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Alpalaine

Association d'éleveurs d'alpagas pour la promotion et la transformation de la laine - Association loi de 1901

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The fleece

The alpaca fiber is famous for its fineness (diameter from 15 to 30 microns), its heat and its resistance.

Colours,going from the white to the black through of all the tones of grey and chestnut, offer a natural palette of about twenty different tints. In wool breeding, it is usual to privilege the white colour which allows to envisage paints. At the microscope level, the structure of a wool ply presents hooks which can held together and give a thread. The hooks of the alpaca fiber are small, what contributes to its softness, but often imposes to mix it a small percentage with another well hooked wool to get a thread that keeps up. The fiber of Alpaca is not medullary (without medullary canal, as it is th case for sheep), this is an essential characteristic when working in a spinning mill and its ability to be tinted.

fleece However, we can find an small percentage of " big hair " or " nurse's hair " spread on the whole body and more particularly on the neck, the stomach and the paws. This big hair, medullar, is thus unwanted in spinning mill because would depreciate fleeces intended for the transformation. On the back of the Alpaca, the fiber grows about 12 cms a year. The annual shearing allows to collect between 1,5 and 3 kg of wool by animal. This quantity depends on the wool quality of the animal, follicular density etc., but also on its age, its physiological state (castrated male, female in production), of its health, conditions of breeding … Another particularity of the alpaca is the absence of suint. The suint is a waterproofing fat found for example on the sheep wool. During shearing, the suint allows a natural lubrication of the mower combs, for Alpacas, it is thus necessary to oil frequently combs. during the wash time, the lack of suint becomes an advantage because the output is very high: between 80 and 90 %, as it is 50 % for the sheep.