Alpaca fleece is the natural fiber harvested from an alpaca. Alpaca fibers are hollow making them light weight. It is a soft, durable, luxurious and silky natural fiber. While similar to sheep’s wool, it is warmer, not prickly, and has no lanolin, which makes it hypoallergenic. Alpaca is naturally water-repellent. The preparing, carding, spinning, weaving and finishing process of alpaca is very similar to the process used for wool. When alpaca fiber is processed, it is evaluated and sorted into one of several categories based on its micron count (in layman’s terms: the softness quotient). Micron count is a technical measurement determined by studying a sample of alpaca fleece and calculating the average diameter of the shaft of each fiber. The lower the number, the finer the fiber. Baby is the finest 21-23 microns, Superfine is next 24-26 microns, and Suri is the coarsest 27 -28 microns.
An alpaca is a domesticated species of South American camelid. It resembles a small llama in appearance. Alpacas are kept in herds that graze on the level heights of the Andes of southern Peru, northern Bolivia, Ecuador, and northern Chile at an altitude of 3,500 m (11,500 ft) to 5,000 m (16,000 ft) above sea level. Alpacas are considerably smaller than llamas, and unlike llamas, they were not bred to be beasts of burden, but were bred specifically for their fiber. Alpaca fiber is used for making knitted and woven items, similar to wool.