Published by Judy Garay on 5th Mar 2019


Alpacas are from the camelid family, resemble Llamas but smaller in size;

Bred in South America for thousands of years;

Named the “Fiber of the Gods” and made into clothing for royalty...

Fiber Structure

Alpacas have a natural fleece which is extremely soft, durable, silky and softer than cashmere or angora. Alpaca fleece is not itchy and does not contain lanolin. For this reason, it is a great substitute for those who are allergic to wool.

Alpaca fleece vs wool varieties:

  • Three (3) times warmer
  • Soft, durable, silky and soft
  • Higher tensile strength
  • Non-allergenic
  • Not prickly (smoother scale surface similar to merino wool)
  • Non-greasy, yet has a glossy shine
  • Natural water repellency and harder to catch fire
  • Thermal insulator
  • Resists solar radiation effectively

The alpaca fiber structure guarantees the animals an appropriate coat to protect against extreme changes in climate and temperature. Wonderful news, the fleece also gives the same protection to humans.

Two Breeds = Two Wool Types = Many Colors

Two breeds of alpaca are found in the U.S. and Canada:

  • Huacaya-- (pronounced wuh-kai-ya) wool is denser and softer with a natural crimp and easier wool to spin.
  • Suri -- alpaca wool tends to be long and curly and much more difficult to spin and makes up only 19-20% of the North American alpaca population.

Each type of wool comes in a variety of 22+ natural colors, with more than 300 shades from true-blue black to brown-black, browns, fauns, white, silver-greys and rose-greys. Hand spinners work with the natural fiber color and do not have to use dyes to introduce color within the yarn. Although if needed it dyes and blends extremely well with other fibers such as lamb, sheep, mohair, etc. White alpacas are predominant and can be dyed in many ranges of colors

Alpaca Fleece = Luxurious Products

Alpaca fleece is made into various products ranging from simple, inexpensive garments such as scarves, gloves/mittens/glittens, hat, sweater, socks, dryer balls that are hand made to sophisticated, industrially made, more expensive products such as suits. The fleece can also be hand-washed or dry-cleaned.

Interest in alpaca fiber clothing has peaked in recent years, perhaps partly due to alpaca ranching having a low impact on the environment. Alpacas have two-toed feet with soft pads protected on the top and sides by toe nails. Unlike hard hooved animals, they do not damage the terrain and only nibble the top of the pasture grass rather than uprooting it.

The rare and exotic alpaca is a creature of antiquity and rapidly gaining popularity everywhere. Highly prized for their luxurious coats, the alpaca has been considered a treasure of the Andes Mountains for over 6,000 years.So much so the General Assembly of the United Nations proclaimed 2009 to be the International Year of Natural Fibers to raise awareness of alpaca and other natural fibers.

Choose to purchase alpaca products not just for the wonderful attributes of their fiber but to aid in protecting the environment. Every little bit helps to protect our precious Earth.