Know your yarns: Alpaca

Another useful Fibre profile

Continuing with our occasional look at the different yarns and fibres we can use in our knitting and crochet, we turn to alpaca which is soft, cosy and drapes beautifully.

Where does the yarn come from?

Alpaca yarn comes from the fleeces of alpacas, a South American camelid related to Llamas. The animals originate in the Andes but are increasingly bred and farmed in Europe.

Although, due to selective breeding, the most common colour is white, fleeces come in 22 natural colours including black, browns, fawns, silver-greys, and rose-greys.

huacaya alpaca

There are two types of alpaca – huacaya (pictured) and suri. The huacaya’s fibre grows vertically out of its skin in crimped bundles with what is described as a “teddy bear” look. Suri fibre grows in bundles that twist and hang down on the animal.

The huacaya fibre is more akin to wool and produced in a similar way through carding…

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Know your yarn: Cotton

A fantastic summary from m UK Hand Knitting

When you look back through old knitting books, you can see that for a long time they were written for yarn made from wool because it was readily available and cheap to knit. This is why for some people “knitting yarn” and “wool” mean the same thing. As you look back through patterns of the last 60 years you see more and more different fibres being introduced whether natural(with different levels of processing) or manmade, until today when a read of yarn labels shows a wide range of fibres and yarn sources. Can you imagine yarn made from crab shell? Well it is now a possibility.

With this in mind we thought it would be useful to take a regular look at different yarn fibres to help you navigate your yarn choices – starting with that summer staple, cotton.

Where does the yarn come from?

Cotton fibre grows as a…

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