Alpaca’s are not only cute their fiber produces some of the best yarn to work with because of its unique and wonderful qualities.
Alpaca fiber is hollow, or medullated, which increases its thermal properties, even when wet. Yocum-McCall Testing Laboratories has performed studies showing alpaca fiber to be 3 times warmer that wool.
Alpaca yarn is extremely strong and wears well. The elasticity of the fiber ensures that even after years of wearing a garment it will keep its shape.
Alpaca fiber is isolating meaning it can repel water and stains. It can absorb up to 30% of its dry body weight which means it will take longer for a garment made from alpaca to feel wet against your skin.
Alpaca fiber contains very little to no lanolin as compared to wool it is considered to be hypoallergenic. If you are allergic to wool or other fibers, Alpaca yarn is your perfect choice.
Alpaca fiber is soft and itch free. Alpaca Fiber averages between 15 and 30 microns in diameter making high quality yarn that is extremely soft. The highest quality alpaca yarn will be made from fibers that are between 15 and 21 microns. The higher micron diameter will still produce a nice yarn but it will be less soft and may tend to feel scratchy.
Alpaca fiber is more flame resistant than other plant based or synthetic fibers. Unlike synthetic fibers, alpaca fiber will not melt onto skin.
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Did you know that not all alpaca yarn is the same? Depending on the breed of Alpaca, Suri or Huacaya, the fiber consistency is slightly different. We are here to help you decide which fiber may be best suited for your next project.
Suri fiber grows in long straight dreadlocks similar to mohair. It is very lustrous but lacks crimp that would normally provide memory to the yarn. Suri fiber is also quite heavy as compared to Huacaya or wool. The lack of crimp and weight of suri fiber makes garments tend to drape into graceful folds that enhance the luster of the fiber. Suri fiber is frequently blended with between 20% to 50% fine wool to provide memory.
Huacaya fiber shares a number of similarities with wool. Huacaya fleece is soft, fluffy, and crimpy. This natural crimp provides greater elasticity or memory in Huacaya yarn. The yarn is very lofty and soft making it ideal for sweaters, hats, scarves and so much more. Since Huacaya fiber has greater elasticity it does not need to be blended with wool in order for the finished garment to maintain it’s shape.