you can find answers to the most often asked questions about Frisenvang. If you can not find the answer here, please contact us on: mfrisenvang@os.dk

The alpacas and their owners

How often can you harvest the wool from an alpaca?

Cutting the wool from the alpacas is only done once a year. The wool is cut with a scissor the same way as cutting wool from a sheep. The cutting takes place in November, when the alpacas have developed a strong and rich fur over the winter (Peru has summer when it is winter in Europe).

How much yarn is produced from the wool of one alpaca?

The wool from one alpaca, does in average, create around 1,6 kg handspun yarn.

How are the living conditions of the alpacas in Marcapata?

The alpacas that produce the wool for the Frisenvang yarn live a quiet life in the highlands of the Marcapata region in the Andes. During the day they walk around freely. During the evening and night they find their own way home to the family that own them. Here they rest over night in a secure enclosure, due to the risk of wild animals and so their owners can make sure that they are all right.

How does the alpaca breeder harvest the wool from the alpacas?

The wool from an alpaca is cut with a scissor in the same way as cutting a sheep. The cutting takes place once a year in November when the winter wool is the thickest and the alpacas don’t need it (Peru has summer when it is winter in Europe). The cutting is not painful for the alpacas. The only uncomfortable part is that they do not like to be hold tightly.

For how long does the alpacas carry their outcomes?

A female alpaca is sexually mature when she turns 18 months. An alpaca carries its outcome for 11-13 months and can only get one foal at a time. The main parts of the outcomes are born in February.

How much does the alpaca owners earn when they produce the Frisenvang yarn?

The alpaca breeders sell the main part of the wool they produce to bigger Peruvian wool companies, due to not having other potential buyers. The earning is very little, due to the sales price being lower than the cost price. But, when the alpaca owners produce yarn for Frisenvang, they manage the whole production process themselves. They therefore earn the whole profit from the production of the yarn. The price the alpaca owners get from the Frisenvang yarn is 3-4 times higher than the price they get from the big Peruvian wool companies.

The Frisenvang yarn – Questions on products and quality

How is the Frisenvang yarn produced?

The Frisenvang yarn is produced in the region Marcapata in the Andes Mountains in Peru by organic/ecological principles. It is a time demanding process to produce handspun yarn by ecologic/organic principles:

– The alpacas are cut. Then the wool is watched thoroughly. The alpacas that produce the Frisenvang yarn, walk around freely in the highlands. The wool is therefore very dirty when it is harvested from the alpacas. The wool is sorted into three main qualities; Royal, baby and fleeche (also called alpaca).

– The wool is washed by hand to take away impurities as small stones, leaves, branches etc. It demands the eyes of an experienced woman around 10 hours work to clean the wool from one alpaca.

– Fredericio cards the wool in the old, used, but very effective carding machine. The alpaca breeders have collected money for a long time to be able to buy the machine. The thorough process of carding is one of the reasons behind the smooth structure of the Frisenvang yarn.

– The nature colored yarn (off-white, natural black, gray and brown colors) is now ready to get spun by hand.

– If the yarn has to be colored, it takes place in large vessels outside. The Frisenvang yarn is colored by plant colors. The colors are fixed with a crystal like stone and soda. This process is not as effective as industrially produced chemicals and the yarn does therefore give away a bit of color. You can read more about this under Why does the yarn give away color? The colored and thoroughly washed wool is dried outside. This is a process easily delayed in the rainy seasons of the year.

– The yarn is handspun in a small workshop in Marcapata. Sabina and her colleagues are incredibly good craft workers, who can spin the yarn both even and stable in structure. All the Frisenvang yarn is two-stringed and is therefore first made in one string and after worth the two strings are spun together into one.

– The yarn is bundled and a banderole is put on it.

Why is the quality of the Frisenvang yarn so high?

