Alpaca Products NZ

Alpacas are ideally suited to the lifestyle farmer and can be farmed on a much smaller area than traditional farm livestock. Their padded feet cause less damage to pasture and they are modified ruminants so eat much less grass than sheep.

There are two types of alpacas – Suri and Huacaya. Huacayas have fibre that hangs loose in long ‘dreadlocks’ while Suri have shorter, denser, fluffier fibre.

Alpaca Fleece

Alpaca fleece is warm and soft, unlike sheep wool, but without its potentially itchy nature. It’s also more resistant to external water penetrations than other fabrics, and wicks moisture away from the skin like cotton. Its thermal regulating properties allow the fabric to be cool in hot weather and warm in cold, so it can be worn all year round.

Alpaca farmers earn a basic income from the sale of their animals’ end products and often sell their fleece at local markets, crafts fairs, or online. They can then use the money to pay for feed, veterinary care and other expenses associated with herding alpacas.

The fleece of huacaya and suri alpacas can be used to craft sweaters, hats, gloves and other winter garments. Huacaya alpacas produce a dense, soft, crimped fiber, while suri alpacas have silky pencil-like locks that are better suited for woven fabrics. The softer texture and natural sheen of the fiber also make it more desirable than other types of animal-based yarns for high-end clothing.

Alpaca Knitwear

Alpaca knitwear is a soft and warm addition to any wardrobe. It comes in a variety of colours, from light natural tones to rich deep hues, and can be dyed to match any colour scheme. It is also naturally moisture wicking, keeping the wearer warm and dry for longer, and is odor resistant.

The preparing, carding, spinning and weaving process for alpaca is very similar to that used for sheep wool, and it can be woven into hats, scarves and sweaters. It can also be knitted into shawls and blankets. Alpaca yarns can be grouped into two types: Huacaya and Suri. Huacaya has more natural crimp and is better suited to knitting. Suri has less crimp, so it is more suitable for woven fabric.

When working with alpaca it is important to use the correct needle size for the project. It can also be slippery and requires a slightly rough surface to prevent stitches from slipping off the needles. Also, it is not as elastic as wool, so it’s a good idea to make a swatch before committing to a larger project.

Alpaca Scarves

The cold weather calls for a warm scarf and our 100% Baby Alpaca Shawl is the perfect accessory. The soft oversized scarf fends off the elements while adding style to your look.

Alpaca wool is warmer, lighter and softer than cashmere while being hypoallergenic. This natural fibre has an incredible insulating capacity and can hold its shape longer than other wools.

It also has smoother fiber scales, which create a silky texture and wick away moisture from the skin. The unique nature of the fibre has allowed it to thrive over millennia of breeding in the Andean highlands. It is able to handle drastic temperature shifts – from sub-zero temperatures at night to high solar radiation during the day – and retain warmth. It is also resistant to pilling, shrinkage and is water-resistant. It is naturally breathable, with no lanolin like that of sheep’s wool. This makes it hypoallergenic and ideal for people with sensitive skin.

Alpaca Yarns

The fabric that alpacas produce is extremely warm, but maintains a lightweight nature. It can be spun into yarns for sweaters and shawls that feel luxuriously soft to the touch. This wool is also water resistant and repels odor.

Alpaca products NZ are often kept in small herds and raised by families. They are rarely mass-produced and the fiber they produce has a negligible impact on the environment. The animals’ soft hooves are gentle on the earth, and they are a much less disruptive herd than sheep, goats or cotton, which need artificial fertilizers and harsh chemicals to thrive in large-scale production.

Once the raw fiber is shorn, it is manually classified by expert hands according to color, quality and length. It then goes through the process of being carded, which is a method of combing multiple wool fibers into thicker threads. This can be done using a drop spindle, which looks similar to a spinning top or a wheel, and a pushka, which is a hand-held device that uses gravity to combine the carded wool.