Or, Why I Love Working With Alpaca and Why You Should Love Wearing It.
As I posted last time, I'm working on some pieces using perhaps my favorite fiber, so I thought I'd reveal why I think alpaca fiber is so wonderful.
First of all, it is because alpacas are just so darned cute!
No, seriously, the fiber has many terrific attributes. One important one: it is hypoallergenic. This is because it does not contain the heavy lanolin that sheep's wool does and which is so difficult to scour out. It is also water resistant, as well as being thermal, even when wet.
Compared to sheep's wool, alpaca is stronger (higher tensile strength) and provides more warmth than wool without the weight. It is also naturally flame resistant and difficult to ignite.
Alpaca fiber is often compared to cashmere. It has a smoother surface than wool which makes it considerably softer and very pleasurable, not only to wear, but to knit with.
It is sorted and qualified into different grades. The #1 grade is called "royal", which is rare and expensive. It is said that only 1% of alpaca fiber is designated "royal". The #2 grade is called Baby Alpaca or Superfine Alpaca. This is the grade of alpaca yarn I use in all of my knitwear.
Alpacas have been bred in South America for thousands of years and their fiber has been called "the fiber of the gods", being reserved for the clothing of royalty.
So this has been your lesson for today ;-)
I hope you enjoyed learning something new.
PS: Did you know alpacas are in the camel family?
Just a quick posting about what I'm currently knitting. I'm working with a superfine (i.e. a very high grade) alpaca yarn in some rich, heathered colors. I ordered this yarn back in the spring and I'm not quite sure what I had in mind at the time. I might be using some paler, more wintery shades if I were to choose them now. But because I live in Mexico and sell my work here, as well as online, most people here expect bright colors. Perhaps that's what I was thinking.
Above is a sneak peak of what I will soon have listed for sale. A couple more color combinations are in the works, including the same purple heather, as on the trim above, used as the main body (that's it below). Still not sure if the trim will be light blue (not shown) or the same coral red as above. Any preferences?
What you can't see very well in the photos are the other colors spun into the yarn that finally create the color you see. The red has yellow, pink, and a tiny bit of lilac in it. And the purple has red, blue and a bit of turquoise.
I'll keep you posted when these are available for sale, but expect them "muy pronto" (very soon).
Oh . . . and while I was uploading these photos I came across some others I'd taken a week or so ago here on the ranch. Two different evenings, two different skies. Can you see the eagle sitting near the top of the joshua tree?
Connie is a knitter and gardener in love with life on a small ranch in rural Mexico.