Alpacas are one of the most beautiful South American camelids. Related to Llamas, Guanacos and Vicuñas, Alpacas have been valued for their fibre since pre-Inca times due to the properties and quality of their hair. There are mainly two types of alpacas: Huacayo and Suri.
The Alpaca's Habitat
Alpacas are native to the Peruvian Andes, where they have been domesticated since the time of the pre-Inca cultures. There are an estimated 3.5 to 4 million Alpacas in South America; 90% of these are found mainly in the southern regions of Peru.
Alpacas are raised at altitudes ranging from 3,500 to more than 4,500 metres above sea level, where they can naturally withstand temperatures ranging from -20 °C to 30° in a single day, surviving on a special low-protein diet based on natural grasses.
They live in an area of very high altitude where the temperature can change rapidly and the ground can be frosted over half the year
The Alpaca Fiber
Alpaca fiber is considered one of the most luxurious in the textile market. It is appreciated by vendor, designers and customers because of its unique attributes
- It is three times stronger than sheep fiber and seven times warmer.
- It has excellent insulating and thermal qualities by having microscopic air pockets inside, which makes it lighter but still very hot.
- It’s very thin, it can go from 12 to 28 microns.
- It has a silky shine that remains despite production, dyeing or washing.
- Does not contain fat, oil or lanolin.
- It does not retain water and can resist solar radiation
- It is resistant, achieving very durable and easy care garments, being a saving for people and greater care for our environment.
- It has more than 22 natural colors.
Why Peruvian Alpaca fiber?
For us at Inka Fabric, it's simple, the qualities of alpaca from Peru are superior in quality, why? The alpacas in Peru live free in the Andes at more than 3500 metres above sea level, which is their natural habitat, so their fibre is stronger and has intact all the properties that make alpaca fibre unique.
In addition alpaca breeding in Peru has been a tradition since Inca times, they were domesticated and prized animals.
Nowadays the economy of many families in the Peruvian altiplano is based on the breeding of alpacas and their commercialization, because of this Peru, with the help of some responsible companies, has become a specialist in the production of alpaca fibre being recognized worldwide, giving a unique and high quality yarn from which one we can make Blankets scarves jumper and socks.
What Is Baby Alpaca Fiber?
Baby Alpaca is an exceptionally fine, incredibly soft, lightweight, durable, hypoallergenic fiber which comes from the back of the alpaca, the only part that does not get contaminated by dirt (grass, soil…). Alpaca are gently shorn by hand and only once a year during the warmer season. Baby alpaca does not come from newborn, baby alpaca is just a kind of grading of how fine the fiber is (21.5micron).
Baby Alpaca is up to seven times warmer than the common sheep’s wool because the single fiber works as thermal insulation. This wool is cozy but also breathable for warmer weather thanks to the air pockets that are only found in alpaca fibers.