There are two main types of alpaca: the Suri and the Huacaya.
The Suri has long dreadlock style locks which can fall like a curtain to the ground. Their fibre has a high lustre, is very fine but has little crimp which means it does not hold dye well.
The Huaccaya is the most plentiful and is the hardier due to it’s denser fibre. Their fibre has good crimp, holds dye well and is very strong.
By parting the fleece on an Huaccaya, it is easy to see the excellent crimp of the fibre
There are about 2-5 kgs of fleece per animal a year.
Shearing takes place annually. It is done similarly to sheep with electric clippers, but can take much longer and therefore it is less stressful to the animal if it is restrained on the ground. This also ensures that the fleece comes off in good condition
Alpaca fibre has very little grease making it a spinners delight because it needs very little preparation.
Batt are fibre that has been processed and is ready for spinning. Hanks are the wool which is ready for knitting.
Alpaca fibre can be easily blended to produce a beautiful range of subtle shades or mixed with sheep wool, hohiarm silk and other natural fibres.
Alpaca fibre has a soft and silky feel and is incredibly warm and lustrous.
Alpaca fibre comes in 22 natural shades from 7 basic colours.
These range from pure jet black to browns to fawns to greys( charcoal and rose) to blue and pure white.
Alpaca fibre tends to cause less allergic reactions.
Alpaca fibre is measured in microns and has a cell structure similar to hair. It is very strong, (high tensile) approximately three times stronger than sheep wool.