There are many advantages to knitting with alpaca yarn.
It is very warm. Reports suggest that it can be more than 3 times warmer than sheep’s wool. Alpaca fibres have tiny hollow cores containing microscopic air pocket. It’s these that provide excellent insulation by holding in your body heat, thus keeping you warm during cold, dark winters! It is the same air pockets, which while keeping you warm in the winter will also allow the garment outstanding breathability during the summer, and thus keeping you cool.
Alpaca yarn is seven times stronger than the wool of a sheep. It lasts longer than many other luxury fibres.
Even with such durability and strength alpaca yarn is almost as light as air. The same air pockets in the fibre that enable such excellent insulation properties also help to reduce the overall weight. This minimal weight makes the fibre very versatile for a range of knitting projects.
Alpaca yarn is often mistaken for cashmere because of the soft texture, the silky look, and lightness of the yarn. This softness is due to alpaca fibre having a smoother scale surface than sheep’s wool. With the rise in the production of cashmere, there has also been a decline in the quality and one could argue that alpaca now outranks cashmere for its soft feel.
Unlike sheep’s wool, alpaca fibre contains no lanolin. Lanolin is the natural grease that sheep produce to keep their fleece waterproof. It is lanolin to which some people are allergic. The lack of lanolin in alpaca fibre, therefore, makes it safe to wear for people with skin allergies. Additionally, the smooth scaling of alpaca fibres means it is ideal for those who have sensitive skin that would have trouble dealing with wearing a sheep wool garment. Alpaca yarn means no irritation.
While alpacas do not produce lanolin, their fleece is still highly waterproof. Alpaca will wick any moisture away from the body.
Alpaca fibre comes in 22 natural and glorious colours.
Alpaca yarn production has an incredibly light environmental footprint.
Ashtonelle Alpacas – our yarn
We have a range of 100% alpaca yarn processed from individual or groups of our alpacas from the Ashtonelle herd. Whilst we usually concentrate on the natural colours, we do experiment with dyeing, either at the mill or at home, using both natural and synthetic dyes. Yarn is available for sale – please contact us directly for a sample card.