|Alpaca & Fiber Info|
ALPACA - "GOLD OF THE ANDES"
Peruvian Alpaca Fiber - once reserved for Inca royalty - are often called the "Gold of the Andes" because their extraordinary fiber is internationally recognized as the one of the most luxurious fibers in the world. The resilient fiber is not only strong, but is incredibly soft, warm, lightweight, and durable. It is excellent for travel as it is comfortable, water resistant and retains its shape without stretching.
Alpaca Fiber is second only to silk for strength. The Alpaca Fiber is most like human hair in its cellular composition - it has a core made up of air-filled cells that contributes significantly to its insulating properties and its strength. The number of individual fibers is considerably reduced compared to sheep's wool which helps to explain why most people who are allergic to sheep's wool are not allergic to Alpaca.
The color of the fiber is variable, up to 22 colors having been defined, but is more uniform than that of the llama. Alpaca colors range from white to black through grays, fawns and browns. This characteristic is not to be found among other natural fibers, the 'noble' fibers, used in textile production.
The fiber is classified manually according to its fineness and sorted into qualities such as Royal Alpaca (less than 19 microns), Baby Alpaca (22,5 microns), Super Fine Alpaca (25,5 microns) and Huarizo (29 microns).
The names of these qualities do not necessarily reflect the age of the animals or other phenotypic characteristics. The appellation 'Baby', for example, is applied to products (sweaters, scarves, shawls, etc.) where the average fiber diameter is 22,5 microns. The fiber used to obtain this quality does not necessarily come from baby animals; it could easily come from an adult animal with a very fine coat.
The following are some of the textile properties of alpaca:
Non-flammability: The fiber will not burn unless in direct contact with a flame.
The World's Finest Fibers
The British Wool Marketing Board uses several tables, Including the Bradford Count, to determine wool quality.
The Information below is from the British Wool Marketing Board and other sources.