Turning Wool Fibers
A Division of
Llama, Alpaca, and Sheep
Llamas fibers come in many
colors, black, brown, tan, white, and more. The wool produced by a llama
is very soft and lanolin-free. Their fiber is extremely delicate and soft,
and highly valued for the purposes of weaving, but the animals can not
Alpacas are considerably
smaller than llamas and were bred specifically for their fiber. Alpaca
fiber is used for making knitted and woven item similar to wool. These
items can include blankets, sweaters, socks, hats, gloves, scarves, and a
wide variety of textiles and ponchos. The fiber comes in more than 52
The Alpaca are the most
valuable fiber-bearing animals because of the quality and quantity of its
fiber. Alpaca fleece is a lustrous and silky natural fiber. While similar
to sheep's wool, it is warmer, not prickly, and has no lanolin, which make
is hypoallergenic. Without lanolin , it does not repel waters. The soft
luxuious, and glossy alpaca fiber is prepared and used for spinning,
weaving, and needle-felting similar to the process used for wool. Alpaca
fiber is also flame-resistant, and meets the US Consumer Product Safety
Commissions standards. The alpaca's fiber grows back each year.
Sheep can produce 2-30
pounds of wool a year. Unlike the soft and silky fibers found on Alpaca
and Llama the sheeps fibers are coarser. Fine wool sheep have the greatest
value because of their smaller fiber. Garments made from fine wool do not
itch as much as regular wool. Sheep that produce very rough and course
fibers are used for products like carpet wool and tapestry. Medium wool
sheep produce the lightest weight wool which is less valuable. Medium wool
is used for socks, blankets, sweaters, and felting.
Some of your more serious
needle-felters will use wool fibers for needle-felting for the center of a
big project shown below. Then use dyed wool or alpaca fibers for the
beauty of the outside of the project. They do this for two reasons. One,
sheep wool is less expensive, and two, alpaca fibers are silkier,
prettier, and easier to needle-felt. Alpaca fibers also "felt" better too!
Meaning their fibers bond better when needle felting.
See how the fibers turn into projects.