• How important is Fiber Quality in Alpacas?

    Crimp is related to the fibers as they appear in an intact lock. Its measured in waviness per unit of length. The prevailing theory is the greater the crimp, the finer the fleece. Cameron pointed out this isn't always the case, however. Many Peruvian alpacas have recently been examined that have little or no crimp, but very fine fleeces. more »
  • Don't Let Micron Madness Crimp Your Style

    Everyone who comes on the farm these days is concerned about two items - micron count and crimp. I, myself, have written much about the virtues of skinny fleece and bold crimp, so I began to ponder whether this narrow focus was all that healthy for our industry. more »
  • Alpaca Fiber Facts

    My goal is to breed alpacas with the fineness of cashmere and the crimp of merino. Fineness is measured in microns and finer fiber has a smaller micron count. As an example, human hair can have a micron count of 40-80+ while most cashmere is in the 15-19 micron range. Alpaca fiber can range from 15 -40 microns—depending on their breeding and age—with younger animals having the finest fiber. more »
  • How to Evaluate Alpaca Fiber

    There are no perfect alpacas. There is great room for improvement in all of our herds, and we can watch it happen before our eyes in our very own pastures, when we make good breeding choices. Once you learn to judge alpaca conformation and fleece, you'll see that not even blue ribbon winners are perfect. Learning to evaluate fleece will help you to make the best breeding choices for your alpacas. more »
  • Variation in the Softness and Fibre Curvature of Cashmere, Alpaca, Mohair and Other Rare Animal Fibres

    Softness of apparel textiles is a major attribute sought by consumers. There is surprisingly little objective information on the softness properties of rare animal fibres, particularly cashmere, alpaca and mohair. Samples of these and other rare animal fibres from different origins of production and processors were objectively measured for fibre diameter, fibre curvature (FC, crimp) and resistance to compression (softness). While there were curvilinear responses of resistance to compression to FC and to mean fibre diameter, FC accounted for much more of the variance in resistance to compression. Fibre type was an important determinant of resistance to compression. The softest fibres were alpaca, mohair and cashgora and all of the fibres measured were softer than most Merino wool. Quivet, llama, camel, guanaco, vicuña, yak wool, bison wool, dehaired cow down and Angora rabbit were also differentiated from alpaca, mohair and cashmere. There were important differences in the softness and FC of cashmere from different origins with cashmere from newer origins of production (Australia, New Zealand and USA) having lower resistance to compression than cashmere from traditional sources of China and Iran. Cashmere from different origins was differentiated on the basis of resistance to compression, FC and fibre diameter. Cashgora was differentiated from cashmere by having a lower FC and lower resistance to compression. There were minority effects of colour and fibre diameter variation on resistance to compression of cashmere. The implications of these findings for the identification and use of softer raw materials are discussed. more »

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