Ben’s mother, Dale (the Sunflower quilt lady), always finds really creative and new things for us to do when we visit Kansas. We’ve been to the Omaha Zoo, the Cosmosphere Space Museum, and even to a tiger rescue ranch (since closed).
And this holiday visit we went to an Alpaca Farm called Alpacas of Wildcat Hollow. Dale also knits, so naturally we made some yarn purchases. (Fellow knitters, and friends of knitters know this was inevitable! Non-knitter Ben got socks instead.)
So this Christmas I received two beautiful hanks of 100% Alpaca in fingering weight with which I plan to make an amazing shawl. I am presently debating if this will be a good excuse to build my own pattern or not.
AND… she picked up a sport weight skein for me to knit her a wonderful scarf. Going for a more textured than lacy design as Kansas is cold, as in hide yo’ ears! hide yo’ toes! We gettin’ frostbite up in here!
So let’s talk Alpaca fiber.
Alpaca does not have lanolin like Sheep wool, which is apparently where most people with wool allergies run into issues! It also is less prickly, naturally water repellant, and a better heat insulator. Alpacas are closely related to llamas, but have finer fur for making yarn (It seems the llama, being larger with less fine fleece, is more of a pack animal, whereas the Alpaca is more of a fleece production animal). The fur is shorn from the animal much like sheep wool, but has a greater yield per fleece than sheep. There are 22 naturally occurring colors of Alpaca, and it maintains a nice luster even after dying!
So there’s a few bits about Alpaca, and something to look forward to working with in the coming new year!