Yum. Llama fiber. Soft, warm, and easy to knit. I prefer alpaca because there’s a wider range of colors and alpaca are more friendly, but I can’t deny the gorgeous sheen of the fibers of llama. Vicuña is a related fiber that’s quite luxurious but harder to find because the vicuña are very shy and much harder to cultivate than either llama or alpaca.
Think that alpaca is only the purview of knitters and other textile artists? The famous designer Loro Piana cornered the market on the stuff in 2010 and last year announced a 60% stake in an alpaca ranch. I’ve seen quotes of the alpaca fiber suits of his that go for $20,000 USD. No, that’s not a typo. $20k. That’s enough for a down payment on a house. Yikes.
Why is the fiber so desirable? It’s lighter than wool and warmer. The natural colors are quite wide and alpaca has the only naturally-occurring black animal fiber – black sheep are actually only black on the tips of the fiber, not at the root.
I could go on, but I won’t bore you with fibernautics. But I will ask you this: