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Alpaca- what's the deal?

(6 Posts)
FGM Thu 09-Sep-10 15:12:20

I keep seeing alpaca and alpaca blends in knitwear but have not (knowingly) worn it before. It's llama wool isn't it??? I've always imagined it to feel wiry or rough, not that I've been that close to a llama recently...

How does it compare with merino/ shetland wool/ cashmere etc, oh ladies who know?

moragbellingham Thu 09-Sep-10 15:16:28

I had a coat once - very nice and warm, not sure about in knitwear though.

I'm biased as one spat in my face at a farm a few months back. Hate 'em.

florenceuk Thu 09-Sep-10 15:27:23

Alpaca is produced by alpacas which are NOT llamas but are llama-like (if you get what I mean) being specially bred to produce nice soft hair. Alpaca is a fine fibre which is hollow (like cashmere) so it is very warm for its weight and finer (in terms of "thin-ness") than wool. You can get different grades (baby alpaca, alpaca fine etc) depending on where it was taken from. Some people who are allergic to wool because of the lanolin will not be allergic to alpaca. However, IME good quality cashmere is still softer. Go into your nearest John Lewis and the knitting section may have an alpaca blend and cashmere blends - you can compare! I have a lovely hat made out of alpaca but you need to really have a feel to see if you are sensitive at all.

On different types of wool, Shetland wool is rougher and more "woolly" than merino which is specially bred to be very fine - the standard we're all used to. Remember that scratchy knitwear your gran used to knit - chances are it was Shetland wool . For nice soft knitwear, pick something like a cashmere/merino wool blend.

purplepeony Thu 09-Sep-10 18:20:49

It's a bit like cashmere- i have a Jigsaw jumper with it in and it's very soft and lightweight.

FGM Thu 09-Sep-10 21:30:29

Thanks- very informative. I shall have a little feel in Jigsaw or JL. And if something takes my fancy I shall try hard not to imagine the ill-mannered beast from whence it came. wink

serin Thu 09-Sep-10 22:10:38

I love Alpacas, they are the cutest, gentlest creatures ever and I want one.

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