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What to Expect When Knitting Alpaca Yarn

Whether you are working with commercially available yarn or small-batch yarns from a local alpaca grower, here are some tips to getting the most out of your alpaca projects.

Jacqueline Harp Aug 22, 2023 - 7 min read

What to Expect When Knitting Alpaca Yarn Primary Image

Photo by Joakim Honkasalo on Unsplash

For the uninitiated knitter, alpaca yarns can be intimidating and mysterious. Anyone who has browsed in a local yarn shop knows that those seductively soft skeins containing alpaca fiber are rare and expensive. But don’t let the mystery keep you from a sumptuous knitting experience.

Alpacas are small camelids originally from South America and can be found all over the world. They are unforgettably cute creatures, resembling a stack of marshmallows with huge, dewy eyes. There are two kinds of alpaca fibers: huacaya (wah-KY-ah), a dense, soft, crimpy fiber, and the rarer suri (SOO-ree), a silky fiber that grows in pencil-thin locks that resemble silk ribbons. Because suri fiber is so rare, you can assume that most yarns containing alpaca will be made from huacaya fiber unless the label specifies otherwise.

Benefits of Alpaca Yarn

Alpaca is beautifully fine, dense, soft, and smooth to the touch. It is also very warm and lustrous. The lack of lanolin makes alpaca a hypoallergenic option for those with sensitive skin. Alpaca comes in a variety of natural colors, from pure black to white, with silver grays and creamy browns. Dyed alpaca is available in an assortment of warm, earthy tones, pastels, and deep and bright hues.

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