General Information

  • Alpaca Fiber

    Found in a vast array of natural colors from white to black and most everything in between (beiges, fawns, browns, and greys), the fiber of the alpaca is the byproduct for which the animals were originally first domesticated some 6,000 years ago. Modern textile grade alpaca fleece is blessed with amazing fineness, very good insulation qualities, and high luster, making alpaca a near perfect fiber from which to make luxurious garments. Because of those qualities, clothing made from it is both light weight yet extremely warm at the same time, while being more durable than cashmere. 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 »
  • Alpaca Fiber, Llama Fiber, Sheep Fiber or Wool, How Are They Different?

    Alpaca and llama fleece are classified as specialty or luxury fibers, but sheep fleece or wool tops the list of animal fibers used today. The camelids (alpaca and llama) are quite similar to each other in fiber and background, and though they bear some similarity to sheep, the differences between the fibers of these herding animals are outstanding. more »
  • Alpaca Fibre

    Alpaca fibre is one of the most luxurious fibres in the world. It comes in 22 officially recognised colours and every shade in between. Its most remarkable quality is its softness – alpaca fibre is inherently soft. This is due to the fact it has less scales on each individual fibre, compared to sheep's wool which has many, and more prominent scales on each individual fibre. (Suri alpaca have less scales than huacaya alpaca so their fibre is even softer.) Even at its coarsest, alpaca is inherently softer than sheep's wool and often a certain percentage of alpaca fibre is added to sheep's wool during the woollen process to enhance the handle or feel. more »
  • Alpaca Fleece Development and Methods of Assessing Fibre Quality

    The paper defines the major quality attributes of alpaca fibre (fibre diameter, fibre length, fibre colour, contamination and incidence of medullated fibres). The development of alpaca fleece and skin follicles is then discussed. The connection between the evolution in the textile market and alpaca fibre quality are discussed particularly in regard to fibre diameter variability. Suggestions on the methods of assessing fibre quality in the shearing shed, in the laboratory and in the office are made. Preliminary data from a survey of Australian alpaca fleece quality are presented along with some examples of fibre diameter and medullated fibre histograms produced by measurement on the optical fibre diameter analyser (OFDA). The paper concludes with a brief discussion on the main management and environmental effects on alpaca quality. more »
  • Basics About Alpaca Feece

    Covers a brief history of alpaca fleece, its structure, how to evaluate it on the alpaca, and how to care and prepare it. more »
  • Crying Over Spilt Onions?

    I confronted my own confusion regarding the terminology that we apply to the feral fibres that we are all trying so hard to eliminate from our fleeces. You know, the ones that cause prickle factor, the ones we hear judges rail against as “medullated fibres”, the ones we learnt about in skin histology as “primary fibres”, the ones dismissively cast out with the skirtings as “guard hair”. more »
  • Fact Sheet - SD and CVD - Measures of Micron Variation

    What is SD? SD stands for Standard Deviation. Standard deviation is a statistic which measures the degree of variation of fibre fineness above and below the average fibre diameter. The higher the SD, the more variable is the fleece sample. more »
  • Fiber Glossary

    Fiber artisans, and the textile industry, have developed an entire vocabulary that is bewildering to those not familiar with it. This glossary may help by giving some basic descriptions of the words and terminology. more »
  • Free Fiber Booklet

    This booklet is an introduction to a better understanding of what is alpaca fiber, how it grows and how breeders assess it. more »
  • Glossary of Terms

    Author: SA Stud Merino Sheepbreeders Association Date of Publication: 2014 Publication: SA Stud Merino Sheepbreeders Association Overview: A glossary of terms used in the sheep industry. Read the rest of the article:… more »
  • Glossary of Wool Terms

    A glossary of wool terms 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 »
  • Understanding Alpaca Fiber Structure

    In order to make informed decisions on selecting quality foundation herd animals with desirable fiber characteristics, the new alpaca breeder must understand basic fiber anatomy and physiology. This section provides information that will help you understand the differences between suri and huacaya fiber and what makes a good fiber producing alpaca. more »
  • Understanding Fleece Results

    Testing and then understanding fleece testing results is invaluable to alpaca breeders. It allows stud owners to make educated and informed decisions in their breeding programs. It also gives breeders information on the quality of their fleece in regards to processing into products. more »

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