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Let's face it, although alpacas are extremely cute and not too expensive to keep, it would be nice if they could chip in a little when it comes to their hay and pellet bills! Well, you don't have to look any further than the fine fleece on the backs of your alpacas.
Alpacas do not shed their coats in preparation for warm weather, and their fiber grows continuously. If left on the animals, the fiber could grow long enough to touch the ground. In North America, alpacas are not slaughtered for their fleece. We shear our animals annually in the spring to ensure they stay cool during the summer months. Many alpaca owners choose to supplement their income by finding markets to sell either the sheared raw fleeces or having the fleeces processed and selling the yarn or end products made from alpaca fiber.
Alpaca fiber is hand spun, custom milled or commercially milled in a wide variety of yarn styles. The yarn is then hand or machine knitted, crocheted or woven into luxurious end products such as hats, scarves, gloves, mittens, socks, capes, shawls, tops, sweaters, jackets and blankets.
Known as a specialty fiber because of its scarcity, alpaca fiber possesses the following characteristics and benefits to you:
1. Alpaca fiber is silky, soft, supple and smooth to the touch. It is prized for its unique silky feel and luxurious handle and can be comfortably worn next to most people's skin without causing an uncomfortable itch like sheep's wool can cause. When you wear alpaca products, you feel fantastic having this "fiber of the God's" next to your skin.
2. Alpaca fiber is found in 22 distinct colours which can be blended into an infinite array of natural shades. Also, alpaca fiber can be easily dyed, and always retains its natural luster. This gives people a wide variety of colour choices, as well as the choice to wear "all natural" products.
3. Alpaca fiber is unusually strong and resilient. The strength does not diminish as it becomes finer. This means that when you purchase alpaca fiber products, you will have a keep-sake or heirloom article which will look new for years and years. This can ultimately save a person money.
4. Alpaca fiber contains microscopic air pockets which creates lightweight clothing with good insulating values. As well, alpaca products are 60% warmer than lambs' wool. This ensures that you stay extra-warm in light-weight alpaca fiber products. Also, it takes less alpaca yarn to knit a warm sweater since the fiber has this "extreme warmth quality".
There are no negative characteristics to be found in alpaca fiber. To learn more about alpaca fiber, check out our Links page.
We're not called "Crimpy" Critters for nothing!
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