All About Fibre!!
Here at BellaRuba Alpacas we are aiming to craft luxurious products, with our super fine fibres from our own Alpacas. This will range from yarns, baby blankets, pillows, throws, hats, scarves, gloves and even selling the raw fleeces themselves. As well as Breeding in high quality genetics to produce show winning animals.
During shearing all of our animals have a fleece sample taken to test the quality of their fleece that year. The tests involve looking at the density and length of the staples in their fleece, crimp, fineness & micron count. Other Measurements also are done, for example standard deviation is very important. This is the spread of individual fibre diameters around the mean fibre diameter (Micron) - the lower the SD the more uniform and desirable the fibre is. There is evidence that lower SD values for a given micron give better spinning results. There is also a lesser likelihood of fleece rot, and a probability of higher staple strengths. However, SD increases with micron, which makes comparisons difficult, so some other indicators of variability are calculated.
Another important measurement regarding the comfort & feel of the fleece is the comfort factor, which is measured in %. This is done by 100 minus the PF (Prickle Factor). Prickle factor was an early attempt to characterise the tendency for coarser fibres to produce irritations on the skin. Essentially, fibres over 30 microns in diameter tend to bend less and produce a painful 'poking' sensation on the skin’s surface. With more than 5% of the total number of fibres the effect tends to be quite noticeable. The CV (coefficient of variation) is the SD multiplied by 100% and divided by the micron. Within the normal range of fleece types for which fleece testing is carried out, CV tends to fall in the range 15% to 30%. CV is the most effective breeding factor in terms of accounting for diameter variability. However, whilst CV is easier to appreciate than SD, there is still a slight tendency for CV to be higher with higher microns.
Grade 1 Ultra Fine <18.1 microns
Grade 2 Super Fine 18.1 - 20 microns
Grade 3 Fine 20.1 - 23 microns
Grade 4 Medium 23.1 - 26 microns
Grade 5 Strong 26.1- 30 microns)
Grade 6 X Strong > 30 microns
As you can see on the photographs our fleeces clearly demonstrate one of the best examples you can get on the overall look and texture of the fleece itself. These fleeces shown are from our show winning animals Rosika & Francoise who won at th British Alpaca Futurity Show 2015.
(Information Regarding fleece fibre referranced NZ SGS)
Only 1 month's fleece growth!