NASHVILLE — July 5, 2018 — Since the United States first commercially imported alpacas in 1984, alpaca breeders have worked hard to produce offspring with the finest, softest, most lustrous fleece.
The inaugural 2018 Alpaca Owners Association (AOA) Natural Fiber Extravaganza sponsored by Long Hollow Suri Alpacas/New Era Fiber takes place July 13-15, 2018, at the Wilson County Exposition Center in Lebanon, Tenn., and will feature the Alpaca Owners Association National Fleece Competition.
The Alpaca Owners Association National Fleece Competition is the largest alpaca fleece show in the United States. More than 630 fleeces have been entered from throughout the United States and Canada.
Fleeces entered are shorn from the prime blanket area only and skirted so that neck, belly and leg areas have been removed. They are sorted for competition by breed type (huacaya or suri), gender, age and color groups. The fleeces are assigned points using an absolute scoring system within each of the following characteristics: fineness and handle, uniformity of micron, length and color, character and density, absence of guard hair and impurities, as well as fleece weight.
Every entry in a class is placed according to the total score achieved, but only the top six fleeces in a class are awarded ribbons. Every entrant receives a written scorecard for each fleece entered in the show. This valuable feedback impacts breeding decisions made for improved characteristics in future generations as well as determining the end use and quality of products made from the processed fiber.
Fleece judging at the Natural Fiber Extravaganza sponsored by Long Hollow Suri Alpacas/New Era Fiber can be viewed live on television screens at the event.
Alpaca fleece is stronger, lighter, warmer, and more resilient than wool from most breeds of sheep. Finer grades of alpaca fleece (known commercially as “Baby Alpaca”) are believed to be hypo-allergenic, meaning they do not irritate your skin as sheep’s wool sometimes does. Unlike sheep’s wool, alpaca fleece contains no lanolin and is therefore ready to spin after only nominal cleaning of the fleece. Prized for its unique, silky feel, and superb “handle,” alpaca fleece is highly sought-after by both cottage-industry artists (hand spinners, knitters, weavers, etc.) as well as the commercial fashion industry.
One facet of alpaca fleece that makes it so much in vogue is its great variety of natural colors; pure white, several shades of fawn and brown, several shades of gray and true black – some 17 official colors with many other subtle shades and hues. White, light fawn, and light gray can be readily dyed, thus offering a rainbow of colors for the fleece artist. Alpaca fleece can also be readily combined with other fine fibers like merino wool, cashmere, mohair, silk, and angora to attain incredibly interesting blends.
Come see what everybody is talking about at the Natural Fiber Extravaganza sponsored by Long Hollow Suri Alpacas/New Era Fiber.
Posted July 5, 2018
Source: Alpaca Owners Association (AOA)