of fiber industry...
In 1830 Benjamin Outram, of Greetland, near
Halifax, appears to have reattempted spinning it, and again it was
condemned. These two attempts failed due to the style of fabric into
which the yarn was woven — a type of camlet. It was not until the
introduction of cotton warps into Bradford trade about 1836 that the
true qualities of alpaca could be developed into fabric. It is not
known where the cotton warp and mohair or alpaca weft plain-cloth
came from, but it was this simple and ingenious structure which
enabled Titus Salt, then a young Bradford manufacturer, to use
alpaca successfully. Bradford is still the great spinning and
manufacturing center for alpaca. Large quantities of yarns and
cloths are exported annually to the European continent and the US,
although the quantities vary with the fashions in vogue. The typical
"alpaca-fabric" is a very characteristic "dress-fabric."
Due to the successful manufacture of various
alpaca cloths by Sir Titus Salt and other Bradford manufacturers, a
great demand for alpaca wool arose which could not be met by the
native product. Apparently, the number of alpacas available never
increased appreciably. Unsuccessful attempts were made to
acclimatize alpaca in England, on the European continent and in
Australia, and even to cross English breeds of sheep with alpaca.
There is a cross between alpaca and llama — a true hybrid in every
sense — producing a material placed upon the Liverpool market under
the name "Huarizo". Crosses between the alpaca and vicuña have not
proved satisfactory. Current attempts to cross these two breeds are
underway at farms in the US. According to the Alpaca Owners and
Breeders Association, alpacas are now being bred in the US, Canada,
Australia, New Zealand, UK, and numerous other places.
In recent years, interest in alpaca fiber
clothing has surged, perhaps partly because alpaca ranching has a
reasonably low impact on the environment. Outdoor sports enthusiasts
recognize that its lighter weight and better warmth provides them
more comfort in colder weather, so outfitters such as R.E.I. and
others are beginning to stock more alpaca products. Occasionally,
alpaca fiber is woven together with merino wool to attain even more
softness and durability.