All You Need to Know About Alpaca Wool
Most of you might know alpacas as cute furry animals from the Andes, but did you know that their hair is called the ‘fiber of gods’? They even get featured in comics due to their funny facial expressions, but no other material can beat alpaca when it comes to their wool quality. Here is all you need to know about alpaca wool.
Alpaca - World’s finest wool
Who doesn’t love to feel the softness of the world’s finest wool on their skin? Covered with a fluffy, insulated coat made up of individual fibers, alpaca wool is five times warmer than sheep wool.
They are entirely hollow, and this additional space creates more thermal capacity, thereby allowing warm air to fill in the material. But this exclusive wool has unique properties that are more than just warming, and that’s why it has become one of the most expensive products on the market.
How is alpaca wool made?
The first step towards the production of alpaca wool is shearing. The wool is usually sheared using scissors, and the process is done using hands to avoid harming the animal.
Once shearing is done, the individual wool fibers are combined in a uniform direction. This process is known as carding. The next stage is spinning. Now the wool is ready to be spun into yarn. Once it is formed into yarn, the wool must be washed and air-dried to be formed into a finished product.
Types of Alpaca wool
There are two different types of alpaca breeds - Huacaya and Suri. Both of them produce distinct kinds of yarns.
Did you know that 82% of alpacas out there are Huacaya? They have a fluffy and spongy fiber with a natural crimp, and this texture is what gives the fiber an inherent elastic nature. Huacaya wool is much similar to that of sheep’s wool and has no lanolin.
On the other side, there are Suri alpacas with long, silky hair that look like dreadlocks. When compared to Huacaya, Suri alpacas don’t have crimps, making them well suited for woven goods.
Why use Alpaca wool?
Alpaca wool comes with tremendous benefits. They are not just soft and warm but also sustainable and animal friendly. If you are not sure why you should prefer alpaca over other types of wool, worry not! We will list down a few points here.
Alpaca wool is free of lanolin, a natural grease that wool-bearing animals have on their fur. This means that they are hypoallergenic and are safer for people with wool allergies.
Because it lacks lanolin, alpaca wool products are easy to handle. They don't require multi-step washes or chemical detergents used in other types of wool and don’t attract dust like other fibers.
The fibers of the alpaca are equipped with tiny air pockets, and these spaces provide enhanced breathability. The products made of alpaca don’t feel clammy or sweaty and will give you the utmost comfort.
Alpaca wool has both insulating and isolating properties. It keeps the cold and heat out and maintains a constant temperature both inside and underneath the fiber. At the same time, alpaca wool offers thermoregulating properties too - it responds to changes in temperature. Woah!
- Flame resistant
This type of wool has a great degree of flame resistance. Alpaca wool is slow to ignite, has low heat release, and self-extinguishing properties. Compared to other ordinary fibers, alpaca doesn’t melt, but it chars, leaving no toxic fumes.
- Wicks away moisture
Alpaca wool is highly resistant to external water penetration, but it can slowly wick away perspiration. Confused about what wicking is? No, you don’t have to take the dictionary now, we will explain it to you. Wicking generally means whether or not a material can wick away the moisture from your skin. It regulates your body temperature, thereby preventing the build-up of moisture.
- Eco Friendly
Alpaca wool is one of the most sustainable and ethical wool on the earth. Its production requires limited resources such as water and energy. Also, no harsh chemicals are involved during the process, and they are 100% biodegradable as long as they are undied.
Is Alpaca wool suitable for bedding?
Of course, they are!
What products you buy is entirely up to you, of course. But, we would recommend you to try alpaca duvets, pillows, throws, and mattress toppers. You will love them for sure.
You can either buy a throw or a duvet so that you can wrap up yourself and enjoy the softness and comfort of the superior wool. And, the alpaca wool pillows are something that you should definitely try.
It is a fact that Alpaca wool is more expensive than ordinary wool. But, the benefits and comfort provided by them are more than worth the cost if you want to treat yourself.
1. Where does the alpaca wool come from?
Alpaca fiber is derived from the hairs of the alpaca. An Alpaca is a South American camelid bred from the Vicuna, a rare and protected species in the Andes. They live in extreme climates, which helps them develop their highly prized coats.
2. Is a llama the same as an alpaca?
Alpacas are closely related to llamas, domesticated versions of the guanaco.
Alpaca wool tends to be finer and softer than llama wool. It is also hypoallergenic since it contains no lanolin like sheep's wool. Due to this, alpacas are mainly raised for soft wool, while llamas are used as pack animals.
3. Where is alpaca wool produced?
Peru is known as the world's largest producer of alpaca fiber. This country is home to around 87% of the global alpaca population.
4. How does alpaca wool affect the environment?
Alpaca wool is an entirely biodegradable fabric. Thus, it does not pollute the environment. Due to the fabric's purity, no harsh chemicals are used during the harvesting process.
5. Is alpaca wool warmer than merino wool?
Alpaca is stronger, warmer, softer and retains less water than merino wool.
Alpaca wool has a distinctive structure characterized by consistent hollow voids. These voids trap air, increasing the fiber’s thermal properties and creating a warmer experience for the users.