- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Much has been written about crimp and the relationship with curvature, frequency and microns, as well as curvature and compression. Many of the comments you hear are fact and fiction. We have heard the crinkle theory, the popcorn theory and various statements like “crinkle provides bulk which is created by the air pockets” (processors have concerns re the lack of bulk in Huacaya fibre – products too heavy) and of course that “crimp frequency is a reliable indicator of fineness”. I will demonstrate quite clearly that well-defined crimp is more consistent in its relationships with crimp frequency, curvature and micron.