What a wonderous creature is the alpaca a camelid native to South America. Not to be confused with its relative the llama (who is twice the size and has curved banana-shaped ears) – oh no! The petite alpaca has straighter, smaller ears and has been carefully bred and domesticated for its luxurious single-layer coat for no less than 6000 years, its fibre fit for royalty. Alpaca fleece comes in white, cream and beige, and brown all the way to black – with even grey and red-grey or silver-grey tints in between. Similar to fine merino (sheep) wool, alpaca wool is warmer, less prickly, contains no lanoline (making it hypoallergenic) and is naturally water and fire-resistant. (Now that’s one amazing, technicolour dreamcoat).