The alpaca, a member of the Camelidae family is considered the most unique herd animal on the face of the earth and they have been so for over 6000 years.
Originally domesticated by the Incas in South America, the exquisite characteristic of their fleece was reserved only for the elite and nobility of the tribe. In Andean Mythology, alpacas were linked to the Earth Mother “Pachmana” They believed that the alpaca was on loan to us from the gods and were only here as long as we respected them and cared for them properly. Alpacas are gentle herd animals as they leave behind no damage upon the earth with their padded feet and only consume the tops of the grass when grazing. This allows the pasture to replenish itself as they move on making the Alpaca a sustainable, natural and renewable source.
The Alpaca is responsible for producing some of the finest fiber in the world. The comparison to other textiles have shown that it is stronger than mohair, finer than cashmere, smoother than silk, softer than cotton, warmer than goose down and has better breathing capabilities than modern thermal knits.
The Alpaca produces hypoallergenic fleece that is warmer and lacks the irritation caused to some from the likes of sheep’s wool. This property is due to the lack of lanolin which not only makes alpaca fiber hypoallergenic but allows the fiber to be processed without harsh chemicals or high temperatures.
In addition, alpaca fiber is flame resistant meeting the US Consumer Product Safety Commission’s specifications of a Class 1 fiber for clothing and furnishing use.
Alpaca fiber also has the characteristics of sheep’s wool in which it has the ability to wick away moisture making it water resistant as well, due to its unique capability of being able to mimic cotton in moisture regain. This attribute allows this textile to feel lighter then wool and warmer then cotton in damp and cool climates.
With the superior qualities of alpaca fiber it is the most sought out viable textile in the industry from high fashion to homegrown and handcrafted items not only in South America but here in the United States and abroad as well.
Feathers and Friends Alpaca Farm : Alpaca History and Fiber Facts