So, what is an alpaca?
Well, an alpaca is a camelid from South America, related to Camels, Llamas and the wild Vicuña. Alpacas are not big enough to be used as pack animals, so instead they are bread for their fleece and meat.
The coats of Alpacas grow naturally in over 40 different shades, ranging from white to black with a vast array of greys and browns in between. White alpacas were originally bred to allow the Incas to dye the fibre a range of colours, and the yarn takes dye incredibly well.
There are 2 types of alpaca, the Suri and the Huacaya.
The Suri Alpaca
The Suri Alpaca has silky, pencil like locks and are prized for their longer, silkier fibres. The fibre grows parallel to the body and has no crimp. As the wool grows it resembles dreadlocks, but no matting of the fibres occurs.
The Huacaya Alpaca
The Huacaya produces a fibre which is dense, soft and crimpy, much like a sheeps.
Baby Alpaca is the fibre taken from an alpaca’s first clip and select fibres taken from the adult fleece.
Royal Alpaca is even finer that baby alpaca, and is an incredibly select part of fleece, measuring just 19.0 to 19.5 microns. It is estimated that only 1% of alpaca fibre produced worldwide fits this classification.
Examples of 100% Alpaca Yarns