ALPACA'S HABITATThe Alpaca is an animal indigenous to the Peruvian Andean highlands. It belongs to the same family as the llama , guanaco and vicuña, and lives in the high mountain foothills and plateaux, at altitudes of 5,000 to 5,000+ metres above sea level, where it tolerates temperatures that fluctuate between 32ºF and 104ºF in a single day.
Thanks to a series of factors and a unique combination of natural circumstances, such as protein-free feed of ychu (natural Andean grass) and fungi plus extremely harsh weather conditions, these animals produce a fine hair of remarkable softness, fineness, length, and strength , in different shades of colour. All these features make alpaca a highly valued speciality textile fibre.
The production of alpaca fibre is not very great in comparison with that of other natural fibres such as wool or mohair: tho total population of these animals in South America is only around 5 million, of which about 80% are found in the highlands of southern Peru, where they are mostly still owned and raised by small native communities, as they have been since ancient Inca times.
TYPES OF ALPACA
» SURIhis is least predominant type of alpaca, and its main feature is its long, shiny, silky hair, similar to that of the mohair.
This animal is thinner and longer-haired. Apparently th reason for its lower resistance to the harsh climate, but it is considered a superior type of alpaca, because of its handsome figure and specific hair characteristics. It is much sought after by the alpaca producers.
Nearly 90% of the suris are white, brown, and grey.
PRODUCTSThe production of the spun one has a strict quality control is enforced at all stages of the production line, with the help of a fully equipped textile laboratory.
QUALITIESTje first step before processing the alpaca fibre is to sort it into its different qualities of colour, length and fineness.
BABY ALPACAThis is the premium alpaca quality, obtained by selecting the finest hairs from the first shear of the animal and by special re-sorting of the bulk fleeces. It is very fine and extremely soft to the touch and can be blended with other natural fibres such as silk, mohair or merino wool.
SURIThis is a unique long, lustrous, silky fibre produced by the suri type of alpaca. The colour range is limited mostly to white, plus some fawns and browns. Due to its special characteristics, suri fibre is recommended mainly for weaving purposes. It can also be blended with silk, mohair or merino wool.
ALPACA FIBRE PROPERTIESLa fibra de alpaca pertenece al grupo conocido como una especie de fibra natural, debido a sus propiedades particulares podemos resumir como sigue:
|Naturales colores||mayor a 24|
|Abrigador||Mejor que la lana|
|Resistente a arrugas||Mejor que la lana|
|Resistencia||Mejor que la lana|
|Adsorción de agua||Similar a la lana|
|Flexibilidad||Mejor que la lana|
|Encogerse||Menos que la lana|