Aquitaine Alpacas
 
 

Fibre

We offer a selection of fleeces for sale in Dark Fawn, Light Fawn and White. Also extra fine baby fleece.

The alpaca was revered by the Incas for the incredibly soft, lightweight and lustrous fleece it produced. This was made into garments worn only by Inca royalty, so great was its luxury and value.

Today, alpaca continues to be considered one of the most sought after luxury fibres available, comparable to cashmere but lacking its tendency to pill and almost matching silk for its strength. It carries warmth without weight and is naturally hypo-allergenic due to its lack of lanolin.

Alpaca comes in 22 natural colours ranging from white, fawn and grey to the darkest of chocolate browns and black. This represents the largest available natural colour range of any other fleece producing animal, cutting the need for chemical dyeing and reducing the processing time, to make a ‘greener’ product whilst also retaining all the qualities of the wool.

Though white is known to carry the finest diameter of fleece due to being consistently bred for over centuries, the other colours are continuing to be refined through selectively breeding from fine fleeced coloured animals.

The micron of a fibre is related to its fineness and the crimp is related to its curvature. Quality animals will generally produce fibre of between 18 to 27 microns with a well defined crimp. Some external factors can alter the micron count of the wool from one year’s shearing to another, and generally the ageing process and ill health in an otherwise low micron producing animal can account for a rise in the micron count, as can the quality of feed the animal receives.

The cream of the alpaca crop is ‘baby’ produced by crias or any animal with a fleece less than 18µ. This finest of fibres is used predominantly for highest quality end products, such as shawls and lace knits.

Suri fleece differs from huacaya in that it grows in long, freeflowing staples and has much greater lustre. Suris are generally shorn every two years to attain the best fibre length for processing.