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Post Shearing Update: Alpaca Fiber Processing in the Works!

Updated: Jun 21, 2022

Fiber processing has taken up a lot of time on the farm recently. When the alpaca is sheared, the first fleece they cut is off the back of the animal. This part is called the blanket or first cutting. This is the part I have spent the majority of the time processing because it is the fleece that has the most even fleece and the longest fibers. If you have had interest in purchasing raw fleece from us in the past, this is the part I usually recommend purchasing for spinning. The second and third cuttings are great for felting projects, like wool dryer balls.

When shearing is over, the first thing I do is lay out the fleece on a table for skirting. Skirting is the first step in cleaning the fiber. During skirting, the large bits of grass, hay, and straw are hand picked from the fleece. Picking out the debris first makes the rest of processing so much easier.

The next step in processing the fiber is soaking the fiber in order to clean it. Alpaca fiber is without lanolin unlike sheeps wool so this process is shorter than standard wool. Alpaca fleece tends to felt very easily so you want to be sure to simply soak the fiber and not give it any agitation at all during this process. I allow mine to soak for 6-8 hours and then I lay flat in the sun to dry.

After the fleece is dry, I am ready to card (which is a process where you brush out the fiber) and spin the fiber. The entire cleaning process can take about a week per blanket and spinning can take months. We hope to have hand spun yarn in our store front by September 2022!

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