The Huacaya alpaca Alpacas have a gentle, sensitive and reserved character while being curious by nature. They are completely harmless animals. They are gregarious, that is to say they like to live in herds, and very rustic. They adapt well to our cold climate. Alpaca fiber is six times warmer than sheep’s wool, and it does not contain lanolin. This fiber is hypoallergenic and can be worn by the most sensitive skin without causing any discomfort. The fiber is available in several shades that correspond to the natural colors of the alpaca and which can vary between white, beige, brown, through black and gray. In fact, the fiber is classified according to 22 natural colors recognized by the various associations of alpaca breeders.
On the farm, we raise our alpacas with the goal of obtaining the best quality fiber possible. To achieve this, we believe that finesse and ripple, ”the crimp”, are the essential characteristics to be transmitted and improved from generation to generation. Above all, we want to succeed in generating subjects with a fine fiber like cashmere and wavy like merino wool.
The fineness of the fiber is determined by its diameter which is measured in microns, one micron is equivalent to one thousandth of a millimeter. The fineness of alpaca fiber varies greatly from 15 to 35 microns. To be as fine as cashmere, this fiber must be under 20 microns. To be able to be worn on the face and neck, the fiber must be under 23 microns. The ripple, on the other hand, makes it possible to obtain greater elasticity, which helps the knitwear to better preserve its initial shape after having been worn and washed.
Alpaca fiber is harvested once a year by shearing the animals. With us, shearing usually takes place around mid-May. We harvest an average of 5 to 6 pounds of fiber per animal. Then begins the laborious task of cleaning the fleeces, that is to say, we must remove from our fleeces all inconsistent fibers as well as all vegetable matter and other contaminants. The fiber is then washed, dried, shredded, carded, spun, rewashed and then skeined. Everything is done right here on the farm in an artisanal way!
Life expectancy: 15 to 25 years
Weight: 50 to 90 kg
Size: 75 to 100cm
Gestation: about 11 and a half months