The visiting card of the camelid family is found everywhere, from packs of famous brand cigarettes to camel wool blankets. But it is just camel wool that is quite coarse and does not enjoy special respect among weavers. But the “ships of the desert” have mountain relatives. It is even more correct to say – alpine. These are guanacos and vicuñas that live in South America in the Andes.
So about six thousand years ago, vicuñas were domesticated and alpaca, a supplier of the most valuable wool, were obtained. The animal is relatively small – up to a meter high and weighing about 70 kg, lives at an altitude of 3500-5000 m, day/night temperature drops reach 30 degrees.
Up to 5 kg of wool is removed from each alpaca per year. Moreover, they are not completely sheared like sheep, because the cold and damp highland climate will simply kill the animal. Why is wool so valuable? The fact is that alpaca wool is three times stronger and seven times warmer than sheep wool. The coat is very soft, delicate, but strong. It has many natural shades – black, white, and various brown tones. White wool lends itself well to dyeing. But the most important thing is that this wool is hypoallergenic – due to the absence of lanolin or other greases, which means there is no nutrition for dust mites that cause allergies.