Monthly Archives: July 2014

Prince George Celebrates 1st Birthday

Prince George, the first son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge or to those who are on more affectionate terms, Prince William and Kate Middleton, has celebrated his 1st birthday and there’s no sign of his popularity wavering!

Those who work alongside the Royal family have apparently disclosed the young Prince has received more than 4,000 gifts since his birth ranging from the more usual presents for babies including clothes, toys and blankets to some which may require a little more of an acquired taste, such as Aston Villa paraphernalia and a fattened bull?!

Of course, being a future King brings about its own responsibilities for other members of state and Royalty throughout the world as they recognise the importance of his birth and subsequently, his first birthday with some unusual gifts to say the least! A crocodile has been named after the Prince which has been given by the chief minister of Australia’s Northern Territory. Due to the complications involved in transporting such hostile presents, it now officially belongs Prince George and remains in Australia. The fattened bull which given to the Prince the Samburu people of Kenya who donated it along with a goat. The Lewa Wildlife Conservancy has said that the bull will be used to start a new “royal herd”.

Prince George’s Clothes

The vast majority of gifts the Duke and Duchess receive for Prince George are passed on to children’s charities especially toys, whilst some of the clothes Prince William and Kate are given for George are kept. We, at Plum of London very much hope that our signature piece, the Royal alpaca cardigan along with the Royal alpaca basket weave V-neck sweater will be amongst those clothes which they’ve received and would like to keep for Prince George. After all, we’re extremely proud of our British knitwear heritage which when combined with what we feel is the best quality yarn in which to clothe children, Royal alpaca is a force which can’t be matched let alone surpassed.

The trip in aid of Prince George’s birthday which his parents treated the young Prince to was quite an inspired choice too – a visit to the Natural History Museum of which the Duchess is patron. Aside from a lucky escape a blue morpho butterfly experienced, the trip was a great success. We do though hope that unlike the morpho butterfly, the young Prince will have no similar experiences as he rises up to the challenge of becoming King.



The Incredible Attributes of Alpaca Fibre

Why Alpaca?

Alpaca fibre has an almost infinite benefits and advantages over all other yarns;

Alpaca is hypoallergenic

Unlike sheep and goats wool, alpaca fibre does not contain lanolin (a natural oil that sheep and goats produce to improve water resistance). Plum of London’s knitwear range is made using pure (100%) alpaca ensuring that our collection is especially good for babies, children and those with sensitive skin.

Alpaca is extremely durable

Alpaca is truly phenomenal and almost indestructible: woven alpaca clothing has recently been found in almost perfect condition in Incan ruins dating back over 2,000 years. Alpaca is stronger than mohair and only second in strength to silk.

Alpaca is as soft yet finer than cashmere

Royal alpaca (which is used in our knitted clothing range) is the world’s finest alpaca yarn and boasts a micron count of less than 17. This results in alpaca knitwear that handles just as softly as cashmere but possesses so many more benefits.

Alpaca is naturally antibacterial

Thanks to no lanolin being present in alpaca fibre, pure alpaca clothing and garments repel dust mites and other organic matter which might trigger allergies.
Alpaca lacks the ‘prickle factor’ associated with wool
This risk is eradicated in our collection because we use only Royal Alpaca in our knitted range. It has been said that those who can’t even wear cashmere can wear alpaca.

Alpaca possess excellent thermal qualities

Properties which protect and insulate the alpaca at heights of up to 5500m and in temperatures varying from -28c in the winter to +27C in the summer mean that pure alpaca clothing (as used in Plum of London’s knitwear range) keeps the wearer not only cool in hot temperatures but also warm in cold conditions. Alpaca fleece is actually 3 times warmer than merino and better insulating than goose down, when required.

Alpaca is machine washable!

Some fabric experts suggest alpaca has a lower tendency to shrink than both cashmere and wool, which in part, is thanks to alpaca ffibre being water repellent. Due to alpaca lacking any lanolin content, Plum of London’s knitted garments don’t require regular cleaning, but when required, they are easy to clean and more importantly, machine washable!

Alpaca wicks away body moisture

Therefore improving the comfort of anyone wearing alpaca clothing and ensuring that the wearer maintains a constant body temperature at all times.

Alpaca is resistant to stains

Alpaca fibre is impermeable to oils which mean spills are easy to clean up before water saturates the fibre which otherwise would allow stains to develop. This therefore supports the claim that there is no better yarn in which to clothe babies and children.

Alpaca is resistant to odours

Thanks to its antibacterial and water resistant qualities, alpaca fibre successfully resists odours much better than other similar fibres.

Alpaca does not retain water

Alpaca clothing maintains its thermal qualities even when wet as tests have shown that alpaca is virtually water repellent. This also improves the cleaning and stain resistant qualities of our alpaca range.

Alpaca is not prone to ‘pill and ball’ unlike cashmere, wool and other yarns

All animal fibres contain ‘scales’ which are visible on each individual strand but the scales that are found on alpaca fibre are much shorter than on any other. This improves the wear-ability and lifespan of alpaca clothing and products as they are less likely to interlock which creates the ‘pilling’ and ‘balling’ effects.

