If there's one fibre that's seen a surge in popularity in recent years, it's got to be alpaca fibre! There are many wonderful qualities that make alpaca yarn a great choice for knitters and crocheters, it's soft, natural, water and fire resistant, and is often used in blended yarns to add a bit of softness and character. Alpaca's are a member of the Camelidae family are are strongly associated with Peru (although can be found in other south American countries). They have traditionally been reared for their fleece rather than for their meat or as working animals, unlike the larger Llama's which they are often mistaken for. There's also an increasing amount of UK farms that are venturing into rearing alpacas as their fleece provides an income without the need for slaughter, and they can also be reared on small or uneconomic pastures.
If you fancy trying some alpaca yarn, here's just a few of our favourites, ranging from 100% alpaca yarns to some luxurious blends! And if you're looking for more advice for your yarn purchases, why not take a look at our pick of the Best cotton yarns or the Best hand-dyed yarns.
Top 10 Alpaca yarns
Drops 100% alpaca yarn
We're big fans of this 100% alpaca yarn from Drops. It's a wonderful 4ply yarn that is great for a range of knitting and crochet projects, and is available in a huge 51 colours! Despite the fact that it's 100% alpaca and made in Peru, it's also surprisingly affordable, but that doesn't mean you're sacrificing on quality. It's constructed of 3 strands of super-fine alpaca fibre spun together, producing a nice consistent yarn with a natural alpaca halo. We also really like that while it's available in some impressively bright colours, the fibres are untreated and only washed before dying, meaning you retain all those lovely natural alpaca fibre qualities.
Sirdar Saltaire yarn
This Saltaire Aran yarn from Sirdar is our first pick that's a blended yarn! Made up of 55% Acrylic, 25% Nylon and 20% Alpaca, it takes that luxury alpaca feel and gives it an extra level of strength and sturdiness! It's available in 10 natural and earthy tones, plus it's also machine washable at 40°.
Penrhallt Alpacas 100% alpaca yarn
If you're after some alpaca yarn that is completely natural, with no chemical processes and produced in the UK, then you should check out the yarn by Penrhallt Alpacas. Made from the fleece of their own flock of Alpacas reared on their farm in the Gower, South Wales, this dk yarn is available in 5 natural colours - each named after the alpaca that grew the fleece!
GGH Suri Alpaca yarn
While those of you in the UK might not be familiar with GGH yarns, it's widely available in Europe, and especially so in Germany where the company is based (in fact we've still got a ball or two from our travels in Berlin). This Suri Alpaca yarn is a light fingering/lace weight yarn, making it perfect for elegant shawls and intricate stitches, but the stay of the show is definitely the special fibres! There are two breeds of alpaca - Huacaya and the much rarer Suri, and the fibres in this yarn are from the Suri breed which lives at lower altitudes producing a silkier and more lustrous fleece. It's available in a range of 17 lovely shades, including pretty pastels and some fantastically deep blues and greens.
Babe alpaca merino yarn
Fancy going chunky with your Alpaca yarn projects? Then this fluffy Babe alpaca and merino blend yarn by Unique Yarns is just made for big squishy stitches! It features a blend of 60% Baby Alpaca, 25% Merino wool plus an added 15% of Nylon fibres to give you extra strength, and is available in a range of pastel and neutral colours... although we personally love this unbleached white tone!
While we do love alpaca yarn and have tried to include some that come from smaller producers, we do understand that many people would prefer not to use animal prodcuts at all. If this applies to you, then you should check out the Lion brand feels like alpaca yarn - they've designed it to look and feel just like alpaca fibres, but completely made from synthetic fibres.
100% luxury alpaca yarn
Here's another 100% alpaca yarn for all you fibre purists! LuxuryAlpacaYarn have a small herd of breeding alpacas based in Scotland, producing some unique and individual fleeces which are turned into yarn by East Anglian Alpaca Mill.
Juniper moon farm Moonshine DK yarn
While we do love the unique qualities of pure fibres, we do also have a penchant for fibre blends too! While alpaca yarns can often be blended with acrylic or nylon for added strength, sometimes it's all about blending luxury fibres, like in the Moonshine DK yarn from Juniper Moon Farm. 40% baby alpaca is evenly matched with 40% Wool to create a beautiful natural yarn, but then to make it even more special there's an extra 20% of silk fibres included too! Add to that the huge range of colours available, and you might just have found your new favourite yarn!
Drops alpaca silk yarn
If you like the sound of some sumptuous silk included with your awesome alpaca fibres, you could also try this brushed alpaca silk yarn from Drops. The brushed effect gives it that mohair-like appearance, and of course the fibre blend is ridiculously soft. What we also like about it is that while you can use it by itself worked as an Aran weight yarn on larger hooks or needles, it can also be used in conjunction with other yarns to create an awesome fluffy effect!
Rowan alpaca Classic Dk
So we've already covered silk blends and acrylic/nylon blend alpaca yarns, but you can even get alpaca yarns blended with cotton! While it initially may not be an obvious pairing, this clever yarn from Rowan is constructed of a fine cotton mesh which is filled with soft alpaca fibres! This all comes together to create a yarn with a fabulous texture, feathery feel and remarkable lightness.
Rico Design Luxury Alpaca Superfine Aran yarn
Finally, here's an alpaca blend yarn from Rico Designs that really embraces those fuzzy fibres! It features a blend of 63% Alpaca and 37% Polyamide, and thanks to it's interesting chain-like structure it works up as an aran weight yarn.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our pick of the best alpaca yarns, don’t forget if you need any help with your crochet stitches you can always check out our crochet for beginners guide. And if you’re looking to treat yourself, check out our list of the best crochet hooks and the best crochet kits for beginners.
Matt Spiers is a crochet artist and designer who has been overseeing Gathered's crochet articles for over 2 years. He previously worked as Digital Assistant for Simply Crochet magazine and is our in house video editing pro. What started as a hobby a decade ago led to Matt developing a passion (and then a career) with crochet. As well as still regularly writing and designing for Simply Crochet magazine, Matt is a crochet artist in his own right, having displayed and created crochet installations at festivals and fibre events across the UK. You can keep up to date with Matt at @onemancrochet on Instagram.