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Vicuña

Pronunciation: (vi-koo-nyuh)

The vicuña is guanaco's wild cousin. The vicuña  is even more endangered and therefore even more rare and expensive. Its wool is considered by many to be the finest natural fiber in the world with guanaco as the second best.

The guanaco’s downy undercoat makes extremely warm wool and its softness is comparable to cashmere. The wool is spun into yarn then knit into garments. In addition to its rarity and the difficulty of capturing and shearing them, each animal only produces about 3 pounds of wool per year--a very expensive and labor intensive process for such a low yield.

Just as with alpaca, guanaco wool is lightweight, water resistant, and durable. The wool’s natural oils resist dirt, limiting the number of necessary washings which prolongs the life of the fiber. The downy undercoat produces a creamy white to light camel-colored fiber that can be spun into a variety of natural shades.

Guanaco and vicuña are both terrific fibers with many fine qualities. However, their rarity and price make them poor choices for most applications in contrast to the much more widely available and affordable alpaca.