Wednesday, March 29, 2017

What to do with all of that alpaca fleece - Fiber Co-ops

As I have written over the years, alpaca fleece is a versatile material that can be created into many  - from end use alpaca hats and alpaca socks like we sell as well as felting, dryer balls, felted soaps, insulation and other creative items.  It all depends on what you want to do with it.  However, if you are raising alpacas for pure joy and not overly interested in personally expanding into the secondary market, one of the easiest ways is to send your fleece to a fiber co-op.

At this time, they are few and far between and most likely not in your hometown (or state). But, as alpaca is being "discovered" the the U.S. and the industry grows, so does the demand.

A couple of options to look into:

ACOA - Alpaca Coalition of America - is a straight forward program there you send off a fleece and you receive a check (usually there is a 15% margin that goes to the processors).

NEAFP - New England Alpaca Fiber Pool - is a combination of fiber collection and making of finished goods.

As always, the more you put into your fleece (time or money or both), the more you will get out of it. If you shear it and send it to a co-op for someone else to deal with it, your overall gross and likely your net will be smaller.  If you take the time to wash and/ or card and/or spin and/ or knit your fleece, you could receive more.  Nails on a chalkboard could be preferred to any or all of these steps to some, and that is why the co-ops could be a great option for you to get the fleece out of your attic / garage / barn, a little money in your pocket and have someone utilize / wear / enjoy your fleece.