Friday, February 27, 2009

Why Buy Wool When You Can Buy Alpaca

By Silvia Jens

There are many reasons to buy alpaca products instead of those made out of wool, but while some of these are simply a personal preference, some may actually affect how you wear the garment or when you wear it. Here are the various differences between alpaca and wool.

First of all, alpaca is actually a stronger fiber than wool. Of course, this comparison only works between alpaca and wool that are of the same fineness. A finer piece of wool may be stronger than a less fine alpaca. Alpaca is also much softer and less irritating on the skin, something many people prefer. In fact, this is one of the major points for buying alpaca instead of wool.

Another huge reason for buying clothing and accessories made from alpaca instead of wool is that alpaca is naturally hypoallergenic. This means that it does not include any of the lanolin or dander that causes people to have allergic reactions. For people who can't wear things made of wool, alpaca makes a great alternative. On the downside, because it does not contain any lanolin, alpaca is not naturally water resistant. This means your alpaca clothing will let through more water than wool would. It will stay cleaner, though, since lanolin tends to hold dust.

Alpaca fibers are mostly or completely hollow. What this means is that they are lighter than wool fibers, which are not hollow, resulting in a warmer garment that doesn't weigh as much. Wool tends to be very heavy, especially wool coats. When it comes to keeping the wearer warm, however, alpaca gets the job done without relying on weight. In fact, alpaca can actually keep a person around 20 degrees warmer than wool can.

There are a couple of other features that make alpaca a superior fiber than wool. It generally does not mat or pill, although it may pill in garments made from baby alpaca. Likewise, it doesn't shrink quite as much as wool does when washed. Alpaca also comes in many different natural colors (black, browns, white, rose, silver, and grey), so some alpaca is actually sold without being dyed.

As you can see, there are many different reasons for purchasing clothing made from alpaca instead of wool. While the two are very similar in the process of refining hair into cloth, the final products vary greatly. Alpaca is great for anyone looking for light weight and very warm products that do not cause allergies or skin irritation. - 16651

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