Going Au Naturale…

…with yarn (what did you think I meant?).  I was lucky enough to be gifted some beautiful chocolate brown alpaca yarn recently.   Alpaca yarn is a gorgeous, all natural yarn that I instantly fell in love with.

First, a little bit about alpacas

Alpacas are amazing creatures.  If you have an alpaca farm near you, I suggest visiting just to meet them.
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Alpacas themselves are gentle, docile animals, and they don’t bite or butt, have sharp teeth, horns, hooves, or claws.  They have no offensive odor, generally do not attract flies in the summer (as other livestock does), are resilient to a range of weather climates, and are very intelligent. They are a very earth-friendly livestock as well–they have padded hooves that do not destroy the terrain and prefer only tender grasses for food, which they eat without tearing up the roots.

Indigenous to the South American Andes in Peru, alpacas today are domestically breed as a renewable and sustainable resource for their luxurious fiber.

Now, some info on alpaca yarn

Warm – Alpaca fibers contain microscopic air pockets, providing great insulation and keeping you warm during the winter, up to 5-7 times warmer than wool. These same air pockets allow for outstanding breathability, thus keeping you cool in the summer.

Lightweight – Alpaca fiber is lighter than virtually any other natural fiber, due to those same microscopic air pockets that help to reduce the weight of Alpaca fibers.

Strong – Alpaca wool fibers have great strength and durability. Since these animals needed to survive long, cold Andean winters, their coat is tough and strong. With proper care, items made from alpaca fiber can last longer than any other luxury fiber, including wool, cashmere, and silk.

Super Soft – Alpaca fiber is softer than most other natural fibers, and is often compared to cashmere in texture and feel.  This is partially due to the hollowness of the fiber (all those air pockets mentioned earlier), and due to the alignment of individual fibers in the wool itself.

Variety – Alpacas produce fiber in 22 natural colors – more than any other fiber-bearing animal – so you can have a range of colors without using any dyes or harsh chemicals.

Health and Wellness – Alpaca fiber has an antibacterial property that resists staining and odors, so items made from alpaca do not require as frequent washing as other textiles.  Similar to the live alpaca, the fiber does not attract or hold smells.   Alpaca fibers are naturally water- and fire-resistant, and do not contain lanolin (an oil in sheep’s wool that can cause irritation ) making alpaca fibers hypoallergenic.

Now that you know soooo much about alpacas, here is the yarn I got!

This is called a ‘hank’ of yarn, and must be round into a ball before you can use it.  It’s the first time I’ve ever encountered this, and it is not a very fun process if you aren’t careful.  Knots galore!  But eventually I ended up with a nice soft ball to work with.

Now, I’m thinking this will make a luxuriously soft and warm hat.  I did just get some circular knitting needles, so it’s time to break them in.  Stay tuned for the finished project!

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2 responses

  1. I’m glad you liked it! The more I learn about alpacas the more I fall in love with them. I’m visiting an alpaca farm later today and am very excited!

    I’ll definitely keep you all posted once the hat is complete 🙂

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