White/Lt. Fawn/Dk. Fawn/Med Brn/Bay Black/Lt. SGrey/Dk. SGrey/Med. RGrey/Beige/Med Fawn/Lt. Brn/Dk. Brn/True Black/Med. SGrey/Lt. RGrey/Dk. RGrey
The above 16 colours are the most common colours in alpaca fibre. You then can go into different shades and blends which will take you beyond the 22 natural shades in alpaca fibre.
There are two types of alpacas: the huacaya and the suri. Although identical in body, these animals grow different fleece types. The huacaya, which comprises over 90% of the world alpaca population, has a teddy bear like appearance. Its fleece grows perpendicular to the body and is crimped or ridged. The suri’s fleece hangs down from the body in a variety of ringlet-type lock structures. Suri fibre is very smooth which gives this fleece high lustre.
The absence of lanolin or grease in alpaca fibre is desirable for those who are sensitive to sheep’s wool or allergic to the lanolin; they might be able to comfortably wear garments made of alpaca fibre.
Alpaca fibre is easily dyed and retains its natural lustre. It is fine, softer and warmer than sheep’s wool. Alpaca is smooth and silky to touch; it is strong and resilient, making it the ideal fibre for processing. It is naturally water repellent. Alpaca does not easily tear or pill and can be cleaned without trouble. Alpaca has good thermal capabilities and is an ideal product for the Canadian climate. It is an elite fibre. It is extremely versatile and is desired by clothing manufacturers around the world.
Alpaca fibre is sorted by microns, there are a million microns in a metre and your hair may be 60 to 100 microns, the following is the industry guideline on alpaca fibre:
|Grade #1||< 20 microns||UltraFine|
|Grade #2||20 – 22.9||SuperFine|
|Grade #3||23.0 – 25.9||Fine|
|Grade #4||26.0 – 28.9||Medium|
|Grade #5||29.0 -31.9||Intermediate|
|Grade #6||32.0 – 35.0||Robust|
From the grade one fibre making lovely soft yarns, to the medium grades making warm durable socks to the robust used in felting and duvets, there is always a use for your alpaca fibre.
Alpaca clothing is Superior to Wool:
- Superior in strength, warmth, softness
- Smooth fiber without lanlin removed the itchiness and allergic reactions
- Comes in 22 natural colors.
- Naturally rain resistant
- Washable with lower tendency to shrink
- Resilient – your cherished alapca garment can last for many years
Alpaca fiber is Superior to Man-made fibers:
- More comfortable in cold weather
- Warm even when wet
- Better wicking of body moisture, superior breathability
- Resists odors, even in socks
- 100% natural luxurious fiber which is environmentally excellent
- Naturally wind resistant
- Excellent breathability
- Does not mat or pill
- Fire resistant, will not melt
- Low static
- Wrinkle resistant
Here are a few terms that you will see in the alpaca fibre industry.
- Batts – made on a drumcarder and is like a blanket of fibres, can be used in quilting and handspinners can spin from it
- Felting: matted, condensed and pressed fibres, can be thick or thin depending on the use
- Raw Fleece – this term is used when the fleece is taken off the animal and cleaned and sorted and sold without any processing
- Rovings – is a carded preparation that can be prepared by hand or commercially is usually made from a batt, thickness can vary; handspinners enjoy working with it
- Sliver – is a thinner variation on rovings. Slivers do not have any twist to it, while rovings have a slight twist to the entire rope. (pronounced sly-ver)
- Spinning – can be with a hand held drop spindle or spinning wheel, taking fibres from either the raw state, rovings or slivers and spinning them into a yarn
- Weaving – there are several looms that can be used from the very simple to complex, inkle looms, rigid heddle looms, table looms and floor looms. Creating straps, place matts, pillow coverings, tea towels blankets and beyond!
- Woolen yarns – fibres are shorter and are processed in different directions making it loftier, often carded vs combed, popular for knitting
- Worsted yarns – fibres that have been combed and are laying in the same direction, often used in weaving, generally longer fibres at least three to four inches long