Soft and Sustainable
North American Paco-Vicuñas TM – or PVs for short – are domesticated, fiber-producing camelids selectively bred to exhibit the best fiber traits (exceptionally fine, dense fleece) of their wild vicuña ancestors. These camelids are a unique cross between alpacas and wild vicuña (native to Peru and Chile) that range in color from natural white through a deep mahogany. They were introduced the United States in 2002 and since their introduction, nearly 1,000 animals have been registered. Hat Trick Farms is focused on incorporating top-quality Paco-Vicuña genetics to build a herd that produces only the highest quality fleeces. Our animals combine the vicuña’s unique softness, fineness, and high curvature with the alpaca’s added staple length and gentler temperament. We shear our animals every year, sending samples of each fleece to the lab for fiber analysis of micron size, staple length, curvature, and more. This data is used for selecting the correct fiber for specific products. To date, all fiber from Hat Trick Farms PVs has tested in the “Premuim” grade range. For more information on North American Paco-Vicuñas™, please visit the Paco-Vicuna Association.
In the history of natural fibers, vicuña fiber is recognized as one of the finest fleeces in the world. The earliest alpacas were domesticated from the vicuña by the native South American peoples roughly 6,000 years ago. Their fiber was so fine and soft that only Incan Royalty was permitted to wear it. After the Conquistadors slaughtered most herds to display their dominance, the exquisitely fleece produced by indigenous alpaca populations was lost. Before the major herds had recovered and controlled breeding was introduced, the few remaining animals often cross-bred with wild camelids that remained on the high plains. On his travels and in his work as an alpaca screener, Phil Switzer (originator of most of the North American Paco-Vicuña herd) began noticing camelids in the late 1980's that were much finer and more delicate in structure than most alpacas. High up on South America’s Altiplano, little bands of vicuña males occasionally breed with alpacas. The resulting offspring often have the longer fleece of the alpaca combined with the delicate bone structure, larger eyes, and more guard hair than most alpacas. Many of the PVs in the United States today are offspring of unique camelids found on the Altiplano.
PV fiber is extremely light – producing twice the fiber by weight compared to alpaca and other natural fibers. Paco-Vicuña fiber has extreme uniformity as well as good staple length and fiber crinkle, as well as a very high degree of curvature, similar to merino. Compared to alpaca, our fiber has an additional softness and lightness without sacrificing warmth.
The lower the micron count, the finer the fiber is, and the more luxurious it will feel next to your skin. PV fleeces are so dense they look like a pelt when shorn off an animal. Properly de-haired, all “Standard” and “Premium” fiber is soft enough to be worn next to your skin. Paco-Vicuña has more memory than alpaca fiber and does not need to be blended with sheep’s wool or other high memory fiber to keep a garment from sagging. Paco-Vicuña yarns and rovings are very luxurious. The grades for North American Paco-Vicuña fiber are:
#000 11–13 microns
#00 13–15 microns
#0 15 – 17 microns
#1 17-20 microns
#2 20-23 microns
#3 23+ microns
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