Greetings from the alpacas (and their owners) of Whispirit!
Our mission is to showcase our U.S. born and raised alpaca as a barn-to-closet creator of unique, luxurious, hand-made & hand-sewn, high-quality apparel. We bring the highest quality felted (not knitted) alpaca fiber wearables to discerning consumers from our ranch, studio and workshop in the mountains of Central New Mexico.
Read about Whispirit in Local Flavor Magazine.
It All Starts With the Alpacas
Whispirit is the product line from our Whispering Spirit Alpacas Ranch located in the foothills of the Sandia Mountains in New Mexico.
We started Whispering Spirit Alpacas, having fallen in love with these gentle creatures with amazing, soft, strong and colorful fiber.
Alpacas were allowed to be imported into the States from South America in the middle 1970s. We can trace the lineage of our thirty two North American born alpacas to their lineage in South America. But we think it is more important that we have selectively bred for softness, handle, color, strength and consistency of fibers. Why? Because we believe these USA alpacas, with the intentional feeding and breeding programs, produce a worthy fiber that rivals that of the traditional South American alpaca fibers. Read more about our herd and our ranch, here.
A Special Kind of Fabric
We create fabrics that startle people. Most fiber lovers believe they know what to expect when they are told that a fabric is felted. It is bulky and bumpy. Yet ours is sheer, drapey, so unexpectedly light weight. The secret? The fabric is made by needlefelting a sheer silk or cotton gauze with a cobweb like batt of alpaca. We do this, without any water, using our mechanized FeltLOOM. This mechanized needling machine was designed, patented and produced by an ingenious farming couple in Kentucky. The FeltLOOM’s over 900 barbed needles push and pull natural fibers into a solid piece of durable, lightweight cloth.
We’ve been told, “you can’t get a high-quality American made alpaca garment.” Nonsense! We think you’ll agree that Whispirit has created exactly that. And, we are eco-friendly, sustainable and imaginative. Whispirit is a no kill operation. All of our business is conducted in the US and as much as possible within 30 miles of our ranch. We know our alpacas names, as well as the names of the people who sheer our alpacas, mill our fiber, make our fabric, sew our apparel and sell our finished products. No patterns cut here then shipped elsewhere for assembly, either. We the owners are personally involved in every aspect of the production and we guarantee our work.
Founders Willing to Walk Into Uncharted Waters
Whispirit is a family owned small fabric and apparel business created by Sandy and Lee Liggett. It is a part of Whispering Spirit Alpacas LLC.
Sandy and Lee have been married for 25 years and during that time raised two boys and practiced law in Houston and New Mexico. They laugh at how much of their lives they have been in uncharted waters. That’s what exhilarated them in their legal careers and how they raised their kids. They moved to New Mexico hoping to find encore careers that would create something new. And, they think they have. Their efforts to create fabric and apparel here in the US out of US alpaca simply has no footprint to follow.
The Whispirit line began as a dream … a whisper .. when they discovered the FeltLOOM, a mechanized way of performing a laborious needling process to create felt. They realized that FeltLOOM, with its hundreds of barbed needles and 60″ platform, would permit them to make yards of felted fabric. Both Sandy and Lee learned different techniques to create their imaginative fabric.
They each bring different skills to the business, but collaboration and commitment to continuous improvement is the core of their enterprise.
They both hung up their legal spurs when the Whispirit line began to become a reality.