In South America, llama fibre that
measures under 28 microns, is classified as "alpaca" fibre.
have an undercoat of less than 28 microns,
most being under 21 microns.
(One micron equals 1/25,000 of an inch or 1/1000 of a millimetre).
Llama fibre receives the International Alpaca Association
"Alpaca Mark" as follows:
If the fibre is over 28 microns the IAA will not grant the Alpaca Mark,
even if the fibre has come from the Alpaca!
The coat of the
llama protects it not just from the cold but also from heat. Although it does not contain
lanolin as in sheep's wool, the density of the coat protects it from the rain too.
Llama fibre is hollow (technically, therefore, not 'wool'), with a series
of diagonal walls through its structure which makes it very light, strong and insulating,
as well as is superbly soft.
Llama fibre makes wonderful knitwear, textile fabrics and
suiting cloth. Additionally, the llama coat contains an extra strong, protective guard
hair which can be used for making blankets, rugs, wall-hangings, rope etc. Nothing need be
"Through their own inherent qualities of
beauty and appearance, llama fabrics have won a permanent and
distinctive place in the world of fashion; and the stylist is now
specifying their use wherever a material with characteristics of beauty
of drape, natural lustre, and fineness of texture is required."
Sylvan Stroock, Chairman of 5th Avenue luxury fabric manufacturers
S.Stroock & Co, writing in 'Llamas and Llamaland', 1937.
It is worth noting for
those interested in the many other uses of llamas other than fibre production, that llamas do
not have to be sheared.
Unlike that of sheep and alpacas, the coat of the llama stops growing at a
certain point if not shorn (usually after two to three years growth. If, however, it is shorn then it will grow back and in this
way offers the opportunity of a yearly or - more likely - two yearly harvest.