The soft-as-cashmere-like fleece of the Alpaca was once
only used for garments of Incan royalty. Today it is
available to anyone from the large industrial weavers,
to the knitter at home. It's used in an array of hats,
sweaters, scarves, and many others.
Alpacas fiber is soft and
lighter, warmer, and stronger than other fibers,
including wool. The fiber comes in more colors
than that of any other
fiber-producing animal -- twenty-two basic colors!
Each spring the alpacas are
clipped -- no injury is incurred to the animal. An
adult produces from six to twelve pounds of fiber.
The largest alpaca textile
industry today is in Arequipa, Peru. Products are sold
mainly in Japan and Europe. In the United States, many
breeders have also begun sales of the fleece either in
its original state, or in skeins ready for knitting or
crocheting. Spun into yarn, it sells for $2 to $10 an