13th September 2019

Alpacas, Facts and Knits!

One of my favourite animals has to be an Alpaca.  When the farm next to my parents, purchased 4 Alpacas it made my day!  Cannot for the life of me remember the names of the three females, but I know George is the Male Alpaca! 

Russell the Owner of SMDKnitting also has a love for Alpacas and has a herd of 8 characterful boys!  They have an idyllic life on his 27-acre small holding the Welsh mountains.

smd alpacas russell smd alpacas russell

I thought it would be interesting to share a few facts about these fun loving creatures…

Alpacas are members of the camelid family, the most familiar would be the camels, the ones with the humps! But Alpacas and Llamas come from the same family and have been domesticated for thousands of years.

alpacasThe alpaca comes in two breed-types, huacaya and suri.  

Huacayas, the more common type and have fluffy, crimpy fleece that gives the animals a teddy bear-like appearance. Suris, on the other hand, grow silky, lustrous fleece that drapes gracefully in beautiful locks

Alpacas tend to live for around 15 to 20 years. The oldest Alpaca recorded was a whopping 27 years old!

People often confuse alpacas with llamas. While related, llamas and alpacas are distinctly different animals. First, llamas are much larger, about twice the size of an alpaca.  Llamas are primarily used for packing or for guarding herds of sheep or alpacas, whereas alpacas are primarily raised for their soft and luxurious fleece.


Alpacas do spit when they have negative contact, such as getting possessive about food, during squabbles with other alpacas or when enduring the shearing process with human contact!!

They are very quiet, docile animals that generally make a minimal amount of sound. They generally make only a pleasant humming sound as a means of communication or to express concern or stress.

Alpacas like company so they are best kept with a mate or a small herd, so they have companionship.

The wool created from using Alpaca fleece, is so soft and warm, but surprisingly for its softness is very strong.  Alpaca is also great for those that suffer with allergies with wool, as it is a lot better on the skin, so less likely to cause irritation.

alpaca knits rowanI couldn’t write a blog without mentioning a few new patterns in the Rowan Autumn Winter Range.

When I came across the new Rowan Cosy Alpaca knits by Jen Weston, it put a little smile on my face! Some cute little patterns, along with some larger knits for the more challenging projects, so I think something for everyone regardless of ability.

The Audrey and Colin alpacas are my favourite!  With their cute little features, they would be welcome in any house (most definitely mine!).

With my love for Alpacas I have developed my own pattern for a crocheted Alpaca, which I hope to have ready in the next few months, so keep an eye out on www.facebook.com/thecratingcow

cosy alpaca knits rowan
This blanket is for the more experienced knitter, I took one look at the pattern and moved on!! The blanket photos are outstanding, but the pattern scared me, my friend informs me its not that complicated!  You see for yourselves.


The cushion on the other hand looked a little more doable!  Such a cute accessory for any home or a great gift for fellow Alpaca lovers!

alpaca cushion rowan


Take a look at the entire pattern book, such lovely inspirational ideas, with 10 patterns it is great value for money. Cosy Alpaca Knits by Jem Weston


Cosy knits by Jem Weston

If your as Alpaca mad as me, then share your makes, it always so nice when you share your love of knitting and crocheting.

 I hope you have enjoyed this read and have learnt a little about Alpacas.



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