13 Feb 2014

Wool Alpaca Peruvian


An Alpaca is a member of the Camelid family, descendants of camels, and most closely related to llamas.  Alpacas are small, gentle animals raised primarily for their soft, 
luxurious fiber. Their valuable fleece is harvested annually by shearing them similar to sheep. Llamas were raised for centuries in South America as beasts of burden; 
Alpacas have been bred for thousands of years for fine fiber. Alpacas are native to South American Andes Mountains and can be found in Chile, Bolivia, and Peru. Typically 
referred to as alpaca wool, alpaca fiber is an amazingly resilient substance which is suprisingly strong. Contained within two different layers on the alpaca, the fiber is quite 
easy to care for and tends to last for long periods of time. The color combinations for alpaca wool run the gamut, and are separated into 22 unique categories ranging from 
deep auburns, soft grays, saturated blacks and browns, whites, and earth-toned shades of peach. Alpaca fiber is also known to hold dyed colors quite well, for color 
combinations that don't occur naturally. Being a hollow core fiber, alpaca wool is an effective insulator during the winter, and breathes effectively to keep you cool in the 
warmer months. In addition, alpaca fiber is hypo-allergenic, making it an attractive alternative for sensitive skin consumers.

The Alpaca are raised in a stress-free natural setting environment that is grown without herbicides. They are not dipped in pesticide baths, and no chemicals, dyes, or 
bleaches have been used during the processing. Their fiber does not contain lanolin like sheep's wool, or grease, and is cleaned with natural products. Each shaft of Alpaca 
fiber has scales much like sheep, but they are closer to the shaft and have a more rounded edge, making the "prickly" factor less noticeable. Alpaca fiber is a perfect 
alternative for those that suffer from allergies to sheep's wool and feathers.
Sheep's wool has a different physical make-up than that of Alpaca fiber. The outside of each fiber of sheep's wool has pointed scales that rest farther away from the shaft, 
making it feel prickly when worn next to the skin. Strands of Alpaca fiber have scales too, but they are rounded at the edge, and are also closer to the shaft, giving that 
smoother cashmere like feel. Because the Alpaca strand is medullated, they are either hollow or partially hollow, allowing tremendous thermal capacity that allows for a 
breathable fiber with an insulating nature from both warm and cool temperatures. Sheep's wool contains lanolin, where alpaca fiber does not. 

Most people who are sensitive 
to wool products find that they are not sensitive to Alpaca. Alpaca doesn’t contain lanolin, which holds dust and microscopic allergens that create an allergy reaction to 
sheep's wool. The Amerindians of Peru used this fiber in the manufacture of many styles of fabrics for thousands of years before its introduction into Europe as a commercial 
product. The alpaca was a crucial component of ancient life in the Andes, as it provided not only warm clothing, but also meat. Many rituals and myths involved the alpaca, 
perhaps most notably the myth regarding the method of killing the animal: An alpaca was restrained by one or more people, and a specially trained person plunged his bare 
hand into the chest cavity of the animal, ripping out its heart.

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