Alpaca is a light, soft, warm and resistant fiber that is used to make clothing, accessories and carpets. It is a natural fabric that belongs to the so-called noble fibers, such as mohair, cashmere or angora. At first sight it can look like sheep’s wool (merino), although it is of better quality. Presents a wide range of natural colors (more than 20) ranging from white to black, through brown, brown or gray. And it occurs mostly in Peru and Bolivia. It is known as “the true treasure of the Incas”. Why will it be? Soon you will discover it.
Types of alpaca
There are different types of alpaca fiber, depending on its fineness and quality.
On the one hand there is the Alpaca Fleeze. It is the fiber that is obtained from the usual shearing done to the alpaca once a year. It measures 26.5 microns in diameter and is usually used to make sacks and coats. To give you an idea, a micron or micron is one millionth of a meter.
There is also the Baby Alpaca, which is the fiber that comes from the first shearing done in the life of an alpaca. This does not mean that newborn or very young animals are used. For that first cut it is necessary that the animal has reached the adult age of three years. This hair measures 22.5 microns and with it fine knit garments are made, jerseys, shawls, pasheminas … This fiber is of an enormous and extremely soft quality. Without a doubt, it is one of the most valuable and appreciated.
In third place is the Royal Alpaca, which is a selection of the best baby alpaca fibers. It measures between 19 and 19.5 microns. It treats of a hair ultra soft and very exclusive, since only 1% of the world production of fiber of alpaca corresponds to this variety.
Other types are Huarizo (30.5 microns), used to make knitted fabrics, and Coarse (more than 34 microns), with which carpets, upholstery and linings are made.
Advantages of alpaca compared to other fabrics
Garments and accessories of alpaca have an exceptional quality. This is due to the amount of properties that this fiber has and that you will not find in other wool:
The benefits of the alpaca are superior to those of cashmere and mohair.
It is warmer and stronger than sheep wool.
It chops less than other fibers.
It does not cause allergy because, unlike sheep’s wool, it does not contain lanolin. So it is very suitable for delicate and sensitive skin.
It barely absorbs humidity and repels water very well. This means that if it rains or gets wet, its appearance, shape and quality will not be affected.
It is thermal and insulating. This keeps the body temperature very well regardless of the external conditions and the type of environment. It helps to combat sudden changes in temperature and conserves heat but, at the same time, it is very breathable. Your degree of comfort is very high.
It has a wide palette of natural colors, something rare in other wool. And it is easy to dye.
An important quality of alpaca is its ability to resist solar radiation.
It is silky and bright. Does not lose its shine after dyeing and washing.
It is light and light, despite being a very warm fiber.
It is elastic and resistant, no matter how fine your hair is.
It is fireproof, a property that it shares with sheep’s wool: it is very difficult to burn.
The garments last for many years, do not break, deform or wear by use. They are also not affected by fungi and other microorganisms. So they are always a good investment.
They are products that help to care for and respect the environment.