This blend floating out of my coffee cup was a blend of wool, alpaca and silk in caramel, chocolate and white colors. By creating blends you can take advantage of the different properties that different fibers have, such as:
- Wool is elastic, has memory and wants to to become yarn. Wool comes in a variety of textures/fineness depending on the breed characteristics. You can get wool suitable for baby clothes (super-fine) to great rug material.
- Alpaca is very warm, light and soft. It, too, comes in different grades and all have their uses. It drapes beautifully, but is not resilient/elastic like wool.
- Llama is much like alpaca, but has an even greater range of softness; often has a longer staple length than alpaca.
- Camel is even shorter than alpaca, very soft.
- Angora (from rabbits) is another warm, light and soft fiber. It’s claim to fame is that is also “blooms”: the ends of the fibers will escape from your yarn and create a halo.
- Dog Hair, also called chiengora, can be a really nice addition and fun for a dog owner. It tends to be on the shorter side as you want to use the soft undercoat, rather than the outer guard hairs.
- Mohair is from goats and comes, again, in a variety of grades. Kid mohair can be quite soft, while that coming from older goats can get coarse. Either way, it is shiny, slippery and a very strong fiber.
- Pygora, Cashgora and Cashmere also come from goats and are much softer and more luxurious.
- Silk is a very strong, long fiber that offers features that can range from shine to texture, depending on it’s preparation before being blended.
For example, a blend of a medium-fine to fine wool with any of the other fibers known for their softness (alpaca, angora, etc.) results in a yarn that is stronger than the luxury fiber, stretchy from the wool, yet shows off the softness of the luxury fiber…the best of both worlds!