Alpacas, Sheep and Cashmere


Cashmere sweaters are the ultimate gift. They are soft, luxurious and feel great against the skin. But they are also bad for our planet. Giant herds of goats (which is where cashmere comes from—goats—not sheep) are destroying the massive grasslands in China and Mongolia. The over-grazing and their habit of ripping out grasses by their roots is turning vast areas into deserts. You can read more about this desertification here.



But I’ve got great news! An excellent, earth-friendly (and often softer) alternative to the cashmere sweater is alpaca. In fact, my guest on this podcast, Signe Ostby, first got acquainted with alpacas because she just wanted an animal to graze down some weeds on her property.

Apparently alpacas are better than cows, horses or goats for trimming your land like a golf course. They don’t pull out the plant matter, thus leaving the grass to grow. Also, alpaca fiber is very valuable and incredibly soft for making into knitting yarn.

Download your free alpaca facts tips sheet plus, where to buy alpaca garments, yarn, and knitting patterns.


    These fingerless mitts and cuddly scarf patterns are perfect for alpaca yarns and you can download them above.


    We learn about the difference between alpacas and llamas, why alpacas are the perfect grazing animal (including their tidy elimination habits) plus all sorts of alpaca facts for raising them, using their fiber and blending in with wool for a superlative knitting experience.


    Discerning buyers and knitters are moving away from cashmere sweaters and embracing alpaca. It’s incredibly soft, warm, and good for the planet. And if you want to get your hands on some alpaca yarn, head to Knitting enthusiasts from as far as away as Japan buy Valhalla Yarns alpaca and alpaca/wool blended yarns. They’re that good.

    Signe Ostby, fleece farmer and owner of Valhalla Yarns, heavenly soft alpaca and wool fibers for the discerning knitter.


    Signe breeds her alpacas to produce the finest, softest fiber possible for knitting. She focuses on her micron count (diameter of each hair) so that it rivals cashmere and super fine merino wool. (And her many awards prove she knows what she’s doing). If you want to get technical about micron counts and learn about the different grades of alpaca fiber, visit her site to learn more.

    Valhalla Yarns produces 100% American grown and spun, sustainable yarns.

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