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Alpaca vs Cashmere: What's the difference and how to care

If you are looking for a natural fiber that is soft, warm, and luxurious, you might be wondering whether to choose alpaca or cashmere. Both of these fibers are considered high-end and available in CH Cashmere yarn list. They are all have many fans around the world. But what are the main differences between them, and which one suits your needs better? In this blog post, we will compare alpaca and cashmere in terms of their origin, quality, characteristics, and price. We will also give you some tips on how to care for these delicate fibers.




Origin

Alpaca fiber comes from alpacas, which are domesticated animals that belong to the camelid family. They are native to South America, especially Peru, where they have been bred for thousands of years for their fleece. Alpacas are sheared once a year, usually in spring, and their fleece is sorted into different grades according to its fineness and color. Alpaca fiber can range from white to black, with many shades of brown, gray, and beige in between.


Cashmere fiber comes from cashmere goats, which are also domesticated animals that originate from Asia. They are mainly found in China, Mongolia. Cashmere goats have a double coat: a coarse outer layer and a fine undercoat. The undercoat is what produces cashmere fiber, which is collected by combing or shearing the goats during their molting season. Cashmere fiber is usually white or cream-colored, but it can also be dyed into different colors.


Quality

Both alpaca and cashmere are considered luxury fibers because of their softness, warmth, and rarity. However, they have different qualities that make them suitable for different purposes.


Alpaca fiber is known for its excellent insulation properties. It can keep you warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather, thanks to its hollow structure that traps air inside. Alpaca fiber is also durable, water-resistant, hypoallergenic, and resistant to pilling and shrinking. It has a natural luster and a smooth texture that feels silky on the skin.


Cashmere fiber is known for its supreme softness and lightness. It is one of the finest natural fibers available, with a diameter of less than 19 microns. Cashmere fiber is also very warm and cozy, as it has a high crimp that creates air pockets that retain heat. Cashmere fiber is also breathable, moisture-wicking, and drapes well. It has a matte finish and a fluffy texture that feels like a cloud.


Characteristics

Alpaca and cashmere have different characteristics that affect their appearance, feel, and performance.


Alpaca fiber has a longer staple length than cashmere fiber, which means it has fewer ends that stick out and create fuzziness. Alpaca fiber also has more scales on its surface than cashmere fiber, which gives it more grip and elasticity. Alpaca fiber can be spun into different types of yarns, such as worsted or woolen, depending on the desired effect.


Cashmere fiber has a shorter staple length than alpaca fiber, which means it has more ends that create more loft and softness. Cashmere fiber also has fewer scales on its surface than alpaca fiber, which gives it more slip and drape. Cashmere fiber is usually spun into fine yarns that have a high twist to prevent them from breaking or pilling.


Price

Alpaca and cashmere are both expensive fibers compared to other natural fibers such as wool or cotton. However, cashmere is usually more expensive than alpaca because of its higher demand and lower supply. Cashmere production is limited by the number of cashmere goats available and the amount of fiber they produce each year. Alpaca production is more abundant and sustainable because alpacas can adapt to different climates and environments.


The price of alpaca and cashmere products also depends on other factors such as the quality of the fiber, the design of the product, the brand name of the producer or retailer, and the market conditions at the time of purchase.


Care

Alpaca and cashmere products require special care to maintain their quality and appearance.


Alpaca products should be hand-washed in cold water with mild soap or shampoo. They should be gently squeezed or rolled in a towel to remove excess water and laid flat to dry away from direct heat or sunlight. They should not be wrung out or twisted as this can damage the fibers. They should also be stored in a cool and dry place with moth repellents.


Cashmere products should also be hand-washed in cold water. You can find the detailed care tips of cashmere in CH Cashmere Blog



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