Alpaca Fleece is Processed into a Variety of Products
At Alpacas at Lone Ranch, our alpacas are shorn once a year. There are three shearing areas: blanket, neck, leg and belly, and 6 grades of fineness. It is important to know the grade of the fiber to determine its end use.
Grade 1 - Ultrafine <20 microns (this is what you want to wear next to your skin)
Grade 2 - Superfine 20 - 22.9 microns (yarn, wear next to your skin)
Grade 6 - Robust 32.1 - 35 microns rugs, stadium seat mats, car seats, stuffing for pet bedding, even insulation: R-95)
Shorter fiber 2 to 3.75" in length gets processed in the "woolen" method resulting in lofty yarn with fuzzy appearance. This yarn is best used in sweaters and knitted garments where loft and insulation are desired.
"Worsted" method of processing utilizes fibers 3.75 - 6" long that produces smooth yarn with tighter twist best used in weaving or lace weight. Click on the links below and get an instant snapshot of our alpacas' fleece quality by studying fiber statistics of most of our production herd:
Each year, Yocom-McColl Testing Laboratories in Denver, tests our fiber. The 2016 results are in:
Of 36 animals' fiber tested, 17% came in as Grade 1, 31% as Grade 2, 33% as Grade 3, 17% as Grade 4, and one animal turns out to have a low Grade 6. That one was a big surprise.
We are very pleased with the results and are busily picking the fleeces free of vegetation to send to Shephard's Mill in Kansas to be spun into yarn. Knowing the grades allows us to combine same grade fleeces to get the best yarn at an affordable price.
Alpaca fiber is one of the less flammable and difficult to ignite fibers, with a slow spreading flame which is easy to extinguish.
Another fiber pool is the New England Alpaca Fiber Pool. They carry an inventory of products made in the US from US alpaca fleece. Each product requires us to send a certain amount of fleece and pay a reasonable wholesale price for socks, hats, blankets, etc.
Stray 1 agrees it's a Grade 1!
Our fleeces are sorted by grade and length and shipped to the Shepherd's Mill in Phillipsburg, Kansas (for a 5 week turn around) and Snow Peak Fiber Mill in Lebanon/Oregon (for a 6 months wait) to be processed into heavenly yarn, mostly skeins of 200 yards, and rovings for hand spinners. .
I combine different colors of similar micron counts and length to produce various shades of natural colors. For instance, several of our white and one black fleece were spun into beautiful silver grey yarn, and we are adding between 10-15% of colored merino rovings, silk and bamboo to create delicious blends. The yarn is available in our ranch store and we sell it at local events and alpaca shows. We are over-dying some of the lighter yarns and are delighted with the results. Rovings are also available, as is a small amount of raw fleece if you want to spin your own.
If you knit or crochet and have never used Alpaca yarn, you owe it to yourself to order some today! E-mail us for colors and weight, or click on the Alpaca Products link above.
The coarsest fiber is made into hand-woven rugs by a company in Texas. We carry 2x3', 3x5' and 4x6'rugs, and can special order any other size.
We also carry a large assortment of finished product: scarves and hats hand knitted locally, the warmest socks imaginable, and cardigans and vests imported from Peru.
We use the least expensive method to ship your order and accept VISA and MasterCard, as well as Paypal.
25.6% of alpacas are white which happens to be the commercially most valuable color because it can be dyed.
Only 1.6% of alpacas are silver grey and 9.8% are true black.
Before shearing .....
Four weanlings before shearing -
After shearing .....
...... and after shearing. The 4 boys together produced 25 lbs of of fabulous fleece, with Bellamy earning the blue ribbon for the most fleece - 8.3 lbs.
Alpacas At Lone Ranch Renate & Richard Gyuro (541) 821-8071