Alpaca fibre

 

Alpaca has several advantages over sheep fleece.  It is soft, fine and lustrous.  It is hypo-allergenic, so no itch factor.  It has virtually no lanolin therefore, a non greasy product.  It s also a hollow fibre making it very light with great insulating properties, warm in winter and cool in summer.

Fleece is available in 2 natural colours and varies in thickness from 15 to 30 microns.  The weight of a fleece will also vary from approximately one to four kilos.  These are average figures; there will be many fleeces outside the parameters.

Alpaca wooll scarf

Alpaca wool scarf

Aim of the breeder

 

The aim of breeders is to eliminate guard hair which causes itchiness; increases fleece density without compromising the fineness and create a soft “handle” or feel to the overall fleece.  How is it done?  Hopefully by better and better breeding.  Buying or breeding high quality breeding females and/or potential stud boys.  It’s a very slow process but it can be done!

 

Types of alpacas

There are 2 types of alpaca; firstly the huacayas are the fluffy teddy bears of the breed with a 2 – 6 inch crimp fleece that is short annually.  Suris are sleek alpacas with a 3 - 18 inch fleece that hangs in long silky dreadlocks.  Suris are normally sheared every second year but two year old fleeces are too long for processing by machines at the mill, so it makes more sense to shear annually.

 

What to do with alpaca fibre

 

A highly prized fibre at the luxury end of the market, alpaca knitting wool in natural shades of cream fawn brown grey and black 4 ply alpaca yarn in 50 gram skeins, all produced from our own alpacas. This soft strong hypoallergenic fibre knits beautifully and is suitable for everyone, especially those folk with sensitive skin. Locally produced on our alpaca farm in the Teign Valley, Devon, our alpaca wool has several advantages over sheep wool. It is soft, fine and lustrous. It is hypo-allergenic, so no itch factor. It has virtually no lanolin therefore, a non greasy product. It is also a hollow fibre making it very light with great insulating properties, warm in winter and cool in summer. It is a highly prized fibre at the luxury end of the market. Classed as one of the “3 Noble Fibres” together with cashmere and mohair. It is suitable for knitting, crotcheting and machine knitting. It makes wonderful garments, both inner and outer. Socks are a particular favourite with walkers, skiers and good enough for the arctic!