It's all about the fiber...
When visiting The Farm at Krystal Acres, you will hear or read a lot about the herd’s “fiber” and here is why…
FIBER (n.) - ˈfī-bər – can be defined as “a natural or synthetic filament (as of wool, cotton, asbestos, gold, glass or rayon) typically capable of being spun into yarn.” (Merriam Webster).
Alpaca fiber happens to be one of the world’s most sustainable, versatile and eco-conscious fibers being used in today’s textile industry. To understand why that is, we must first learn where Alpacas come from. Hailing from the Peruvian Andes in South America, alpacas are acclimated to regions with extreme climates. This natural adaptation allows them to develop their globally sought-after and resilient coats.
Alpaca fiber is…
WARM & LIGHTWEIGHT: Alpaca fibers are practically hollow inside, making garments better insulated with a greater thermal capacity. The hollow nature of the fiber allows for more heat to become trapped within the fiber, keeping you warmer than the average wool garment. This also results in producing clothing that’s breathable and significantly lightweight!
COMFORTABLE & DURABLE - Alpaca fleece has more stretch and less shrinkage than other fibers. Each fiber has a natural crimp to it, making it a flexible fiber to work with and lots of elasticity. After being stretched, the fibers ultimately bounce back to their original form, allowing for garments to keep their shape over time. It also possesses a high tensile strength, meaning that it’s tough to break and pull apart.
SOFT & SMOOTH – Soft to the touch, alpaca fiber has a smaller frequency of scales (or microscopic edges on each fiber that create friction) than wool fiber. It doesn’t have that “prickly” sensation that other natural fibers have. This feature also prevents pilling.
HYPOALLERGENIC – Unlike sheep wool, alpaca fiber does not contain the wax Lanolin, making it naturally hypoallergenic. As a result, alpaca fiber is considered to be far less itchy and irritating than wool.
WATER RESISTANT – Alpaca fiber has incredible wicking properties, making it more difficult for liquids to penetrate the surface of the fibers and saturate the garment. The liquids usually evaporate off the outer layer of garments due to the warmth of the fleece itself. This also allows for better odor control!
FLAME RESISTANT – Alpaca fiber doesn’t ignite or melt when exposed to an open flame. The fibers take longer to burn and when they eventually do, the fibers char rather than melting and releasing toxic chemicals, as is the case with most synthetic fibers.
LUSTROUS – Alpaca fiber has a natural sheen to it! It reflects the light beautifully and adds a unique vibrancy and luster to garments.
HIGH YIELDING – Every spring, our alpacas yield approximately 5-10 lbs. of fiber after shearing… each! Moreover, all of the fiber that is shorn possesses a much higher percentage of clean usability (approximately 80%) than wool.
MULTI-COLORED – Alpaca fleece comes in a variety of natural shades. Our alpacas at Krystal Acres range from golden brown, to light fawn, to black and white, to various shades of grey -- a rarity amongst alpacas!
BIODEGRADABLE – Natural and unaltered alpaca fiber is 100% biodegradable.