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  • Is Alpaca Fleece Really Softer Than Cashmere?
    It can be. The fineness and softness of the fleece depends on the micron measurement. A micron is 1/25,000 of an inch. Suri flece averages between 24-28 microns and can measure less than 20 micron-which is as soft at cashmere. As a comparison, human hair ranges between 40-120 microns. A sheet of standard copy paper is 100 microns. Many farms produce extremely soft fleece through the selection of fleece traits of different animals in quality breeding programs.
  • Why is Alpaca Fleece Warmer Than Sheep Wool?
    Alpaca tends to be warmer than sheep’s wool. Alpaca fibers are completely hollow, whereas sheep’s wool only contains pockets of air. Similar to polar bear fur, alpaca fiber allow air to permeate the surface and become trapped inside for a warm wearing experience. Alpacas have an advantage over wool because of the extra hollow space in the fiber. This additional space creates a greater thermal capacity and allows for more warm air to fill the textile and provide extra warmth over its sheep’s wool counterpart. Alpaca absorbs little humidity from the surrounding environment and it thermally insulating, making it perfect for winter wear, as well as for accessories for outdoor sports such as hiking and skiing. Alpaca fleece is also very strong and with the correct care, it can last for years as it is virtually indestructible: just take a look at some of the ancient Peruvian textiles which have kept their color, shape and form even after 2000 years!
  • How is Alpaca Fleece Hypoallergenic?
    Alpaca fiber is considered hypoallergenic because it lacks lanolin. Lanolin is traditionally found in sheep’s wool and irritates many wearers upon contact.
  • Is Alpaca Fleece or Sheep Wool Waterproof?
    No, neither are waterproof, but alpaca does offer fantastic wicking properties. It is not 100% waterproof, but alpaca fleece is considered water repellent. Alpaca fibers are hollow so it traps more heat and naturally pushes the water away, never allowing wet fabric to sit on the skin. The water essentially evaporates as a result of the structure and warmth of the alpaca fiber. In comparison, wool will absorb between 30 - 50% of its body weight in moisture, but there is a saturation point for this textile. Unfortunately, saturated wool can cause sweat to sit next to the skin. This can cause discomfort, odor, and an increased likelihood of blisters. As you can see, alpaca fleece offers equivalent softness, more warmth and higher wicking properties than merino wool, and is also eco-friendly.
  • What is a Vicuna?
    Vicunas are the spirit and the life blood of the camelid families living in the high Andes. Unfortunately, due to their very valuable fleece vicunas were nearly hunted to extinction by the late l970s. Conservation efforts in Peru, Chile and Argentina have led to a resurgence in vicuna populations. Once again, due to careful management, vicunas can be found in healthy numbers in the Andes. Vicunas are members of the Camelidae family, of which there are three other living members in South America: the wild guanaco, the domestic llama and the alpaca. The smallest of all camels, the vicuna weighs about 90 pounds and stands just under three feet at the shoulder. Like all South American camel species, the vicuna has a long, supple neck; slender legs; padded, cloven feet; large round eyes; and a dense and fine tawny coat. The vicuna is a hardy survivor adapted to high altitudes, where drought and freezing nights are the rule. It is a natural pacer and well designed to travel fast for great distances. Keen eyesight allows early detection for flights to safety. The vicuna is the probable wild progenitor of the domestic alpaca, which was created by selective breeding about 6000 years ago. Entirely wild, vicunas live in small family groups led by a single territorial male that vigilantly repels rival males and small predators threatening the young. After 11 months of gestation, vicuna mothers give birth to one baby, known as a cria. Vicunas are highly communicative, signaling one another with body postures, ear and tail placement, and numerous other subtle movements. Their vocalizations include an alarm call -- a high pitched whinny -- that alerts the herd to danger.
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