ALPACAS on the farm near Arequipa, Peru, Irene and Mr.Sheep

ALPACAS ON THE FARM NEAR AREQUIPA, PERU. Photography © Irene & Mr. Sheep Co.

Alpaca is a natural wool derived from the long silky fleece of Alpaca. The Alpaca is a large domesticated mammal of the South American camelid family, which also includes the Llama, Vicuña, and Guanaco. Alpaca is traditionally a natural yarn, but can also be manufactured from rayon and cotton mixes. There are two types of Alpaca fibers: the Huacaya, which is crimpy and quite dense, and the Suri - the straighter, longer, and more lustrous. Alpaca fiber is softer, warmer, and stronger than sheep wool, yet is light weight. Huacaya alpacas comprise approximately 90% of the alpaca population, and the Suri are the remaining 10%. "Similar to other species, there is crossbreeding between Huacayas and Suri. Sometimes these unions make a beautiful babies like the Goldendoodle!"

Alpaca fiber comes in over 20 natural shades, has a high luster and takes dye very well. Alpaca is popular for use in sweaters and other clothing, as it does not have the itchiness of sheep wool. "Suri, because of its distinct lack of crimp and comparatively long length is ideally suited for worsted spun yarn used in making suits. These beautiful Armani suits made of alpaca come from Suris." - References: Wild Fibers, and All Fiber Arts.

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  In the Incan civilization, alpaca fiber was a status symbol and was prized as a trade item. The finer grades of alpaca were reserved for the Incan nobility. Peruvian alpaca is even rarer than cashmere. When the Incan civilization ended, the llama and alpaca populations diminished. South America has revitalized the population and has recently allowed alpacas to be exported. Alpacas were first imported into North America in 1983. Photo on your left: Peruvian surfer Domingo Pianezzi rides a wave with his alpaca Pisco at San Bartolo beach in Lima. Photo © PILAR OLIVARES/REUTERS.

"They bless them at birth and protect them at night. They adorn them with ribbons and shear their soft fleeces. They give thanks to the gods, the sun, the moon, and then they eat them." The sweet-faced alpaca became the favourite child of Incas. Considered so deeply sacred, the alpaca fiber was crafted only by specially designated courtiers. Today, despite a growing global emphasis on fair-trade everything, Peru's alpaca shepherds are ironically among poorest people in the land... Gold of the Andes, Alpaca History »

  Alpaca Deutschland
Wild Fiber Magazine, Fall 2010 WILD FIBERS Magazine, Spring 2014

The Largest Sweater in the World: "Proving that record-seeking is a truly international sport, Peruvian stitchers have gotten into the act. During the summer, they knit up 1,800 knitted swatches that were joined into a massive 40-by-40 cm sweater, three times larger than the previous Largest Sweater in the World. The sweater, unveiled in Lima during World Wide Knit in Public Week, was sponsored by Peru's Education Ministry and Coats Cadena; the individual pieces will be converted into ponchos that will be sent to children who live in the Andean highlands to stave off the extreme cold there." - Source: Yarn Market News.

100% Alpaca Superfine 100% Alpaca Superfine 100% Alpaca Superfine 100% Alpaca Superfine 100% Alpaca Superfine

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‹ The AYCo. Suri Elegance »







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