There are many wonderful qualities that make alpaca wool 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.
Alpacas 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.
An increasing amount of UK farms 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!
Top 10 Alpaca yarns
1. 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.
More like this
- Find the Drops 100% alpaca yarn on Amazon.
2. King Cole Baby Alpaca DK
King Cole create a huge range of top quality yarns in a wide range of fibres, so of course they have an amazing alpaca yarn too!
The King Cole Baby Alpaca yarn is a 100% alpaca yarn in a convenient double knitting weight. Alpaca fibre is soft and warm, but this yarn uses fibres collected from the first cut of a baby alpaca's coat, giving you an extra level of buttery natural softness that will feel lovely next to skin.
It's available in a rang of 15 colours, varying from pretty pastels to earthy natural shades. Make sure to hand wash only to ensure your yarn stays stays super-soft!
- See the whole range of King Cole Baby Alpaca DK on LaughingHens.com
3. Rowan Alpaca Classic Dk
Let's take a look at our first blended alpaca yarn, and it may come as a surprise that this one is mixed 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.
It works up as a DK weight yarn, and with 30 gorgeous Rowan shades to choose from you're spoilt for choice!
- Buy Rowan alpaca Classic Dk from LaughingHens.com
4. Sirdar Saltaire yarn
This Saltaire Aran yarn from Sirdar is another blended yarn, made up of 55% Acrylic, 25% Nylon and 20% Alpaca. This combination 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°.
- Get this Sirdar Saltaire yarn from Amazon
Alpaca yarn patterns
5. 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 star 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.
- Buy GGH Suri Alpaca yarn on Amazon
6. Manos del Uruguay Serena
What could be better than a luxury hand-dyed alpaca yarn? Well, one that's also fair trade and ethical of course!
We've long been fans of Manos del Uruguay, a non-profit yarn producer and social enterprise that is made up of small co-operatives of women from rural villages in Uruguay. But it's not just the fact that every purchase helps a woman to support her family and develop her artisan skills (each yarn even comes with a label telling you who it was made by) – the yarn by itself is absolutely gorgeous.
A beautiful blend of 60% baby alpaca fibres and 40% Pima cotton creates a yarn that shows off that softness while also creating items with a lovely level of drape. There are 10 hand-dyed colours available, all with a gorgeous stone-washed effect which is achieved by the kettle dying process.
- Get your Manos del Uruguay Serena yarn from LaughingHens.com
7. 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!
- Find this Babe alpaca merino yarn on Etsy
8. Drops Wish Super Chunky yarn
If you want to go large with your alpaca yarn makes, then you should try the Drops Wish yarn! A super-chunky weight blend of 50% Alpaca, 33% Pima cotton and 17% Merino wool, it's fabulously soft and squishy as well as being strong and reliable.
It comes in a range of natural and stone-washed colours, and is also OEKO-Tex certified which means it hasn't been made with any nasty chemicals. It's also feltable, so will blend together nicely after a good hand wash.
- You can find the Drops Wish Super Chunky yarn at LaughingHens.com
9. 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!
- Check out the Juniper Moon Farm Moonshine DK yarn on Lovecrafts
10. 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!
- Buy Drops alpaca silk yarn on Etsy
Find your favourite yarn
Don't forget to treat yourself
We love luxury fibres and yarns, but it is easy to hold onto them waiting for that 'special' project to use it in. Yarns are meant to be used and enjoyed, not sit in your cupboard! Even if it's just a small project, don't forget to make something for yourself so you can really appreciate those glorious fibres.
Can't get enough of luxury yarns?
Think you can't get much more fancy than alpaca fibres – think again! Check out our pick of the best cashmere yarns and take your knitting and crochet to the next level of luxury with Gathered.
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.
BONUS £10 Gift Card when you subscribe Choose your favourite magazine today.