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ALPACA & LLAMA FIBER
Alpacas and Llamas are indigenous to the Peruvian highlands where they are bred in altitudes of 14,000 to 16,000 feet above sea level. For people in the Andes they provide a vital economic resource. Also known as “The Fiber of the Gods”, Alpaca quality, versatility, and rarity are some of the factors that have kept alpaca fiber growing in demand over the years. Peruvian alpaca fiber is finer than other alpaca fibers produced around the world due to the kind of grazing, which is low in proteins called “ichu” and only grows in the Andes.
Alpaca fiber is incredibly soft, luscious to the touch and extremely strong. In the fashion world it is considered to be one of the most exclusive fibers, competing only with wool, cashmere, and mohair and it can be used in a variety of ways, from as sheer as the finest silks, to as thick and chunky as tweeds and wool.
Llamas were known by the Incas as a beast of burden. It has coarse hair which protects its fine inner coat of fleece. Llama fiber varies from heavy to very light, extremely crimped to almost straight. Despite its much larger size, the llama produces far less fleece per animal than the alpaca. From top to tail, alpacas and llamas are sustainable.
As opposed to sheep wool, alpaca and llama fiber do not contain oil lanolin which is a type of thick oil that causes skin irritations and other forms of allergies in people. The washing and cleaning of the raw fiber can be done without the use of chemicals.
Alpaca and Llama hooves are padded, which are gentle on the ground and grass. When they graze, they do not tear up plants by the roots, and they eat a variety of plants. They use a communal dung pile, which makes for a cleaner environment and easy removal of the waste for fertilizer.
Corriedale sheep wool. A Merino-