Last winter I made a scarf-hoodie from some Plymouth chunky baby alpaca and she abosultely didn't like it. I couldn't understand why. I wound up giving it to my mom, cause she's very petite and it fit her, however, now she won't wear it bc it's too itchy. She says it's very "prickly."
I know what is meant by the prickly feeling. I have been given some horrible alpaca fleece that went straight to the compost bin or used as mulch in the garden.
The prickly feeling, or prickle factor is caused by the guard hairs. Alpaca has these guard hairs, but not all alpaca have the same degree. Many breeders have achieved a 100% comfort factor with their fleece, which means the guards hairs are not there. A good seller will skirt the fleece and only use the saddle as this is less likely to have the guard hairs. If they include the legs, they increase the likelihood of introducing the guard hairs.
I am using Misti Alpaca from Peru, and it is angel soft. It is only 2 ply, 7 stitches to the inch on U S no. 2 needles, but they also make 4 ply. But alpaca from other countries may not be free from these guard hairs. I do not want to point the finger at any country in particular, but some of you may well know the country to which I refer.
My friend breeds alpaca, and her fleece is 14 microns and even lower, with 100% comfort factor.