Description : Alpaca is a wool-like fibre obtained from a small llama-like domesticated animal called an alpaca. These animals graze in the Andes of Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, and northern Chile. Alpaca wool is soft, durable, silky and luxurious, however, it is also weaker and coarser than sheep's wool. It can be either light or heavy weight, depending upon how it is spun. It is warmer than sheep's wool, less prickly but has no lanolin, hence it is not water-repellant. It also has less elasticity than sheep's wool.
Fabrication :
Subtypes :
Dyes, color treatment and washing characteristics : Alpaca wool does not accept dye readily. As a result, it is often used in its natural coloring, which ranges from a reddish brown through cream and tan colors to various shades of grey. Press right side down using a "wool" setting on the iron.
Draping properties :
Cutting properties : Fabric will slip on the cutting surface, so it needs to be held down with weights and/or cut against a matte surface. Serge or zigzag edges to stop them unraveling.
Sewing challenges : Avoid using fusible interfacing. When sewing knits, you may need to using a walking foot.
Example creations :
Uses worldwide :
Origins and history : Alpaca animals have been bred for their wool over thousands of years. They are actually a derivative species of the vicuña animal. Alpaca wool was exported first to Spain in the late 18th century, and then to other destinations within Europe. Alpaca wool was successfully spun and incorporated into fabrics only after means were discovered to blend the wool with cotton. These days, alpaca wool is usually blended with other wools such as merino wool. Alpacas were exported to other countries over the past few decades, including the US, New Zealand and Australia, where their wool is harvested by annual shearing.
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