May 10, 2010

Sorting Alpaca Fleeces

In April I had the opportunity to join some interesting people at a fibre sorting workshop.  It was hosted by Alpaca Central in Grand Valley, Ontario (Hi Margie and Jean!) and led by  Ruth Elvestad from Olds Fibre College in Alberta.

This was a two-day course that provided us with the knowledge and hands-on experience required when deciding how to sort alpaca fleece.  With shearing days upon us, it's important to understand what part of the fleece is best for what type of product.

Ruth is a world-renowned fibre expert, technician and alpaca judge and we were in awe of her knowledge. Not to mention that she's a funny, warm, engaging woman to spend a couple of days with!

Here's Jane earnestly studying a sample fleece to determine its various characteristics:  grade, handle, uniformity of micron, length, colour, crimp, density, brightness, guard hair and impurities.  There's a lot to remember and comprehend but we were eager and looking forward to applying our new found knowledge back at our home farms.

John and Sharon from Alpacas from Eighth and Mud are inviting the public to join them on May 30th as they host an open house on shearing day.  Here is a link to their site:

I'll be at the sorting table, elbow deep in some lucsious fleeces as they come right off the alpacas.  It's a fun day and I hope some of my friends can come out and see what I've been going on (and on, and on, and on) about.

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