Table II

Protein Fibers

Fiber Animal Micron Size Range Fiber Length Range Fiber Structure Elasticity Flammability Felting Potential Suitable Uses
Alpaca Lama pacos 18 - 36 20 - 55 cm Huacayo - crimped
Suri - smooth
Low Moderate Low Garment fabrics
Angora Oryctolagus cuniculus 14 3 - 6 cm down Smooth down, guide and guard fibers Low Moderate Moderate Fine knitwear
Camel Down Camelus spp. (primarily bactrianus) 16 - 20 3 - 4 cm Smooth down and hair Low Moderate Low Garment fabrics, fine outerwear
Cashmere Capra hircus laniger 12.5 - 19 3.5 - 5 cm Smooth down and hair Moderate in best quality fiber Moderate Moderate Fine garment fabrics, shawls
Mohair Capra hircus aegagrus 20 - 44 to 30 cm Smooth, wavy crimp Good Moderate Low Garment and upholstery fabrics, shawls of fine fiber
Dog Canis lupus familiaris Varies Varies Varies, down usually smooth like angora Varies Moderate Varies Down types: like Angora
Hair types: like Llama
Llama Lama glama 19 - 38 8 - 25 cm Smooth down and hair Low Moderate Low Varies by quality: medium garments to rope
Qiviut Ovibos moschatus 17 - 22 4 - 7 cm Smooth down and hair, very warm Low Moderate Low Warm knitwear
Silk (Mulberry) Bombyx mori 15 - 25 600 - 1500 m Double strand triangular filament High, poor recovery Low None Fine garment fabrics
Silk (Tussah) Antherea spp. 27 - 30 Varies, to 850 m possible Double strand oblong filament High, poor recovery Low None Garment and decorating fabrics. Usually spun, not reeled.
Yak Down Bos grunniens 15 - 20 3.5 - 5 cm Smooth down and hair Moderate Moderate Good Warm knitwear


Maximum 264 points

Examiner 1: 228
Alpaca 21
Angora 24
Camel Down 18
Cashmere 18
Mohair 18
Dog 21
Llama 21
Qiviut 18
Silk, Bombyx 24
Silk, Tussah 24
Yak Down 21

Examiner 2: 227
Alpaca 21
Angora 21
Camel Down 21
Cashmere 21
Mohair 19
Dog 21
Llama 21
Qiviut 18
Silk, Bombyx 24
Silk, Tussah 24
Yak Down 19

I spent weeks resarching these fibers, some things like feltability are not much discussed and I didn't have samples of everything to try it myself. Some are hideously expensive. I tried samples, but I didn't do a large-scale trial. To get a meaningful comparison I'd have to do them all at once and control for the amount of baking soda to add. Without it stuff just doesn't felt in San Francisco city water.

Examiner 1 had these comments:

Usually shorn at 22 cm or shorter and the fiber does felt but slower than wool. I did mention that it felted poorly, which I thought would indicate that. I have a friend who spins a lot of alpaca and thoroughly abuses her yarn and it hardly does a thing.
Camel Down
Fiber stretches but has poor recovery. Something I didn't find discussed in my sources.
Felts poorly. I found several sources that talked about cashmere textiles felting, so I put "moderate." My thrift-store cashmere sweater has always washed about the same as wool.
Low elasticity. This I have to question. The fiber science textbook I used as a reference talked about how mohair has excellent stretch and recovery, in the range of 130%.
Down fiber is less than 2.5 cm. I looked in several sources for this information and I didn't find that. I don't have a sample to examine.

Examiner 2 had these comments:

Felts well. I know Angora felts but I did not find any comment that it was especially good.
"Good feltability?" This directly contradicts several sources about mohair. Yes, eventually, it will felt. The textbook noted that it does not felt easily and I recall a maker of felt batts who stopped adding mohair to wool batts because it shed out so much. Also, I was not exactly gentle when I was washing my raw mohair and it didn't even try to felt. I think my assessment of "low" is appropriate.
Yak Down
Felts poorly. I was not able to find much about felting yak down, other than it does felt.

Examiner 2 marked off for flammability, as for the previous table. The diameter of silk filaments are usually measured in deniers, but I was able to find enough measurements in microns to come up with an appropriate size range.