Once you get your hands on
alpaca fiber you immediately understand the intrinsic value of everything produced from it. Technically, we measure its quality
in microns, aiming for fiber around 20 to 25 microns. Many alpacas have fiber that is even finer. A human hair is about 70
microns. Micron consistency across the sample contributes to its "handle" -- the way it feels.
Fiber of the Gods:
alpaca fleece characteristics are the result of selective breeding by the native population of the Andes over thousands of years. The alpaca was believed to be
a gift from their gods. Natural alpaca fleece comes in 22 officially recognized
colors, and many more shades and variations. Imagine the most elegant
of non-fading blacks, and every shade through dark brown, fawn, unlimited variations on grey, beige and of course a brilliant
white that will take dye beautifully -- in any color.
Since alpacas do not have lanolin, their fleece can be used virtually right off the shearing
table; harsh chemicals are not required to clean it. Alpacas do not have "fur" because they are not "double-coated"
which is a combination of outer "guard" hairs and an undercoat for insulation. Alpaca fleece is a combination of
primary and secondary fibers which are relatively consistent in size and character. Primary fibers in alpaca fleece are usually
not 'guard' hairs. These qualities make alpaca naturally soft and comfortable to wear, not itchy!! Many people
who cannot wear wool can wear alpaca. It very rarely causes allergic reactions and is oh so warm. Plus alpaca fiber comes
in different grades so we have very low micron (diameter) fiber for baby things and next-to-the skin garments but also grades
appropriate for sweaters, scarves and hats that receive heavier use and even socks and outerwear.
"Fiber of the Gods?"