All About Alpaca

All About Alpaca

By Parachute
Warm, soft and super fluffy, our Alpaca Throws are the ultimate cuddly companions. The fleece's appeal extends far beyond its snuggle factor, though. Alpaca's Peruvian roots date back thousands of years, and breeding the animals has provided a sustainable livelihood for generations. From its fascinating royal history to its beautiful (and totally natural) color pigmentation, here are some of the most important things you should know about the newest addition to Parachute's fabric and fiber assortment.

Elevated Origins

Alpacas were raised for their fleece, which was exclusively worn by royalty; Source: Philippe Lavoie/Wikimedia Commons

Incas first domesticated the alpaca more than 5,000 years ago. Too small to serve as pack animals, the camelids were raised exclusively for their luxurious fleece, which was only worn by Inca royalty. In the wild, alpaca herds graze high in the Andes Mountains – at elevations of up to 16,000 feet where temperatures drop to -20℉. You can see why it pays off to have a warm coat. The superior thermal density of Alpaca fleece comes from the fact that its fibers are hollow, allowing heat to be trapped more effectively.

Tradition and Terrain

Cozy up with our Natural Alpaca Throw; Source Nicole LaMotte/Parachute

Alpacas come in 52 natural shades, so we ditched dying the Alpaca fleece and chose two beautiful colors for our Parachute Alpaca Throws: Grey and Natural (a beige color). Because Alpaca fleece is free from lanolin (a wax found in the wool of many animals), it's easily processed without the need for harsh chemicals. The highest quality Alpaca fleece (including ours, of course) comes from small-scale family-owned farms in Peru, where alpaca fleece production has provided a livelihood for many generations. Beyond the alpaca's sumptuous coats (and adorable long-lashed faces), there’s another reason alpaca farming has effectively thrived for thousands of years: Herds are naturally low-impact to their environment, with padded feet and a grazing style that doesn’t tear up the terrain.

Sumptuously Soft + Stylish

Our Grey and Natural Alpaca Throws are a great added layer for any space; Source: Nicole LaMotte/Parachute

Alpaca herds are shorn annually with each animal yielding five to ten pounds of fiber. The first time an alpaca is sheared produces the finest fibers, colloquially called "baby Alpaca." Fleece is typically hand-sorted, allowing farmers to select the softest fibers with a uniform micron count (the number that classifies the fineness of the fleece). Parachute’s new Alpaca Throws are woven with airspun technology, a technique that blows air through the fiber during spinning to enhance its lofty appearance, soft feel and insulation abilities. The fibers are then supported with Nylon threads (dyed to match the natural color of the Alpaca fleece) to increase durability.Stylish when set on the sofa or snuggly as an extra layer in bed, our Alpaca Throws are at the top of our list for staying warm while chilling out. They’re also perfect gifts (hint, hint).

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