Alpaca is a specialty luxury fiber. More alpaca fiber is produced
each year than cashmere or mohair. No other animal produces fiber that
has the softness of cashmere, the luster of silk, the lightness of
goose feathers, the durability of wool, and the warmth of a cozy
The alpaca has been domesticated (as versus its kin llama,
which is primarily a work animal) and carefully bred for over 5,000
years as a luxury fiber-producing animal. Alpaca wool has been prized
for centuries for its incredible combination of softness, lightness,
and warmth. The softness and warmth of alpaca comes from the fact that it is
the finest of all natural fiber at around 18-26 microns. Only cashmere
down around 14-16 microns thick is finer.
In comparison, human hair is
about 100 microns thick. Spinners say that alpaca spins like butter.
Mountain climbers are wearing alpaca socks on their feet...testimony to
the fact that alpaca is four times warmer than sheep's wool.
Hopefully, you will find the Fiber Corner articles to be helpful whether you are a crafter, breeder, or anyone in between!