Our Knitters Guild recently went on a "field trip" to an Alpaca Farm. We had a fun morning at the farm. The tour started with a "talk", where we learned all about alpacas, where they come from, what they eat, about their coats - shearing the fleece and how the fleece is used in making wool and wool blends. Alpaca fleece is very soft and hypoallergenic because it doesn't contain lanolin like sheep wool does.
The farm also had it's own mill on the premises, where we saw the various stages of how the fleece becomes a skein of yarn -- From washing, drying, carding, and spinning. I understand now why a skein of natural yarn can be so expensive, considering all the stages it must go through before you can start knitting and crocheting.
|fleece drying after being washed|
|some dyed fleece|