It's All About the Fiber
Every spring we shear our alpacas. This glorious fleece is our annual harvest. We are mindful that all activity that happens on our farm, or any farm, affects not only the alpacas’ health in general but also the alpacas’ fleece, and thus our end products made with that fleece. Many farms focus on raising breeding livestock only; wonderful! Our industry needs them.
Our little farm focuses on the fiber production. We learned early on that alpaca fleece is not uniform as most sheep breeds are. Instead of simply skirting our individual fleeces and sending them off to our local mills to be processed by individual fleece, we have chosen to have our fleeces sorted first. The fleece is sorted by length, grade (range of 3 microns), and color. Fleeces are then processed by grade, not by individual alpaca. Sorted fleece creates a much more uniform raw product and allows for all the fleece to be utilized, rather than wastefully tossing out the ‘not so good.’ The finest fleeces will be transformed into lovely yarns suitable for weaving and knitting into wearable items or blankets and throws. The coarser fleece will be made into fabulous rugs, yarns and roving for felted projects, or felted batts. Sorting fleece gives us alpaca farmers many more options. Utilizing all the fleece supports our mission of sustainable agriculture.
We certainly don’t claim to be experts! We are always motivated to learn more. In the future, we plan to share what we we've learned about self-supporting, sustainable fiber farms.
Pam Harwood of Longwoods Alpacas, is a Certified Sorter™ and has an extensive explanation of certified sorted fleece™ on her farm’s website. Please follow this link ....
For more information on certified sorting™, please visit the North American Alpaca Fiber Cooperative’s website: