The shearing crew rolled in at 6:51 am yesterday and an energetic day began. Within 10 minutes, the first alpaca named Costello was picked up, laid down and shorn. 6 minutes later, on to the next.
|Cisco's coat waiting to be skirted|
Next, the neck and legs are shorn off of the body and put into a separate pile as well. The fleece is a bit more uneven and rarely as soft as the blanket. This will make socks and great felting materials. Then, the clean up. Another shearer takes over to clean up the belly, leg hairs and any "second cuts". Second cuts are small bits of fiber that are not the same length as the rest of the fiber. It is essential to get this out of the fleece you are going to use because it will cause "slubs" or bumps and unevenness in your yarn. Once the blanket is taken away and the neck and legs (called seconds) are separated, we throw all of our "thirds" into a pile and they are put into our compost bin for recycling. It makes excellent compost.
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
|Isabella waiting to be shorn as her mom Maggie waits nearby|
This video is of a llama named Mimi. She hasn't been shorn in 7 years, nor her toes or teeth attended to (she does not belong to us). So, she is getting the full llama tune up.
|A group effort to shear 121 alpacas and 3 llamas in 15.5 hours|
|Skirting and cleaning the alpaca blanket|
|Ripley and Charmagne waiting to be shorn|
|Shearing Cocoa as the evening sets in|