Friday, March 25, 2011

Taos A to Z Excerpt: Alpaca

The alpaca is a long-haired mammal related to the llama. Indigenous to the high Andean Plateau, alpacas played a central role in the Incan culture. Alpacas produce one of the world's finest and most luxurious natural fibers. It is clipped from the animal without causing it any type of injury. Alpaca fiber is as soft as cashmere, and warmer, lighter and stronger than wool. And as an extra bonus, alpaca fiber comes in more colors than any other fiber-producing animal (approximately 22 basic colors with many variations and blends). This cashmere-like fleece, once reserved only for Incan royalty, is now enjoyed by spinners and weavers around the world. First imported to the United States in 1984, alpacas are now being successfully raised as farm animals throughout the country. They are quite popular in Northern New Mexico, where they are also enjoyed and admired for their gentle nature. ~Aimee

Read more about Taos, Santa Fe, and Northern New Mexico on Taos A to Z

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