Saturday, May 28, 2011

Skirting, sorting and grading alpaca fleece

I know I haven't posted in 2 weeks, as a friend who stopped by the farm yesterday pointed out (you know who you are). . . so I thought I would write what was on my mind today.

As I was skirting through fleeces that were just sheared last weekend, I am always amazed at how much you can learn about your breeding program with the fleece OFF the animals.  Skirting, sorting and grading is the best way to see just how your breeding program is working.

We do not put fiber right in the bag during shearing but we treat each fleece as if it were a show fleece.  This is the best and easiest way to skirt, sort and grade.   It is also the best way to evaluate a fleece.  Having it thrown in a bag doesn't tell you nearly as much!  

Following is a quick overview in pics of how to properly gather a fleece so that skirting/sorting/grading work is minimized. . . more pics and info will be available in my new book being published this summer/fall name "Alpaca Yarn - from Mating to Market"™

If you are interested in learning more or want to be part of a future skirting/sorting/grading course - please contact us for more info. 

Putting the paper under the alpaca to catch the entire blanket
Blanket is almost completely off - see person to the right ready to pull the paper

Straightening out the fleece and putting all cut side up

Wrapping up the fleece like a sushi roll

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