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From the Andes to your Dog loving home

The alpaca was domesticated around 7,000 years ago providing food, clothing, and transportation for humans throughout the Andean countries of South America. Members of the South American camel family, alpacas graze in the high plain regions at elevations of 10,000 to 14,000 feet.

As the principal material of Incan textiles for thousands of years, alpaca fiber has always been highly sought after. Alpaca yarns were highly valued during the Inca period for their textiles qualities and were used exclusively to make robes for the nobility.

Alpaca wool is harvested from the alpaca, a Camelid that is native to the high, remote Andean plains of South America. The South American Camelid family also includes Guanacos, Llamas and Vicuñas. With an estimate of only three million alpacas worldwide, some 90% of which are found in the southern regions of Peru, the alpaca is one of the rarest species on Earth.

The world of high fashion recognizes alpaca fiber for its natural attributes: its fineness, durability, and hypoallergenic and lightweight qualities. Their thick, sumptuous coats grow naturally in over 40 shades from ivory to black, and every grey and brown shade between.

Alpaca fiber: the gold of the Andes

Seven reasons why we love alpaca

At Alqo Wasi we are convinced that the high quality of our products is the result of careful attention to small details, both by the skillful hands of our craftsmen as well as by the quality of the materials.

  1. Natural thermostat: The structure of the alpaca fiber allows this to function as an insulator. It traps body heat in cooler temperatures and releases it in the warmer ones. Contains microscopic air pockets that enclose the air inside the hair and, depending on the external temperature, can expand and contract.
  2. Pilling: The silky fiber and long hairs of alpaca wool allow less pilling compared to other fibers.
  3. Animal-friendly: Alpaca is not harmed during the shearing process. Breeders use special techniques to shear alpacas correctly and without hurting them.
  4. Softness (hand): Alpaca fiber is silky, soft, supple, and smooth to the touch. It is prized for its unique silky feel and luxurious handle. Alpaca is as soft as cashmere and warmer and stronger than lamb’s wool.
  5. Elasticity and Resistance: Alpaca fiber is unusually strong, resilient, and has very good elasticity, making it possible to compare it with wool and other animal fibers.
  6. Lanolin-free: Lanolin is grease found in most sheep’s wool that protects the fiber, imparts a “unique” odor, and is the cause of wool allergies. Alpaca fiber does not itch, and it is hypoallergenic.
  7. Does not preserve humidity: The absorption of environmental humidity is low. Alpaca fiber is naturally water-resistant.

Alpaca Excellence: The Gold of the Andes

Alpaca-Fiber - Alqo Wasi

Rarer than cashmere, warmer than wool

Alpaca and cashmere wool are comparable when it comes to fiber fineness, but alpacas can produce around 10 lbs of fleece a year compared to the 4 oz of cashmere produced by a goat per year. Alpaca fibers are also 3x the length of cashmere fibers. This greater uniformity of fiber in alpaca products results in a softer feel.

Compared to sheep wool of similar weight, alpacas produce more fibers and more fibers are retained after processing. It can take up to four goat’s shearings to make one cashmere sweater, but one alpaca shearing can create four sweaters.

An eco-friendly animal

To yield good yarn, alpacas need to be happy. That is why they are treated with great care and bred in their natural habitat, so they don’t interfere with the delicate balance of the local ecosystem.

Alpacas have soft, padded feet that do not tear into topsoil like the hooves of sheep and goats can. Damage to topsoil can increase erosion and decrease soil fertility. Unlike sheep and goats, alpacas do not pull up grass from the roots when they graze. Rather, they cut off the tops of the grasses with their teeth, leaving the root system to continue to grow new leaves and preserving the topsoil.

Alpacas are virtually never raised for their fur in the Andes. They are necessarily sheared once a year for their own health to prevent disease and illnesses that arise when their fleece becomes too long or matted. The shearing of alpaca is a historic Peruvian practice that is typically grounded in the wellbeing of this peaceful and valuable animal.

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