Llamas. You may think of them as the pack animal of the southern hemisphere, but I think of gorgeous yarn (Okay, fine. I may also think of spitting).
These fascinating majestic beasts do indeed protect themselves by spitting. They also spit to show their dominance or disapproval for fellow llamas (And I’m pretty sure I’ve seen them do it just for fun.).
As the moniker “pack animal” suggests, they are pretty good at carting stuff around: they can carry loads weighing up to 100 lbs for 10 – 12 miles!
Their yarn has interesting qualities too. Compared to sheep wool, it’s lighter, has no oil (like the lanolin in wool) so you get more yarn per ounce because it has no oil to be washed out and it doesn’t shrink when it is washed. Llama hair has very little crimp making it difficult to spin, but it blends very well with other fibers.
So how does llama yarn feel like and how does it work up?
The outer guard hairs are coarse and need to be separated from the fine down fibers. These down fibers are soft and have more crimp which produce a lovely, soft yarn that can be worked up into something worn close to the skin such as hats and sweaters. Yarn made from the outer guard hairs make excellent rugs and ropes – things that need to withstand wear and tear.
While visiting a local llama farm, I got my hands on a few skeins and worked up a design to share with you. If you are looking for 100% llama yarn you can purchase it at the farm I visited: https://www.carlsonsllovablellamas.com/wool/
I wrote this pattern as a guest post for Whistle & Ivy.
View the pattern here.