Alpaca Fiber Historically
Heartfelt is a small company founded by four women from the American heartland and steeped in the traditions of many cultures. Ancestors of the alpacas raised by Heartfelt's owners were domesticated some six or seven thousand years ago, when the first hieroglyphs were being used in Egypt and Stonehenge was being built in England. Alpacas lived with humans for so long that Incan mythology has alpacas emerging from the caves along with humans. They are also believed to have arisen from the waters, and in some stories are credited with saving humans from the floods.
The Incan civilization of the 15th and 16th centuries prized alpaca textiles above almost all else – so much so that alpaca cloth was traded as currency and Incan armies set fire to imperial textile warehouses when they retreated from battle so that their enemies would not benefit from this precious currency.
Heartfelt owners raise their alpacas for their fiber, which is cloud soft yet remarkably strong and warm. Alpacas are shorn once each year and are not harmed in the process. They are gentle, stoic, largely defenseless creatures who live very lightly on the land. It is easy to see their therapeutic presence and their comforting fleeces giving rise to myths of alpacas saving humans.