Have you had the pleasure of spinning or weaving with alpaca yet? If not, you’re in for a treat.
Alpaca was treasured by the Inca royalty. When the Incan civilization ended, the llama and alpaca populations diminished. South America has revitalized the population and recently has allowed alpacas to be exported.
An average adult alpaca weighs about 100 – 175 lbs and their life span is about 20 years. They are timid and gentle creatures, making them wonderful as pets (if you have the space for them).
Alpaca fiber is stronger and warmer than wool, yet lighter. It comes in over 20 natural shades and is soft as cashmere. It has a high lustre and takes dye well. Alpaca is popular for use in sweaters or clothing as it does not have the itchiness of wool.
Alpaca fiber can be processed easily as there are no guard hairs and doesn’t contain lanolin. It can be used alone or carded and blended with wool, silk or cotton.
There are 2 types of alpacas and can be identified by their fiber characteristics. TheHuacaya fiber is crimpy and quite dense. The Suri fiber is straighter and more lustrous.