Alpaca Pressing Mat and Ariel

We were asked if we would be willing to test out an alpaca pressing mat by Gail from Quilting Gail. She recommended us to Carmen from the Prairie Spirit Alpacas company and we were tickled pink! We have first-hand experience with alpaca wool and its wonderful properties. Plus, isn’t it just nice to be considered for such an honor? I very quickly replied to both Gail and Carmen with our address along with a big thank you!

Waiting On An Alpaca

After saying YES to Gail and Carmen, I did a bit of background snooping. Sue and I are in our element when asked to find details about anything, be it a potential mate (ask us about Andrea’s past boyfriends and current husband) or a potential business relationship. Let’s just say we like to go in with our eyes wide open. Being prepared never hurts! Prairie Spirit has MANY different alpaca products, ranging from socks and shoe liners to fabulous soft yarn. And dryer balls – has anyone ever used one??

While snooping perusing their website, I checked out their blog and the story about Ariel. Being a Little Mermaid fan, I had to read about sweet Ariel. A scary story that has a happy ending that is just like Disney, isn’t it?! Although, thankfully, a parent didn’t die as in most Disney movies. Anyway . . . after enjoying the happy ending, I read about the company, too. Interesting that alpaca wool doesn’t contain lanolin so the finishing process can be less harsh. I can’t stress enough how soft this product is. Sue’s brother was a quadriplegic and confined to a wheelchair for many years. We traveled to New Zealand and were able to purchase a couple of yards of woven alpaca wool. Booties for his feet were fashioned from the yardage. They were truly a lifesaver as they kept his feet warm and prevented sores from forming.

Alpaca Pressing Mat Arrives

I was thrilled to see the mat arrived – it’s fun to receive such happy mail. My plans were to be an ironing fool (yes, FOOL!) and knock out all of the pieces for the Two and Four QAL that have languished. I love to iron – it’s just so satisfying. But it’s so flippin’ hot lately. I’m not a huge fan of ironing when it is 100 degrees. I loved how the mat was gift-wrapped with a pretty ribbon (and baby Ariel’s picture, I’m guessing).

It was time to unwrap this gift and give it a test ride!

A Weekend Gift

We were blessed with a short cool down last weekend. Nights in the 50s and two whole days in the 70s with low humidity. It was just fabulous to be alive and a welcome chance to get into the sewing room! The pressing mat is approximately 12″ x 18″ so it fits nicely on my ironing board.

First, I ironed just a basic seam to get my sea legs. The piece is nice and flat, the pressing mat isn’t smelly and it doesn’t feel hot. I would say it is almost uneventful except that the sheep wool mat we have always emits an odor. Not unpleasant but always present so that I know when Sue is using her mat. Let’s try something else!

Next, I chose something that was wrinkled. And not just wrinkled, but a set-in wrinkle from being folded that way for an extended period of time. As you will see in the second photo, all traces of the wrinkles are gone. I didn’t use anything other than the iron and the pressing mat. I was impressed (more on what these pieces were for later this week)!

Recommend Alpaca Pressing Mat?

Would I recommend the Prairie Spirit Alpaca Pressing Mat? Yes, I would. In a heartbeat. Not only is Carmen very quick to respond to my email, but their shipment arrived quickly and undamaged. Also, the alpacas themselves are gentle animals willing to give their lanolin-free wool. Their wool has a low prickle factor while most (sheep) wool products are itchy! Additionally, I am intrigued by some of their other products! I would love to try the socks – my feet are ALWAYS cold. I wear bootie slippers in the summer. Also, the dryer ball – what are they supposed to do??!! I’ve heard of them but I don’t know anyone that has used them. Finally, I like to support local companies. While they are located in Canada, they are our North America neighbors – no tag that says made in China – and a family-run company. I do hope you check out their website!

***Update*** How to care for the Prairie Spirit Alpaca Pressing Mat

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11 Responses

  1. Chrisknits says:

    I made my own dryer balls by felting my wool. They do reduce static!! And I LOVE to knit with alpaca!!!! But dang it’s so warm, so it only gets worn when I’m really cold. LOL

  2. Hi Roseanne. Like you I am very impressed with these mats and I am ordering some socks and yarn. I love wool but have an allergic reaction to it, so I’m hoping the alpaca yarn will be easier to work with. As for me, I’m in the cold feet club, too. I use dryer balls instead of fabric softener or dryer sheets. Much better for the environment and so much less expensive since the dryer balls last for years. The clothes don’t get wrinkled, static is decreased, and my clothes dry faster since nothing knots up!

  3. Rochelle Summers says:

    My wool mat stinks so I hardly use it. I do wonder how the mats respond when spray starch is used. As for dryer balls, I’ve been using them for years. It seems to keep the clothes from getting in a knot. Occasionally, I find one stuck in a sleeve. They do not seem to soften the clothes or eliminate the static but then they are just sheep from New Zeland.

  4. Dawn Tornes says:

    I have a wool mat and it gives off a smell. Dryer balls os all I use to dry everything. They are supposed to be more efficient in drying. I like them. I do need to replace mine as they have been in use for many years. Ill look into alpaca dryer balls.

  5. They sound very useable. I do have my wool mat and it did give off that lanolin wool smell for ages but now its either gone or I don’t notice it. Hmm Alpaca are very sweet looking.Well I am snuggled up with a quilt and a wood fire and thick socks right now. Ironing these days is not a hazard!

  6. Hi Roseanne,
    To answer a few questions: The dryer balls live in the drier. They cut down on drying time and you don’t need to use any fabric softener or sheets! Love them!
    As for Brenda’s question: you shouldn’t use starch directly on the mat. I made a cover for mine and use it when I’m spraying best press or terial magic. You can spray water directly on the mat.
    Socks: I have several pairs of alpaca socks from Prairie Spirit. I LOVE them. I have cold feet ALL the time and they are a life-saver!
    Happy Quilting and Pressing! 🙂

  7. Kathy Harris says:

    I’ve used the alpaca dryer balls before and they do a nice job with the clothes. The baby alpaca is so cute.

  8. Kathleen McCormick says:

    I can’t wait to try mine – today I plan some half square triangles. Dryer balls are all I use. They go in the dryer and stay there. I use them instead of dryer sheets and mostly I use them to help prevent static.

  9. Great review, Roseanne! No odor is a great thing! To press those wrinkles out of your project with no spray of water or starch was very impressive! I wonder if you can use starch on it?? Inquiring minds want to know!

  10. Vicki in MN says:

    Great review, I am sure you will help sell many for them! My feet are generally cold, well maybe not the last few days with heat unless I am right on the AC vent, LOL

  11. Tracie says:

    We’ll, you convinced me! I have a very small wool mat to use with my travel iron and a larger one would be nice. However, I was afraid of odors. Hey, I’m part of the cold feet club too, and the socks are intriguing. I’m a fan of the Darn Tough brand. But I’m on the lookout for new slippers. Alpaca?

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