What makes alpacas so special?
Alpacas are members of the South American camelid family and closely resemble llamas. They orginally and still reside mainly in the mountains of Peru in the South Andes Region. Alpacas were imported from Peru into the United States up to the late 1990's. Since then, the North American alpaca population has grown through domestic breeding. There are a little over 240,000 alpacas in the United States today. Peru has approximately 2 million alpacas.
The alpaca is renowned for its fine and sumptious hair which is shorn annually to be made into yarn for fine garments.
Their fiber comes in 22 natural colors. Their fiber is very strong yet very soft. It is naturally hypoallergenic because it has no lanolin like Sheep's fiber and the outside of the folicle is smooth. Alpaca hair folicles are hollow which traps air and holds heat while wicking away moisture. It dyes beautifully. The fleece is a spinners and knitters gold.
Alpacas are kind to the earth as they have leathery foot pads with two toes on each foot. They eat hay and minerals.
Alpacas can adapt to extreme conditions because of their fiber. They can live in altitudes of more than 13,000 ft (4,000 m) and withstand temperatures as low as 5°F (-15°C).