Our society is becoming increasingly concerned with the sustainability. Renewable clothing options are just one way we can continue to grow as a sustainably culture.
One of the most common breeds, the Huacaya Alpaca is identifiable by its fluffier wool.
Another common breed, the Suri Alpaca is identifiable by its longer, shaggier wool.
Alpacas are herd animals. In order for them to thrive they need to live in larger groups. While this means slightly more to take care of, it also mean a continually larger amount of fiber produced.
Alpacas are curious, yet cautionary creatures. They are protective of their herd with the help of a herding dog. Alpacas are relatively easy to care for, especially compared to other livestock.
Alpacas must be shorn annually otherwise their ever increasing layer of wool can lead to over heating and possible death. They are typically shorn in spring and can yield approximately 5-10 pounds of fiber per alpaca. The alpacas pronk (their excited form of run/jumping) happily after shearing day.
Their wool is turned in to yarn that can be woven or knit into a number of items including socks, sweaters, hats, scarfs, and mittens. In comparison to sheep’s wool, alpaca wool is often considered warmer and silkier. Additionally, alpacas’ wool is considered hypoallergenic as they do not produce the sticky lanolin found in sheep’s’ wool.
In the future, consider clothing made of renewable alpaca wool.
Information for this photo essay courtesy of the owners of Humming Meadows Alpacas