What are the other hair fibers?
The wool is not only obtained from sheep but there are other animals that are reared for their hair. Let us now discuss each of them:
• Alpaca Wool: This wool is derived from Alpaca (a relative to the camel) that are found in South America in the upper region of the Andes mountains. Its natural colour ranges from off white, grey to light and dark browns. The hair obtained is soft, long and silky. The two varieties of alpaca are: 1. Suri: has a delicate with extremely long hair which is thin and possesses some natural grease 2. Huacaya: These are short hair that is strong.
• Angora Wool: The fiber is obtained from the rabbit. The length of these fibers is 3-5 inches and are extremely soft and fine. The main breeding regions of angora rabbit are Britain and the USA. This type of wool is quite expensive. Angora wool is used in the manufacturing of baby clothes sweaters and mittens.
• Camel Wool: The camel hair is quite light and bears an incredible insulation property. The fine camel hair is either used alone or blended with wool. The hairs are obtained from camels when they shed hairs from their bodies during the springtime which is collected and processed into fibers.
• Cashmere Wool: The fiber derives its name from Kashmir in India. The fiber is one of the worlds best quality wool is obtained from Alpine goat (Capra hircus) or cashmere goat. The average length of fiber ranges from 1-3 inches and diameter falls in a range of 12-18 micronaires. The colour of the fiber is brown, grey, black and rarely white and is known for fineness and strength.
• Llama Wool: The fiber obtained from Llama is durable but is rough against the skin. Llama is found in South America and is a rare breed.
• Mohair Wool: This fiber is derived from Angora goat which resides in the mountains of Tibet. Mohair is used in garments and home furnishing for its lustre, The animal hairs are long, bouncy and shiny with length ranging from 4-12 inches.
• Qiviut Wool: These fibers are very warm and rough and sheared from the downy undercoat of musk ox. The fibers are quite expensive. The qiviut is found in Alaska and the fibers are used to make overcoats, hats and gloves.
• Vicuna Wool: The fibers are obtained from vicuna, relative to Alpaca and Llama is found in Peru. The fibers have a brown colour and possess extraordinary softness and fineness thus making vicuna expensive and rarest fiber.