About Alpaca Fiber
The Alpaca evolution is estimated to have begun 40 to 50 million years ago. When the land bridge from North America to South America was formed, ancestors of these animals migrated south to South America. The New World Llama, Alpaca, Guanaco and Vicuña are these animals and are native to the high Andes Mountains of Peru. The body covering each is called hair (or fiber) rather than fur or wool. The fiber on the Alpaca is one of the most highly prized fibers, and it is ideal for spinning and knitting. They can be sheared once a year to 18 months depending upon the environment (cold, hot, humidity, etc.) The first shearing of the Alpaca is called Baby Alpaca, it is among the softest fibers in the world. They are not normally sheared like sheep, down to the skin, because their skin can be sensitive to sunlight and can get sunburned. Instead, 1/2" to 1" is usually left on the animal
There are two types of Alpacas, Suri (Sur-ee) and Huacaya (Waa-ki-ya). Suri Alpaca has fiber that hangs off its body in small ringlets. It is often referred to as the 'rag-mop' look. Huacayas, on the other hand, have fiber that is more traditional looking. The silky, long hair of the Alpaca was so prized by the Incas that the best grades were reserved for use by nobility. Due to the scarcity of this luxury fiber and to its sensuous feel, as it did then, it continues to command high prices on precious fiber markets. Our knitwear designs make every effort to treat the fibers accordingly. The rich homespun effects of hand knitting, embroidery and hand crochet don’t lend themselves to mass production. Needless to say, you won’t run into your sweater on every street corner. You can be sure each order receives the same personal attention as you’ve come to expect from us.
Anibal and Mary