Prized for its softness and warmth, alpaca has been bred for its lustrous fleece since long before the Incan empire. Native to the Andes mountains, and smaller than the llama, the gentle alpaca chews grass and plants without pulling up roots, causing less impact to the environment than sheep or goats. Besides being a sustainable choice, alpaca fibers are stronger and warmer than wool, making it a beautiful and durable yarn for sweaters, blankets, and – wait for it – rugs.
Alpaca is much finer and softer than sheep’s wool, which makes it a challenging fiber to work with on its own. We first introduced alpaca in our Atelier 2018 collection, as a blend with merino wool. As we were developing the collection, our design team found that plying alpaca with merino wool made for a strong and supple yarn that’s perfect for weaving.
We also chose alpaca for its natural thermic responsiveness to air temperature, and many other benefits that support a healthy home environment. Here are just a few:
Moisture Resistant Alpaca fibers have a silky texture that naturally repels water and moisture, making it easy to clean.
Anti-Bacterial The natural chemical makeup of alpaca fibers make it resistant to bacteria and will actually stop the growth of germs.
Cooling and Warming Alpaca fibers actually contain microscopic air pockets, which allow for a great deal of breathability, keeping you warm during the winter, and cool during the summer. Similar to linen, it allows for air flow, so in a rug it is great for keeping the temperature regulated in a room.
Surprisingly Strong Alpaca yarns are thin, light, soft, and smooth, but it is also surprisingly strong and durable. Because alpacas are bred to endure intense weather conditions, woven alpaca yarns can handle foot traffic, making it a naturally resilient yarn for rugs.
You’ll find our Alpaca Merino yarns in our Atelier 2018 and Atelier 2019 collections, specifically in our Verse 728 and Mesa 619 rugs. We also blend alpaca with linen and wool, both of which make for naturally strong yarn blends.
Contact us to learn more about how the natural qualities of linen can enhance your projects. We invite you to experience the beauty and originality of our Atelier 19 collection.