Article: THE UNSUSPECTED WONDERS OF ALPACA FIBER
THE UNSUSPECTED WONDERS OF ALPACA FIBER
Origins of the Alpaca
Resembling a sheep with a long neck, the alpaca is a domestic animal of the Camelidae family, i.e. a cousin of the llama, the dromedary or the camel. Alpacas are native to South America and more particularly to the Andes Mountains (Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina). It is in Peru that we find the most alpacas, where they are considered a national treasure. Already at the time of the Incas, the alpaca wool was qualified as "fiber of the Gods" and its use was reserved to the Inca nobility.
The raising of the alpacas
Alpaca breeding has spread all over the world and access to alpaca fiber has become more accessible. Alpaca farms can be found in Canada starting in the 1990's. The breeding of alpacas has the advantage of being quite simple, since the animal is robust and healthy. Alpaca farms are generally family size and shearing is done only once a year, which makes this type of farming quite ecological.
The particularities and multiple advantages of alpaca fiber
Alpaca fiber is made like a long tube filled with air bubbles, much like hair, which makes it incredibly insulating, breathable and light. It repels moisture instead of absorbing it. It is one of the most luxurious and sought after natural fibers. Here is a non-exhaustive list of its advantages:
-Ultra strong. It is 3 times more resistant than sheep's wool.
-Super thermal. It is up to 7 times warmer than sheep's wool.
-Hypoallergenic. It does not contain lanolin (the natural oil in wool), the substance to which some people are intolerant or allergic. And that's why it's more appropriate to talk about alpaca "fiber" than alpaca "wool".
-Breathable. Thanks to its hollow fiber construction, it does not retain moisture and keeps you dry as well as warm. An ideal fiber for socks, insoles, or for people who have a tendency to perspire.
-Anti-odor. Thanks to its breathability, it does not retain odors.
-Ultra soft. It is as soft as cashmere. It does not sting or create static electricity.
-Lightweight. The fiber is light thanks to its air pockets, making it possible to make thermal garments that do not weigh much.
-Brightness and colors. Alpaca fiber has a natural sheen that remains even when dyed. It is said that there are up to 22 natural colors, but the main ones are beige, white, brown and black. Other colors are obtained during the spinning process, by combining different natural colors, or with dyes (usually natural, in Peru for example).
Alpaca socks: an essential!
To try them is to love them.
What is more important in cold weather than keeping your feet warm and dry? Alpaca fiber is ideal for that. No sweat, no humidity, no smell, just softness, fineness and lightness! We offer different models of socks, from the thinnest to the thickest, all made in Quebec with care! Durability and comfort are maximized by reinforcing the heel and toe areas and combining them with acrylic microfibers to protect against stocking distortion. Quality is assured at all levels. The amount of alpaca, used in these socks, remains unmatched on the market to this day! And we also carry New Brunswick-made insoles made from 85% alpaca with wool and hemp. The winter experience is sure to be soft and comfortable!
Discover our collection of ultra comfortable socks
Maintenance of your alpaca garments
-Wash in cold water with a mild detergent, ideally by hand, or possibly in the machine on a delicate cycle (for socks for example).
-Avoid wringing to avoid deforming the garment.
-Dry flat. Do not use a dryer as it could deform or felt your garment.