Fore and most the reason for the high quality of the Frisenvang yarn is due to the really skill full craft workers in Marcapata. The Peruvian alpaca wool is in general of a very high quality, which has something to do with the height that it is produced in. The wool used for the Frisenvang yarn comes from a region in the Andes Mountains at the height of 4000 m. Here the alpacas create strong, durable and thick wool with very long fibers. This gives the wool sudden characteristics:

– Softness
– Warmth, but without being uncomfortably isolating of heat, because the alpaca fur adapts to the seasonal changes with both cold winters, but also warm summers.

– Wool that does not lint, due to the long fibers in it.
– Slightly water repellent

How many strings does the Frisenvang yarn hold?

All our yarn is two-stringed.

Is the Frisenvang yarn colored?

 The nature colored Frisenvang yarn (The off-white, gray, natural black and brown colors) has the same colors as the alpacas that it comes from. The other colors are made from plant colors by ecological/organic dyeing methods.

How many meters of yarn is there in one bundle of Frisenvang yarn?

We offer two thicknesses of yarn. The thick yarn has a flow meter of 150-200 m in each bundle with 100 grams. The thin yarn has a flow meter of 350-400 meters in each bundle of 100 grams. All our yarn is handspun and the alpaca breeders do not have tools to mediate the exact flow meter of the yarn, which is why the flow meter in each bundle vary a bit.

Why does the plant colored yarn give away color?

Our assortment of plant colored yarn is produced by ecological/organic principles and without the use of industrially made chemicals to bind the colors. The alpaca breeders use soda and a crystal like stone to bind the colors. This process is not as effective to bind the colors as the industrial dyeing process. Therefore the yarn might give away a bit of color the first time the knitted product is washed. The knitted product might also loose a little bit of color when washed for the first time.

The naturally colored yarn (off-white, natural black, gray and the brown colors) has the natural colors from the alpaca and wont change or gives away color.


Good advice to reduce the risk of staining/giving away color

Wash the plant colored yarn, before it is used for knitting. This is done the easiest by washing the whole bundle and drying it, before it is winded. Wash the yarn in medium warm/cold water with a little bit of wool washing powder or use a soft shampoo for the hair. Wash the yarn in a running process and do not leave it to soak. Put a bit of vinaigrette in the last wash to bind the color better.
Be careful with the mix of white and plant colored yarn. We have not experienced that color has given away on other mixes of colors than the white yarn. The colors in the knitted products do not give away color when worn over clothes.

Why is there a difference in the colors of the Frisenvang yarn?

The nature colored yarn has the same color as the alpaca it comes from. Typically 7-8 alpacas deliver yarn for a production of off-white Frisenvang yarn. There can therefore, in the same delivery, be color differences and the difference can be even bigger from one delivery to another.

The plant colored yarn is produced individually from time to time and the colors are evaluated by eye. This means that there can be a difference between the colors in every production.

We therefore recommend always to buy a sufficient amount of yarn for every knitting project to not miss out on the exact color needed. We do also always take unused bundles of yarn back in return.

Is the Frisenvang yarn ecological/organic?

Our yarn is produced by ecological/organic principles, but the yarn does not have an ecological/organic certificate. See more in How is the Frisenvang produced?
The majority of the alpaca breeders are not able to read. The certification process would therefore be very complicated to fulfill. We do therefore in the first place focus on placing as many orders as possible in Marcapata, to support the community in creating better life conditions for themselves and their children, for example as better education for their children.

How should I wash my knitted product?

The alpaca wool has by it self a cleaning effect. It is therefore not needed to wash the knitted outcome very often. Hang out your clothes and let the air ventilate it for a few hours. Then it will normally appear almost as newly washed. We have clothes knitted in alpaca wool that have not needed to be washed after several years of use.
If the above is not enough, we recommend to hand wash the woolen clothes in medium warm/cold water. Always use wool washing powder or a soft shampoo for the hair. The woolen clothes need to lie down to dry on a towel. Due to the weight the clothes will go out of shape if dried hanging.