Alpaca wool is noted for its strength, warmth and smoothness. It’s less scaly than wool, making it less prickly and contains no lanolin, the cause of many wool allergies. This makes alpaca the perfect yarn if you’re knitting for a friend or family member who normally cannot enjoy woollen items.
When processed, alpaca wool is classified according to its micron count - in simple terms its softness quotient. Baby alpaca is the finest and softest classification, followed by superfine, fine and Suri. Alpaca fibre is smooth and comfortable against the skin. It is often blended with wool fibres for easier working and elasticity and each alpaca fibre is hollow, making it very lightweight.
The alpaca belongs to the camelid family, which includes camels, llamas, guanacos and vicunas. More than three quarters of the world population of alpaca live in Peru. Indeed an Incan’s man wealth would be calculated in fabrics made from alpaca wool. So bestow a friend with some wealth by knitting them a cosy scarf, hat or gloves.