Alpaca fibre is sustainable, ecological, hard wearing, soft and light weight, water resistant, warm and hypoallergenic. In one year, one animal can produce enough fibre to make 4 or 5 jumpers, which is significantly more than any other fleece producing animal.
Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes in southern Peru. The fibre that their fleeces produce is technically hair and not wool due to its cellular composition. The animals themselves are naturally quiet, gentle, easy to train and highly intelligent. They use their tails to express their feelings – twitching them like a cat when they become unsettled.
Baby Alpaca yarn is the term used to describe the first shearing of an Alpaca. The area of the underside of the neck and belly is the finest quality with fibres measuring 21-23 microns. This means that the wool can be comfortably worn against your skin. It has a silk-like sheen and a softness which comes close to cashmere.
For my collection I have chosen from the vast array of un-dyed shades available to ensure that no chemicals have been used in the dying process (there are more than 50 natural shades to choose from). Arguably these colours are more beautiful than man made shades as they reflect their indigenous landscape – as can be seen in these images.
I have chosen the baby alpaca yarn in my collection from a very well established, high quality mill that have strong links with the British factory in which the yarn is knitted, making the production process easier to trace.