Let’s talk about alpaca wool today. Alpaca wool yarn is a natural fiber that is harvested from an alpaca – South American camelid and resemble a small llama (see picture).
Alpacas are bred specifically for their quality fibers. They are grown in the heights of the Andes – in the southern Peru, northern Bolivia, Ecuador, and northern Chile. Although „alpaca wool“ in the textile industry refers to Peruvian alpaca yarns, nowadays this name can be used for other high quality fibers – such as mohair, Icelandic sheep wool, or even high-quality English wool.
Alpacas have been bred for hundreds of years in South America. They derive from vicunas – another camelids – that were domesticated by ancient Andean tribes and then bred into alpacas. In modern times alpacas were exported to other countries (e.g .New Zealand, USA, Australia) and now alpaca wool yarn can derive from there. As alpaca fleece quality varies, so varies alpaca wool prices. They are also influenced by all the factors that influence any other farm product, including market niche, geographic location and supply and demand.
Alpaca fiber is considered a luxurious one – it is very soft, silky and durable. It is warmer than sheep wool, not prickly, and has no lanolin, which makes it hypoallergenic – very important quality in nowadays world. As other types of wool, alpaca is naturally water-repellent and difficult to lignite. It can be light or heavy in weight (depends on how it is spun). Alpaca fibers come in many different natural shades, from black and white to grey, cream and all shades of brown.
Alpaca wool can be made into lots of products – from very simple handmade items, knit by aboriginal communities in Andes or by knitting lovers worldwide to sophisticated industrially made fashionable alpaca wool sweaters or suits. Baby alpaca wool yarn is used for babies and children garments and is loved by moms worldwide.
Here are some examples of products I find gorgeous and that are made of alpaca wool or a blend:
- 100% Stansborough alpaca wool mat from The PfeiferStudio,
- bright and soft alpaca wool blankets for babies from Remodelista,
- super-stylish alpaca blend cardigan from The Anthropologie.
Coming soon – a post about mohair wool!