April A-Z knitting – A is for Alpaca

I have decided to do the April A-Z blog challenge. I saw someone on FB mention it and I thought I would give it a try. I am not sure where it started or who is hosting it and I am sure that I could go and dig and find out. But seeing as it is the 1st April and I have 2 of the 3 kids out of the house and the 3rd playing minecraft I thought I would just start. I am going to do my A-Z on a fibre/knitting/crafting theme so here goes.

Alpaca

The first Alpaca that I have ever knit with was Baby Alcapa from Michelle at Hartlam

I got it to knit a Lapsang hat by Clare Devine for my sister for her birthday. It was honestly the softest yarn I have ever knitted with and it was rather hard to give away. There was some concern that she may be allergic to it being an asthmatic, I will not openly admit to wishing just a tiny bit that she was allergic to it 🙂

I really want to make myself as the pattern is brilliant and the hat is reversible which is very cool. And an added bonus is that knitting with such a chunky yarn you get a hat in about 4 hours!

I really want my own Alpaca, look at how cute they are!! This is just a screen grab from googling Aplaca. Don’t you want one? Come on how see do they look. Not sure it gets cold enough in Cape Town for them to grow a decent coat though. Maybe I will just have to be happy with visiting some one day.
Screen Shot 2015-04-01 at 12.21.23 PM

But as a knitter what makes Alpaca so great, I turned to the source of all knowledge WikiPedia

Alpaca fleece is the natural fiber harvested from an alpaca. It is light or heavy in weight, depending on how it is spun. 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 and difficult to ignite. Huacaya, an alpaca that grows soft spongy fiber, has natural crimp, thus making a naturally elastic yarn well-suited for knitting. Suri has no crimp and thus is a better fit for woven goods. The designer Armani has used Suri alpaca to fashion men’s and women’s suits. Alpaca fleece is made into various products, from very simple and inexpensive garments made by the aboriginal communities to sophisticated, industrially made and expensive products such as suits.
In the United States, groups of smaller alpaca breeders have banded together to create “fiber co-ops,” to make the manufacture of alpaca fiber products less expensive.
The preparing carding, spinning, weaving and finishing process of alpaca is very similar to the process used for wool.

Have you knitted with Alpaca, did you enjoy it? What have you made?

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