Why We Love Alpaca
Alpaca yarn is one of the most sustainable and versatile fibers in the world. It is also closely tied to the history and culture of Peru where we produce many of our favorite knit pieces. The combination of these two facts makes us want to incorporate alpaca into as many of our pieces as possible.
Alpaca fiber is luxurious and built to last for years to come. Softer than cashmere and stronger than sheep’s wool due to its hollow structure, alpaca yarn stays firm but soft to the touch. This fiber does not absorb much water or humidity and has natural heating and cooling capabilities that keep it cozy without overheating the wearer. Alpaca is great for those with sensitive skin or sheep’s wool allergies as well – it is hypoallergenic and traps less dirt and allergens than other fibers.
Alpaca naturally comes in a variety of colors depending on the color of each animal’s fur, allowing for a large range of choices free of the need for potentially harmful and wasteful dye processes. Though a sweater knit with alpaca yarn will last for decades with the correct care, it will biodegrade naturally once its time comes.
Alpaca yarn’s strong and sustainable characteristics are reflected in the animal as well. Alpacas are considered some of the “greenest” animals on the earth due to their efficient eating and drinking habits in comparison to other grazing animals. They’re very well suited for the harsh conditions of the Andes in Peru – their native habitat – which is what gives their yarn its strong and unique qualities! In terms of farming and care, the shearing process is completely harmless to the alpaca and there are no strong chemicals involved, making it a safe and natural environment for all.
On top of the amazing qualities and sustainable practices surrounding alpaca yarn, we are also inspired by its deep roots in Peruvian culture. Alpaca is a significant piece of Peru’s textile industry. Alpacas have been revered since ancient times and the entire process from farming to spinning to the actual knitting of a final piece is a long-standing tradition of Peru. A difficult fiber to work with, techniques and processes have been passed down and perfected for years. Working closely with knitters in Lima, we feel strongly about continuing to support and preserve this tradition in Peru. When you purchase one of our alpaca products, not only are you receiving a beautiful high-quality piece that will be with you a lifetime, you are directly supporting the people that have built their community around this amazing fiber as well.
Alpaca photos courtesy of Michell Group