Alpaca fiber is considered one of the world’s most luxurious natural fibers. As soft as cashmere and warmer, stronger and lighter than wool it has the added advantage of being ‘colored by nature’ in a wide range of natural colors from white through the fawns and browns to grey and black – 22 distinct colors. It can also be easily dyed any color while retaining its natural luster. Unlike sheep’s wool it does not contain lanolin making processing easier and it has a smoother scale structure than wool giving it a soft handle with a less scratchy feel.
Alpaca can be hand or mill spun into yarn and then knitted into warm yet light weight garments, or woven into fabric, from fine gabardine to more bulky tweeds. Because of its unique silky feel alpaca is highly sought after by hand spinners and weavers as well as the commercial fashion industry.
The options for selling your fiber in various forms from raw fiber to finished goods are increasing rapidly. A breeder can join organized Co-ops for the commercial processing of the fleece or process their own. Many breeders sell their products from the farm or on the internet while others sell at shows and fairs. For many, the sale of fiber and fiber products provides a good means of revenue to help cover their overhead expenses each year.