Alpacas – The Fiber
If you love the fiber arts (spinning, knitting, felting, etc.) and you love animals, you cannot go wrong with alpacas. Alpaca fiber is a soft, luxurious fiber that is a joy to spin and knit with.
Alpaca fiber is hypoallergenic. When people say they are allergic to wool they are mostly allergic to the lanolin that is commonly found in sheep’s wool. Alpaca fiber contains no lanolin. It also does not “itch”. Sheep’s wool contains coarse fibers called guard hairs that cause a person to itch. Alpaca fiber contains no guard hairs. Alpaca fibers contain microscopic air pockets that make the fleece have a unique thermal capacity. The result is a lightweight but warm fabric.Alpaca sweaters and other finished products are strong and resilient. With proper care, they can last a lifetime. They can generally be hand or machine washed on a gentle cycle. It is best to lay them flat to dry to avoid shrinkage.
With the recent drop in prices, alpacas and alpaca fiber are becoming more affordable to the “hobby farmer.” Because of its superior quality, alpaca fiber is ranked in the same category as cashmere. In fact, many people will tell you that Alpaca feels just as soft.