Is alpaca fibre hypoallergenic?

 

Have you ever wondered what makes alpaca "poor man's cashmere?" You may have asked yourself, "Is alpaca fibre hypoallergenic? Why is it so soft? Why are there different kinds?" We're here to answer the call! 

Alpaca fibre has skyrocketed in popularity in the last 10 years. Suddenly, alpaca farms are cropping up everywhere, and spinners, knitters, and crocheters alike are in love with this super soft yet affordable fibre. Just like wool, there are different breeds of alpacas that have slightly different textured fibre. In addition, there's also baby alpaca fibre, which isn't only produced from baby alpacas! 

Alpacas have been bred across South America for hundreds of years, and were originally used to make clothing for royalty. A smaller species called the vicuna is still incredibly rare, and produce the world's most expensive yarn. Alpacas, though, are hardy creatures bred for tough mountain environments. Nowadays, a large male alpaca can produce 7kg of fibre, with 3kg of that being high quality fibre for spinning yarn. The rest of the fleece can be blended with other fibres to create woven textiles for clothing and accessories. 

Alpacas are popular due to their friendly temperament and their low impact on the environment. The only thing better than economical, super soft fibre is knowing that it didn't cause a large carbon footprint too! 

Alpaca fibre hypoallergenic

So, what makes alpaca fibre hypoallergenic?

Sheep's wool has a naturally occurring oil called lanolin, which some unlucky people have an allergy to. While most yarns are treated to remove most of the lanolin, those with allergies have a super sensitivity to the oil. Alpacas, however, do not produce any lanolin! The fibres have a unique construction and a natural waterproofing that means they don't need to produce the oil at all. 

Some people might have sensitive skin, and may prefer non-animal fibres like cotton and bamboo, but alpaca is indeed hypoallergenic. Exciting news for those with wool allergies!

Ready to take the plunge? Here are some alpaca yarn options! 

Pure alpaca yarns

Amano Apu: 100% imperial alpaca fibre (click here to learn more)

Rooster Yarns 4-ply Alpaca: 100% superfine alpaca fibre (click here)

Alpaca blend yarns

Yarn Stories Fine Merino and Alpaca DK: 70% merino, 30% alpaca (click here)

Manos del Uruguay Serena: 70% baby alpaca, 30% pima cotton (click here)

Rooster Almerino Aran: 50% merino wool, 50% baby alpaca (click here)

Rowan Alpaca Soft DK (pictured in the header on this page): 70: virgin wool, 30% alpaca (click here)

Want to search for yourself? Click here to see all alpaca fibre yarns!