We use Superfine graded Alpaca wool (19-22.9 microns) in our Alpaca wool throws. This Alpaca fleece is exceptionally fine, soft, lightweight and reassuringly durable.
Alpaca fibres come in 20 natural shades including white, grey, black, fawn and brown, but also dye really well. The fibres are hollow which creates a lightweight, strong, breathable and highly insulating wool. Alpaca fleece is designed to keep the alpaca warm through sub-zero nights and cool in 80 degree afternoon weather.
Whilst similar to Sheep’s wool, Alpaca wool is warmer, not itchy and has no lanolin, which makes it hypoallergenic. Lanolin, the grease found in sheep's wool, is also responsible for the smell that sheep's wool can have. The lack of lanolin also means that alpaca wool doesn't need as much cleaning as sheep's wool and doesn't attract and retain dirt in the same way.
Like other wools, alpaca wool is non-flammable, moisture-wicking and naturally water-repellant. It has a water retention rate of about 8% compared to 16-20% for sheep's wool.
scooms wool throws are produced in the UK by a family owned business that has been in operation since 1837. They are world leaders in dyeing, spinning, weaving, blending and finishing, creating beautiful products that you can cherish for a lifetime.
Alpaca are native to the high Andes mountains of South America. Domesticated for centuries by the Inca of Peru, their fleece was worn only by royalty. Alpaca wool has been known for over 6,000 years as 'the fibre of the Gods'!
Alpacas are very ethical to farm, being a cruelty-free and eco-friendly process. They are gently shorn by hand once a year during the warmer season. The Alpacas are much cooler and happier in warm weather once they have been sheared. Their wool regrows by the time cooler weather returns.
They have a higher yield than sheep and goats and are less impactful on their environment. Their soft padded feet are gentle on top soil; whereas the hooves of sheep and goats can increase erosion and decrease soil fertility. They are used to harsh climates so they consume lower amounts of food and water than other livestock, and they are highly efficient at metabolizing their food. Their method of grazing the top of the grass rather than pulling up the roots like sheep and goats, allows the root system to still grow and doesn't damage the topsoil.
Alpaca v Cashmere
Although Cashmere wool is similar in fineness, alpaca wool is softer. An Alpaca fibre is 3 times as long as a cashmere fibre. This greater uniformity helps produce a softer wool.
Alpacas have a much higher yield than the Kashmir goat, producing 4.5kg of fleece a year compared to 115g of cashmere. Whereas it takes around 4 goat's shearings to make one jumper, one alpaca shearing can produce four jumpers.
The popularity of cashmere is recent years has also raised ethical issues. Increase in demand has increased the pressure for herders to lower the cost of cashmere wool resulting in herders needing higher numbers of goats or shearing the goats when it is too cold. Overpopulating the grasslands also damages the ecosystem of their natural habitat and overstretches the herders' workloads.