Alpaca and llama fiber is sold raw at this time.
We are now selling Peruvian alpaca products such as 100% alpaca scarves, socks, gloves, mittens, etc. at our farm and farmers markets.
Alpaca fiber, in contrast to sheep’s wool, is special because wool has lanolin, which some people are allergic to, and alpaca fibers are dry and virtually lanolin-free. Alpaca fiber is also six times warmer than wool and three times stronger. The average alpaca will produce three to eight pounds of fiber, which is equal to a couple of sweaters.
After the alpaca is shorn, the fiber is divided into “firsts”, “seconds”, and “thirds”. Each clip goes into a separate clear plastic bag and labeled with the animal’s name & date of shearing.
- Firsts are the highest-quality fiber, which come from across the body.
- Seconds are the fibers from the neck, legs, and belly.
- Thirds, the lowest quality, come from the lower legs and tail.
After the fiber is sorted, the rancher has some decisions to make. If the alpaca owner is also a hand spinner, they’ll use some of the firsts to hand-spin yarn for fiber artists & knitters. Hand-spun yarn has a different feel than manufactured yarn. Before the yarn can be spun, either at a mill or by hand, it must be washed and carded. It comes back as roving that can be hand spun into yarn.