Alpaca is lightweight and has lustrous handling

Mainly thanks to the ‘hollow’ qualities of alpaca fibre, Plum of London’s garments remain remarkably light when compared to other similar animal fibre (including merino, wool and cashmere) as well as other synthetic clothing.

Alpaca is resistant to wrinkling

Consequently, this helps alpaca garments to hold their shape and look new even after years of wear which is thanks to the natural drape, lustre and durability of alpaca clothing.

Alpaca is fire resistant

Whilst it can catch alight, alpaca will not support a flame and so will not melt or stick to the skin unlike synthetic fibres. Alpaca does not have to be treated to become flame retardant and it has been found that it is more flame retardant than even merino wool.

Alpaca is resistant to solar radiation

Which will protect your baby’s, child’s or indeed even your own skin from harmful UV rays by providing the wearer with a natural sun block.

Caring For Your Alpaca Knitwear & Woven Accessories

Washing Alpaca Clothing and Accessories

For the first time in nearly 200 years (since the days of Sir Titus Salt), we’ve been able to manufacture alpaca knitwear and woven products in Britain on a scale and in a way that has not been seen before. This is a milestone we’re obviously very proud of but consequently, we realise that not many people are fully aware of how best to care for their alpaca garments. We therefore thought it wise to offer a little information here, on our Plum of London blog otherwise known as ‘Plum Life’, to explain how you can achieve the optimum lifespan of your alpaca clothing and accessories.

Washing Instructions:   Alpaca is different, but in a very, very good way…

As already mentioned under the ‘Why Alpaca’ section on our website, all alpaca clothing and accessories require less cleaning than cashmere, merino and wool thanks to its many qualities and attributes.

–     Alpaca does not contain lanolin (unlike cashmere, wool or merino), which is why our alpaca clothing is the perfect choice for babies and those with sensitive skin (people who can’t wear cashmere can wear alpaca!). This also means that our alpaca garments require less cleaning than products made using wool from goats and sheep.

–     The nature of alpaca fibre reduces static electricity which in turn, reduces the amount of mites, dust and dirt which can be found in woollen products so thankfully, you won’t need to wash it as often as other knitwear and woven pieces!

–     Have you ever found a piece of clothing which is resistant to stains? No, well, you have now! Alpaca boasts a quality that all parents and knitwear aficionados will be pleased to hear- it is impermeable to oils and will therefore look newer for longer.

–     Thanks to its water resistant qualities, it is very unlikely that alpaca garments will ever shrink. In fact, industry experts claim that alpaca has a much lower tendency to shrink than cashmere, merino and wool.

You’ll be pleased to hear that our alpaca knitwear can be machine washed! We recommend washing it on a cool 30 degree cycle after which it can be hung dry. Although we expect the prospect of machine washing alpaca knitwear will be the most appealing, our knitted and woven

alpaca garments can of course be hand washed and dry-cleaned too. If you prefer employing the latter, we advise using a mild, chemical free detergent, after all, we wouldn’t want you to counteract the incredible ethical and eco-friendly qualities that alpaca clothing offers!

Woven Alpaca

We recommend professionally dry cleaning our garments made of pure woven alpaca.

Keeping Your Alpaca Free From Moths

As incredibly amazing as alpaca is, like all natural fibres, unfortunately it is not immune to moths. There are a variety of ways to combat the threat of them but the most effective is to prevent their arrival in the first place.

–     Preventative actions will always be preferred to a cure so with this in mind, keeping your wardrobes, cupboards and drawers clean will certainly help. Cleaning them out on a regular basis should become second nature.

–     Always wash your clothes before putting them away. Food, sweat and even hair attract moths which makes it more likely for them to set up home in which to hatch their eggs.
Clothes which have been dry cleaned will deter moths as they dislike the smell. If you intend to store your alpaca clothing and accessories for an extended period of time, we’d advise storing them in a zip plastic bag and rest in a clean cupboard until you next choose to wear them.

–     All moths want to do when they find a suitable place to hatch their eggs is to be left undisturbed in the dark for about 20 days. Much like vampires, they hate daylight and in fact, any light for that matter. For this reason, we’d recommend opening your cupboards every month to remove your clothing and shake each piece individually, ensuring that you turn them inside out to be sure that no moths remain. Ideally, airing your clothes in the full sun would be best as the natural light will repel the larvae.

–     Traditional anti moth products also work well although fortunately the traditional moth balls which have been used by former generations have been replaced by those which offer a more amenable scent, at least to the human nose! This includes cedar, clove, rosemary and lavender products which come in a wide range of styles and shapes. Place these in your drawers or in your hangers to deter the moths.

–     As surprising as it may sound, freezing out moths is a method that also works well. Enclose your alpaca product in a plastic bag, leave it in the freezer overnight and then allow it to defrost slowly.