Have you ever wondered why even the expensive knits begin to pill and look horrible sooner or later? Even the expensive brands save costs in materials because it is not so easy to see the quality before actually wearing the clothes for some time.
Pilling happens when the surface of knitwear becomes fluffy and loose fibres catch with each other forming the pill-balls.
Pilling is caused by four main reasons: coarsiness, shortness and curliness of the fibre – and loose knitting!
All the wool fibres have scales on their surface. The bigger the scales, the more easily the fibres will lock with each other and start to pill. The fibres with bigger scales will also feel less comfortable on skin.
At Alpa in many of our garments we are using 100% alpaca wool. The alpaca wool is the smoothest surfaced fibres of all wool fibres. Thanks to this special fibre our knits feel very pleasant and are resistant to pilling.
When knit is made with cheap, short fiber, there will be a lot of loose fiber ends on the surface of the knit. More ends mean more pills. When looking at a knit in shop, try pulling a fiber out of the knit and see the length of it. Cheap knits may feel very nice in shop but will look horrible after a couple of days.
Alpaca wool is valuable and has very long fibres – single fibre can be even 5-10cm long.
The fibres will also be entangled because of curly fibre. From curly fibre (for example lambswool) it is easy to create volumous chunky sweaters, but the downside is excessive pilling.
(Alpaca wool is rather straight and slippery. Because of that it is very pill resistant but requires special knowledge in knitting and spinning the yarn.)
Alpaca fibre is smooth and straight
The more dense the knit is, the shorter is the fluffy surface of the knit. Short fibre ends cannot entangle with each other. Densely knitted poor quality fibre will be resistant to pilling but it will feel more rough against your skin. Poor quality knits are often knitted loosely and the pilling will occur shortly after purchase.
Examples of how Alpa® knits will age:
We personally test use every of our knit model. This is why we guarantee that every Alpa garment will age beautifully.