Fibre to Fleece
Fibre of the Gods!
Fleece to Fashion
Alpacas produce fibre that is considered a luxurious fibre by the textile industry and has been valued since the time of the Incas for its softness, lustre, exceptional warmth, strength and range of natural colours. Alpaca is a specialty fibre that performs well on its own, but can also be blended with other fibres to achieve different looks, making it very versatile.
Alpaca fibre is a natural, environmentally friendly product and does not require chemical dyes.
Alpaca is fine, soft and warm. The fineness of the fibre is measured in microns (1 micron =1/1000 of a millimetre). The lower the micron, the finer the fleece; thus demanding a higher monetary value.
Alpaca fibre is very strong and resilient, making it ideal for industrial processing. It is naturally water repellent, does not easily tear or pill.
Alpaca has good thermal capabilities and is several times warmer than sheep's wool. It is an ideal natural fibre for the Canadian climate.
Alpaca fibre contains no lanolin and is a perfect option for anyone sensitive to wool.
Alpaca is used and sold in the same forms as wool. As rovings, a variety of yarns, felt, quilt batts and luxury yard goods.
Alpaca fibre is harvested once a year by shearing. Fleece growth on the alpaca varies in fineness, length, and colour.
This variation makes it necessary to separate the shorn sections
and based on the following micron classes:
- Royal Baby <20,
- Baby 20.0-22.9,
- Superfine 23.0-25.9:
These first three classes can usually be worn against the skin.
- Medium 26.0-28.9: is appropriate for garments worn over a shirt.
- Course 29.0-35.0: is used for lined outerwear and rugs.
- Strong >35.0: is often blended with wool and carded into batts for duvets and felted.
And the following colour groups:
- Natural White (no fawn or black spots!) - limited to pure white,
- Beige - includes beige, light fawn and light fawn/white pinto,
- Fawn - includes medium fawn and dark fawn,
- Brown - includes light brown, medium brown and dark brown (maroon),
- Rose Grey - includes light rose grey, medium rose grey, dark rose grey and brown/white pinto
- Silver Grey - includes light silver grey, medium silver grey, dark silver grey, black/white pinto & streaky white/black
The Canadian Camelid Fibre Co-op developed the Fibre Harvest Code of Practice available on their website as an informational tool for breeders.