The alpaca is part of the camelid family and is indigenous to Peru. They’re herd animals and hardy to the environment so can be found grazing in fields across many different climates. Alpacas are friendly and sociable; over the centuries their coats have been used to make beautiful clothes because alpaca yarn has so many attractive properties.
Perhaps the greatest of these properties is just how warm alpaca yarn is for its weight. The graphic above shows the reason why the alpaca wool is considered to be one of the warmest available in the world.
Alpaca coats have many more extremely fine hairs, in comparison to other animals. These fine hairs trap air creating an insulating layer next to the alpaca’s skin. Air, has a very low thermal conductivity, and by trapping still air between fur fibres heat loss is reduced (Scholander et al. 1950).
The graphic also highlights that some alpaca hairs contain small hollow spaces inside them. This air space within the fibres further helps to provide the superior insulation properties of alpaca fur. These characteristics means alpaca yarn is warmer and lighter than other animal fibres and is why we at Pacastyle use only 100% alpaca yarn in our knitwear and nothing else.
Your alpaca jumper or alpaca hat is also:
- Lighter, softer, and more durable than other natural fibres
- Hypoallergenic and easy on your skin
The ancient Incan empire treasured their alpacas, understanding the superior qualities of their yarn. They sheared them and processed their fur to create clothes for Incan society. The rougher fibres were used for everyday people and the finer fur reserved for the upper classes and royalty.
Thousands of years later, we still treasure the alpaca and the benefits are still clear. We use the best so that you feel like the best.
K.E. Moore, D. Blache, S.K. Maloney Fiber diameter and insulation in alpacas: The biophysical implications, Small Ruminant Research, 2011, 96, pp165-172.
Yocom-McColl’s Darkroom in Fyberspace. URL: http://www.ymccoll.com/fibers.html
[30 May 2015].