One of the wonderful reasons that people own alpacas is to work with the alpaca’s fleece. So you have the fleece shorn off the alpaca — now what? One avenue that is available to owners is to enter the spin-off competition. This competition should create yarn that reflects the alpaca’s fiber traits, good or bad. It can also inform the owner on the importance of proper preparation of their alpaca’s fiber and how it directly relates to the finished product. This is an important factor for those that create products to sell in their farm store as part of the eco-tourism market or for the growing commercial alpaca fiber US market.
As the demand for quality fiber and emphasis on value-added products increases, the importance of fiber education is vital. When combined with the information received from the Cottage Fleece competition, the owner has an overall picture of their fiber’s qualities. Judges’ comments further help the owner understand how important the fleece criterion is and how it relates to the commercial fiber market or processing their fiber at the mill.
It is an exciting time in the alpaca industry as owners are exploring hundreds of uses for their fiber product. Make sure to find a use for all your alpaca fiber! To learn specifics about the spin-off competition read through the appropriate sections in the AOA Show System Handbook.