There is nothing better than a baby bundled head to toe in warm and cozy knits. However, the harmful effects of cashmere and most wools on the environment had us desperate to find an alternative. Insert– alpaca wool. Not only are our alpaca sweaters just as soft and cuddle-worthy as cashmere, but they are much better for Mother Earth.
Alpacas are native to the Andes Mountains in South America and were domesticated by the Incas more than 6,000 years ago. Because of its quality, alpaca fiber was reserved exclusively for the elite and nobility. Here are 7 more reasons why we love alpaca wool:
1. Not Itchy & Hypoallergenic
Alpaca fleece is lanolin-free and hypoallergenic. It’s made up of fibers much smoother than sheep’s wool, which can have tiny microscopic scales along the strands that make clothing feel scratchy.
2. An Amazing Insulator
Each individual strand of alpaca wool is hollow, which helps create a strong barrier from harsh temperatures while at the same time remaining a lightweight and breathable fabric.
3. Super Durable
Alpaca fibers are 2-3 times the length of cashmere fibers, which means your beautiful knits will last wash after wash and resist pilling for heirloom-quality hand-me-downs.
4. Naturally Colorful
Alpaca wool comes in 16 natural tones recognized by the textile industry, which makes harsh chemical dyes unnecessary and completely avoidable.
5. Small Environmental Footprint - Literally
An alpaca drinks less water than a goat, and produces 3-4 times more wool. Alpacas also have soft padded feet that are gentle on the terrain, and they graze without destroying root systems.
Though alpaca wool is an animal product, it’s gathered humanely in a process which relieves alpacas of their heavy coat in time for summer. Alpacas are raised in natural environments and are not farmed for meat.
7. It Comes From A Super Friendly Animal
Alpacas are known to be curious, affectionate and respond well to children. They hum to express their feelings and become sad when separated from loved ones. They can be kept as a family pet, and are easily housebroken.
Just as certain parts of a cow produce prime cuts, so do specific sections of an alpaca produce prime fibers. A sweater made of “super baby” (those finest of under-hairs, not actually shorn from baby alpacas)alpaca can rival its cashmere counterpart when it comes to softness, and outdo it when it comes to strength. Baby Alpaca is the creme de la creme of alpaca yarn.