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The American wool industry processes similar quality wools by their fineness to produce the following qualities:

Huacaya:

  • royal baby lower than 20 µ 
  • baby from 20 to 23 µ
  • superfine from 23 to 26 µ
  • medium from 26 to 29 µ
  • large from 29 to 32 gµ
  • coarse from 32 to 35µ

Suri:

  • fine from 21 to 23 µ
  • medium from 24 to 27 µ
  • large from 27 to 32 µ

The important differences between the figures emphasises the selection stage of the animals so that they produce wool of a low micron, this is important for the quality of the end product. The bottom of the tables represents coarse wool which scratches and cannot be in direct contact with the skin. The finer the wool and the more homogen it is (low S.D.), the softer it will be. We are still a long way behind in our knowledge of breeding for wool excellence than our ancestors. Indeed, in Peru the mummy of a thousand year old alpaca was found with a micron of 17. 9µ and a S.D. of 1,1 µ all over the fleece which is simply amazing. No animal fibre today approaches this incredible homogeneity. These statistics appear incredible to us and almost impossible to reproduce. Currently, the best figures of S.D. are nearer to 4, and go down exceptionally in the region of 3

Without exception, removing all vegetation matter from the fleece is essential. Some breeders trim the top of cria fleece by a few millimeters to alleviate this problem. This drastically reduces the amount of foreign matter clinging to the fleece.

Good maintenance of fields, keeping them as clean as possible is essential to reduce the amount of debris accumulated by the fleece.

The wool of younger animals (under one year old) tends to felt together due to absorbing moisture and heat from the air this is especially so if they tend to roll frequently.

"Alpaga Dévelopment" offers its members theoretical and practical introductory days to teach you how to process your own wool :

  • hand spinning using a wheelspinning
  • using a spindle
  • felting
  • high and low strung rug making
  • weaving

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