What is baby alpaca wool?
Alpacas originate from the South American Andes, in particular, Peru, where they graze at elevations of 10,000 to 14,000 feet. Their thick sumptuous coats have been utilised for thousands of years with the wool from baby alpacas in particular, being considered so luxurious that it was once reserved for Inca royalty.
There are two main breeds of alpaca; the Huacaya alpaca which has a dense and curly crimped coat, and the Suri alpaca which has more lustrous but less curly hair that hangs down the body with a middle parting down its back.
The fleece of alpacas is harvested annually in a humane way by shearing them in a similar way to how sheep are shorn each spring. Baby alpaca wool comes from the underside of the neck of the alpaca, where the fleece is the finest and softest. The fleece that is sheared in the first clip, generally when the alpacas are under one-year-old, is classified as baby alpaca wool.
Once the baby alpaca fibres have been harvested, they are spun into yarn and thread. Though baby alpaca wool naturally occurs in various shades of white, grey, brown and black, it can also be dyed any other colour once it has been made into fabric.
As it such an expensive and luxurious fibre, baby alpaca wool is often blended with other fabric such as wool.
Properties and qualities
Baby alpaca fibre is exceptionally fine with a diameter of 21 to 23 microns (to compare, adult alpaca fibres are more variable in diameter being anything from 18 to 25 microns in diameter). This is close to the fineness of cashmere which has an average diameter of 19 microns. Baby alpaca fibre is also hollow, lightweight, durable, hypoallergenic and has a soft natural lustre.
Baby alpaca wool is also exceptionally warm, as the hollow alpaca fibres act as an insulator to keep warm air in. It is long-lasting and lightweight making it a comfortable and versatile choice for clothing and blankets. Its soft lustre gives it a gentle sheen and its hypoallergenic qualities make it an excellent choice for those who suffer from allergies.
How does it feel?
Baby alpaca wool is exceptionally soft due to the fineness of the baby alpaca fibres. It is generally considered to be softer than traditional alpaca wool. For best results, refer to the care instructions on your baby alpaca wool product.
We recommend hand washing or dry cleaning all baby alpaca wool products.