- Lynn Edens, owner of Imperial Yarn and Little Creek Farm, has transformed a passion for spinning alpaca fiber into a thriving business and is on a mission to help other American-grown alpaca ranchers in the United States find success. Lynn was running a horse farm when she became interested in spinning. The first time she spun with alpaca, she was hooked. Alpaca fleece is available in grades as fine and uniform as cashmere yet offers distinct advantages over that other luxury fiber. “I loved the buttery handle and the brightness of the best-quality alpaca,” she says. “It was as soft as cashmere with comparable loft, but it also had great strength and longer fiber length, which makes for easier spinning and more consistent yarn.” She also discovered that this premier alpaca fiber was affordable relative to its quality. “This is because unlike cashmere goats, for instance, top-quality alpacas can produce pounds instead of ounces of elite-quality fiber every year.”
- Our goal is to keep fiber grading as straight forward as possible on the farmer's end. Our system is designed to be simple to understand while identifying the areas of the alpaca with different levels of fineness and staple length. We ask that all farm's submitting fiber keep it separated into the three basic grades, based on how it comes off during shearing. Fiber should be sheared, kept separate by shearing location, and quickly skirted to remove barn yard debris and short cuts under 1.5” in staple length.
- The oldest and most traditional method of turning alpaca fibre into yarn is hand spinning. Alpaca is a very attractive fibre to the hand spinner as unlike sheep’s wool it is a dry fibre, containing minuscule amounts of lanolin and so can be spun straight from the fleece without the need to scour. Many BAS members sell individual fleeces in all colours to hand spinners. Some will sell carded (or combed) fleece and some washed and carded fleece in small quantities down to as little as 50-500g. The average unsorted alpaca fleece is around 2.5kg and will give a hand spinner enough fine fibre to keep them busy for a very long time.
- The article introduces alpaca and its fiber, and designs the proper yarn count and relative fabrics to meet the demands of markets according to the fact that the fiber of Alpaca is thicker than Merino wool, and has excerlent spinnability and unique performance of the fabric made of it.
- A survey of several mills and their processing of suri.