Thursday, November 8, 2012

Where Does All That Baby Alpaca Fiber Come From?

When I was first getting into alpacas, I kept on seeing tags on almost every article of clothing as being "Made from Baby Alpaca".  I was amazed at how many cria there must be in the world to produce this one time supply of fleece and what did they do with all of the adult alpacas?  Well, the short answer is, any alpaca can grow Baby Alpaca fleece.

"Baby alpaca" is not used as an adjective for a young cria in the textile world, it refers to the fineness of the fleece an alpaca - even if that alpaca is10 years old.

Fiber Classification: 

Royal Alpaca - finer than 18 microns 
Super Fine / Baby Alpaca - finer than 20 microns
Fine - finer than 25 micron
Medium - under 30 micron
Strong - 30 microns and greater


Mixed Pieces - short fibers, coarser than 32 microns - used for felting 


* A micron is a measurement of length equal to one millionth of a meter and used to measure the width of a single alpaca fiber to determine its fineness / softness. Most human hair is at least 100 microns, 5 times thicker than alpaca fiber.


Hopefully this helps anyone wondering about this topic as I did years ago.

Feel free to contact us with any quesitons.