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Old 10-25-2006, 12:13 PM   #1
skNYC
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Tell me about Angora, Alpaca, Wool, etc,
So far I've only used wool and wool blend. Bought some alpaca but havn't gotten the chance to knit it. Tell me, everyone, why are alpaca and angora more expensive than wool, and which is better, quality wise? Which would you prefer? What stores or sites do you shop for them?

All inputs welcome!
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Old 10-25-2006, 12:19 PM   #2
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*plants flag firmly in the alpaca camp*

I alpaca. I love it best because it's soft and not outrageously expensive. And it's SO WARM. Really, really warm. I it.
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Old 10-25-2006, 12:24 PM   #3
nadja la claire
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They are sooooooo soooooft especially angora. These are luxury yarns. I seen French angora for $12.50 for a little tiny ball. If you really want to try something like angora but don't want to pay the price Moda Dea Dream is very nice and it is relatively affordable. Also Knit Picks has alpaca at decent prices.

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Old 10-25-2006, 12:49 PM   #4
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I don't know that I would say that angora and alpaca are better than wool quality wise. Within each fiber there is a range of quality. The reason angora and alpaca are more expensive is largely related to supply.

Angora comes from rabbits and it takes a lot of rabbits to make enough yarn for a sweater! You seldom see pure angora yarn either. It is usually mixed with wool for strength and to make it more affordable. To me it is the softest yarn I have used. Haven't used Qiviut yet. Some people find the fact that it sheds disagreeable.

Alpaca yarn used to come only from Peru but in recent years alpacas are being raised in the US too. When I went to Stitches West last February I was amazed at all the booths that were selling alpaca yarn from small farms. As more people get into the alpaca business, prices should come down.

One of the most disturbing things I have learned about alpaca recently is that in Peru, alpacas are being cross bred with llamas to increase the yield because they get paid by weight of fiber rather than quality. There is has been a significant decline in the quality of alpaca fiber over the last 20 years because of this.

Compared to wool, alpaca yarn has much less crimp. That mean's that it has a tendency to stretch. Some companies like Misti compensate for this by spinning the yarn tighter. Overall though, alpaca does not have the kind of stitch definition that you get with wool. It is great for lace but not so great for textured stitches such as cables. It may not be the best choice for something that has a lot of shape. However, it is pleasingly fuzzy and actually warmer than wool. It is sometimes said to be hypo-allergenic but that is in fact not true.

I think which you prefer is a matter of personal preference. You just have to try them all!
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Old 10-25-2006, 12:49 PM   #5
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I love Alpaca. Don't forget we are talking about all different kinds of animals too. What I choose definitely depends on the recipient. MY mom is allergic to wool, my best friend is allergic to angora. Stuff like that.

I do think that Alpaca is the best bang for the buck in terms of softness/warmness/affordability.
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Old 10-25-2006, 02:42 PM   #6
Brvfan
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alpaca
I agree that Alpaca is sooo very soft. I have knit with the chunky, made a scarf and I really like it. It has a loose feel to it and will feel great when it gets cold here (here in the South cold is 45 degrees). You know if it gets much below freezing here in the South we wrap up like we are at the North Pole LOL.

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Old 10-25-2006, 02:46 PM   #7
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Psst. Freezing is 32 degrees. 45 is well above!
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Old 10-25-2006, 02:49 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by cawthraven
Psst. Freezing is 32 degrees. 45 is well above!
Yeah well, we think it's cold when it gets down into the 50s and 60s, which it will be soon. Good thing I am making a CARON SIMPLY SOFT scarf to wear!

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Old 10-25-2006, 02:59 PM   #9
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freezing
yep, it was 45 this morning and I am still bundled up and 50 would not be much better. We are so spoiled here in Georgia because even in the winter we can have days of 65 degrees and sunshine. We get creaky when the temperature goes down. And to think I was once considering a move to Chicago....brrrrrrrr

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Old 10-25-2006, 04:21 PM   #10
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Angora is super soft. I am trying (and failing ) to make the Branching Out scarf in Fleece Artist's Peter Rabbit, which is 70% angora, 20% nylon and 10% wool. It's very soft, but it sheds like crazy. What was I thinking? As though having two live rabbits in my house doesn't leave me with enough rabbit hair all over.

(i'm sneaking in a bunny pic. her eyes aren't red in real life: http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v1...idrinking2.jpg )

Alpaca is also soft, but I must admit I find it itchier than merino wool. My friend bought me this unbelievable soft hand of alpaca yarn, it feels so soft to the touch. But when I tried to make a neck warmer out of it, I found it was unexpectedly itchy around my neck. I prefer merino wool around my neck. Even better, silk. Alpaca also sheds a bit, and I think I read somewhere that it doesn't generally have the elasticity of wool, but the ones I worked with I could hardly tell; they were very nicely and springy spun.
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