Alpacas are camelids raised in large herds that graze at altitudes from 3500 to 5000 meters in the Andes in Southern Peru, Northern Bolivia and Northern Chile. As opposed to other animals, Alpacas are raised exclusively for their precious wool which is praised for its thermal properties, its lightness and silky touch. So it's by chance that these fibers were once set aside to dress the Incan emporers. Compared to sheep's wool, Alpaca fibers are three times more resistant and seven times warmer.
In addition to our superfine Alpaca top (which is around 25 mircons and has always been in the DHG collection in the color natural white) we are introducing Baby Alpaca (with a size of 22 micron, it is obtianed from the hair of baby alpacas and is particularly prized for its fineness and silkiness) in three beautiful, natural colors: white, light brown and dark brown.
When beginning to felt, these fibers can lead you to make certain mistakes so be careful. Right away, the touch will not be as silk as you would expect however once dry they will be smooth and soft. In addition to the truly amazing handfeel, the main characteristic that makes this fiber great for felting is the the ability to felt very very resistant yet fine pieces in a relatively short amount of time In fact, the fibers are strong and long (around 85mm) and felt very quickly. Therefore the result is not only pleasant but working with them is pretty fun too.
Be careful however since these fibers tend to distribute themselves evenly within the piece and do not allow you to created clear patterns or graphic effects. However this does allow for extraordinary transparent effects.
Also, if you leave the edges of your work free and unfelted, you will enhance them with a fur-like effect.
All that is left to do now is experiment with the last of these felting fibers which I have presented to you. As you have probably understood by now, they all offer lots of different ways to work with them. Now it's just up to you to discover them. If you want, you can share your results with us. Enjoy!
If you liked this article maybe you would also enjoy Carded wool. Eva’s 10 tips for perfect felt.