Alpaca are native to the high Andes Mountains of South America. Domesticated for centuries by the Inca of Peru, their precious fleece was worn only by royalty. They produce over twenty natural shades of a fiber that is soft like cashmere and stronger than wool. This unique hollow core fiber is extremely light yet retains the ability to warm its wearer against even the harshest winter chills.
Imagine a fiber that is incredibly soft on the skin and luscious to touch. The fiber is extremely strong, yet lightweight. It contains no lanolin and is hypoallergenic. Finally, this miracle fiber would come in a wide range of natural colors but also accept dyes to provide the option of natural or dyed garments. Meet Alpaca fiber...
This rare luxury fiber is now available to you in modern styles reflecting the most current fashion trends in a variety of sizes and options!
So imagine a hypoallergenic, natural fiber, with the touch of cashmere, and the strength of modern synthetics. Imagine it in dozens of natural and dyed shades. Then imagine wrapping yourself in this affordable luxury... every day.
What is an alpaca?
An alpaca is a member of the camelid family. Most closely related to Llamas, and descendants of camels. Alpacas are small, gentle animals raised primarily for their soft, luxurious fiber. Their valuable fleece is harvested annually by shearing them in a way similar to the way sheep are shorn each spring.
What is the difference between llamas and alpacas?
Llamas were raised for centuries in South America as beasts of burden. Alpacas have been bred for thousands of years by the andean people for their fine fiber and have been native to South America for millions of years. Alpacas and Llamas are both domesticated animals.
Where are alpacas from?
They are native to South American Andes Mountains and can be found in Chile, Bolivia and Peru.
How many alpacas are in North America?
There are only about 53,000 registered alpacas in North America according to the Alpaca Owners Association. In comparison, there are over 10 million sheep in the North America.
How long have they been raised in the USA?
Alpacas were first imported into the United States in 1984.
What are alpacas used for?
Alpacas are fiber-producing animals. In the USA, they are bred for their investment potential as breeding stock as well as for their valuable alpaca fleece which is sheared off the animals each spring. This fiber is then used by fiber artists and knitters and crocheters.
Are there wild alpacas?
No. Alpacas have been domesticated for over five thousand years. Without the assistance of man, alpacas would not survive in the wild. They lack defenses that would protect them from predators and would easily feel threatened in the wild. The undomesticated cousins related to alpacas are guanacos and vicunas. Vicunas are now listed as an endangered species.
What is Baby Alpaca?
Baby Alpaca is the most rare and finest classification of Alpaca fiber. It is 21.5 microns or less in diameter. Don't worry, it is simply a measure of fiber density, not fleece from baby alpacas.
How long have alpacas been raised?
Records show that Alpacas have been raised for over five thousand years, however there is speculation that they have been utilized for over nine thousand years. The fiber was harvested each year and used to make textiles.
Do Alpacas spit?
Most alpacas do not spit, but if they are agitated you may see spit coming your way. If an alpaca is agitated their ears will normally be pinned back and they will be staring at you. If they do spit, it is not pleasant as the spit normally contains a mixture of saliva and green stomach acid from digesting hay. It definitely is a memorable smell if you get the chance to experience it.
How long has alpaca been used as clothing?
Alpaca was the fiber reserved for Inca royalty dating back thousands of years. In the mid 1800's Sir Titus Salt (England) discovered the alpaca fiber and fashioned the first modern alpaca garments.
Where can I learn more about alpacas?
There are many Internet sites featuring alpacas or you can contact us directly at 208-209-7079. We have owned and raised Alpacas are happy to help you learn more.
Are the alpacas killed to get the fiber?
No. Alpacas are sheared, much like sheep, every year. Alpacas are much cooler and happier in warm weather once the fiber is removed. The fiber regrows by the time cool weather comes again.
How often are alpacas sheared?
Most alpaca producers in the United States shear once each year.
How many colors does alpaca fiber come in?
Alpacas come naturally in 22 color variations; the spectrum includes white, fawn, brown, gray and black, with all the natural shades in between. Alpaca dyes beautifully and is available in a variety of dyed colors. The color spectrum is as vast as your imagination if you choose to dye your own yarn.
What does alpaca fiber feel like?
Alpaca has softness like no other natural fiber. Most people find alpaca apparel to be without the itch associated with wool. It is also very lightweight, yet warmer than wool.
What is the difference between sheep wool and alpaca fiber?
Sheep's wool has a different physical make-up than that of alpaca fiber. The outside of each strand of wool has tiny, microscopic scales along the length of the strand. When garments made with wool are worn next to the skin, these scales catch the surface of the skin and cause some wool to feel prickly. Strands of alpaca fiber are smooth and therefore feel less prickly or itchy next to the skin. Alpaca too, is lanolin free (lanolin holds dust and microscopic allergens that create allergies to wool), which allows for the hypoallergenic nature of the fiber. Each individual strand of fiber is hollow. This gives alpaca a tremendous thermal capacity that allows for a breathable fiber with an insulating nature. Alpaca insulates from cool and warm temperatures.
Is alpaca itchy like wool?
Most people who are sensitive to wool products find that they can wear alpaca without the same sensitivity.
Is alpaca warm?
Yes! Alpaca fiber has a hollow core that gives it incredible thermal properties. While being warm in cold weather, it can breathe and is comfortable for any season.
Will I be allergic to alpaca?
Most people who have wool based allergies will not be allergic to alpaca. Alpaca doesn't contain lanolin found in wool (lanolin holds dust and microscopic allergens that often create allergies associated to wool). Is alpaca anti-microbial? ">A recent study show alpaca fiber has natural anti-microbial properties due to the Keratin in the fiber. This is one of the reasons alpaca socks don't stink like normal socks after a long day of usage. Most sportswear companies treat their fabric with chemicals to give them anti-microbial properties but these chemicals wash out over time.
Can alpaca be dyed?
Yes! Alpaca dyes beautifully. It can be dyed with natural or synthetic dyes.
Come see for yourself!
Visit our store
We hope you'll agree that alpacas are truly amazing animals!