Monday, 8 November 2010

Fibres: Alpaca

[caption id="attachment_2755" align="alignright" width="280" caption="Alpaca fibres, spun and knitted"][/caption]

Alpacas are a part of the camelid family and were first domesticated about 6000 years ago in the central Andes. Alpaca fibres have been found by archaeologists in graves and religious sites predating the Inca Empire in South America. The fibre itself can be found in 22 distinct colours, ranging from blacks through browns and whites, and including subtle shades of maroon, peach and greys. It is a very fine fibre that contains no oil or lanolin. At the moment South America is still where most Alpaca herds can be found although herds are spread across the world in North America, Australia, Europe and China.

Working with Alpaca fibre
Alpaca fibre is very fine but strong and with thermal qualities. It can be blended/carded with other fibres and is known to dye well without loosing it's sheen. Alpaca is becoming more and more popular for use amongst crafts people and because of it's qualities the demand is expected to increase.

Have you tried spinning, knitting or in other ways using Alpaca fibre? Share your experience with us in the comments below.

The images in this post are copyright of Eddie Roued-Cunliffe. You are hereby granted permission to use them for non-commercial purposes as long as you credit Eddie and link back to this page. If you are using them and talking about this post I would love to hear from you in the comments.

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