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Author Topic: Price of Alpaca fibre  (Read 7569 times)

JulieWall

  • Joined Aug 2013
  • Cornhill, Banff
    • The Roundhouse
Price of Alpaca fibre
« on: May 27, 2014, 09:50:59 am »
Can anyone advise about the price of unprocessed alpaca fibre please. My daughter has an alpaca with a 2 years growth ready to shear which will be a lovely long fibre. We want to package it up in saleable quantities and sell to hand spinners but need to know what a sensible price would be. Also, is it worth me spinning it and selling it as knitting yarn, bearing in mind the hours involved, it would need to fetch considerably more to justify the time.
Any input would be really useful, thanks.
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SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Price of Alpaca fibre
« Reply #1 on: May 27, 2014, 02:49:03 pm »
As a spinner yourself you'll know it's all about quality.  Alpaca fleece isn't hard to come by ;), but really nice alpaca is always popular.

Doing a quick internet search I found top quality (blanket area only, fibre from a named animal) fleece fibre at 15/kg from a reputable supplier.  They only sell blanket and neck fibre for spinning.

Asking Ravelling friends, they'll pay 4 to 6 / 100g for absolutely top-notch quality.  Reading between the lines, they'd be loathe to fork out that much on a punt from an unknown supplier. 

So to sell at those prices I think you'd need to be face-to-face (or customer's hands-to-fleece!) until you have built a reputation.  But you could always try on Ravelry - once one customer raves about your fibre, others will queue up ;)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

JulieWall

  • Joined Aug 2013
  • Cornhill, Banff
    • The Roundhouse
Re: Price of Alpaca fibre
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2014, 12:01:40 am »
I was wondering about the fibre being unprocessed, it wouldn't be as desirable as professionally prepared tops but paying for processing doesn't seem to be an option as most mills wouldn't want to clean off the carding machines for a small quantity of fibre like that would they.
When you say blanket wool, are you referring to the nice wool from the back and flanks? I'm not familiar with alpaca terms.
I think it might be worth me having a look at the Ravelry site to see what the spun yarn sells for and how finely is usually spun up. I'm a fan of creating fine three ply yarns for myself but that's too much work for selling, I can't see me getting a good return for my efforts from people used to buying commercial yarns. It can be hard to stay focussed on making a chunkier yarn when it's not how you normally spin, or is that just me stuck in my habits?
What about Etsy? Is it worth doing some homework there too?
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SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Price of Alpaca fibre
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2014, 12:13:56 am »
I don't use Etsy much so I don't know how well it works for an unknown seller, sorry.

A lot of Ravellers prefer to process their own fibre, rather than spinning only tops, so I don't think that would be the issue.

People tell me Halifax Mill does small(ish) runs but I imagine just one alpaca would be too small even for them.

The other way to market would be through local spinning groups and/or events.  There's Woolfest in June in NW England, Fibre East in July, and so on.   Some Guilds have fleece sale days, I think I saw something about one in the New Forest and another in Cheshire.

You could ask about that in UK Fleeeece People; you'd get people who know about buying and selling fleece there, and you may even get some enquiries ;)
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Bionic

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Price of Alpaca fibre
« Reply #4 on: May 28, 2014, 08:30:53 am »
I bought a 200g pack of neck fleece from an alpaca at Wonderwool last year. It cost me 4. I haven't looked at it since  :innocent: but just went to see what was in it for this thread.
It says it is in its natural state, ready for spinning so I'm not sure if it has been washed or not. It does have a bit of a smell about it though.
This fleece is from a named alpaca and is a very pretty grey colour.
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits

JulieWall

  • Joined Aug 2013
  • Cornhill, Banff
    • The Roundhouse
Re: Price of Alpaca fibre
« Reply #5 on: May 28, 2014, 10:59:07 am »
Smelly? I didn't notice any smell from Shelly's alpacas or their wool. They are neutered males, I wonder if your bag of wool is from an entire male, maybe they're more musky. How long is the actual fibre in that bag Bionic?
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Bionic

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Price of Alpaca fibre
« Reply #6 on: May 28, 2014, 11:31:43 am »
Smelly? I didn't notice any smell from Shelly's alpacas or their wool. They are neutered males, I wonder if your bag of wool is from an entire male, maybe they're more musky. How long is the actual fibre in that bag Bionic?
[unquote]
Just taken another look, the fibre is quite short, only 2 - 3 inches. Perhaps thats because it is neck fleece. Its not like the alpaca fibre I was given previously which was about 6 inches long.
The smell isn't too bad but may be stronger because its been in a sealed plastic bag for 2 years  ;D
It was a male (Llewelyn) but I don't know if he was entire.
I am used to sheepy smell and quite like it but I think I would like to wash this before I use it.

 
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits

JulieWall

  • Joined Aug 2013
  • Cornhill, Banff
    • The Roundhouse
Re: Price of Alpaca fibre
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2014, 12:37:45 pm »
I asked my daughter(Shelly) about the smell and she reckons Llewelyn was probably an entire male. Tups are musky whereas wethers don't seem to produce the hormones, so I expect it's the same for other male animals.
2 to 3 inches could be either just one years growth or neck wool from a 2 year growth. Mind you, Shelly's 2 (neutered males, Ricardo and Gismo) have very different wool. Ricardo's grows longer and finer, so is softer and Gismos isn't as long and is slightly coarser. I reckon that Ricardos 2 years of growth will be a premium quality fleece, I won't want to part with it, lol. It would be nice to get her some return on them as an investment even though they are pets. I suggested getting them professionally sheared this time and recouping the outlay in fibre sales, it will be faster than my hand shearing and less stressful for the animals, plus we will get slightly more length to the fibre.
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Bionic

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Price of Alpaca fibre
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2014, 01:22:37 pm »
My friend had her 6 sheared last Thursday and I went along to watch. Boy, don't they make a racket? Normally they just sort of hum but when being sheared you would have thought he was trying to slaughter them  ;D
Seeing hers and the thought of this thread, I got my bag of alpaca fibre back out and washed it. I think its dry now so I might give it a bit of a spin this afternoon and see how I get on   :spin: 
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits

shygirl

  • Joined May 2013
Re: Price of Alpaca fibre
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2014, 01:29:06 pm »
theres an alpaca circle in aberdeenshire - or there was one, are you part of them? i think they join forces for selling wool etc.
they were based newdeer area i think, though i cant find there details online now. have you tried getting info from wool for ewe in aberdeen? im sure i got the alpaca circle details from there.
« Last Edit: May 31, 2014, 01:34:01 pm by shygirl »

JulieWall

  • Joined Aug 2013
  • Cornhill, Banff
    • The Roundhouse
Re: Price of Alpaca fibre
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2014, 09:15:07 pm »
I think I might suggest that she goes along to watch someone else's being sheared before making the decision. If it is that traumatic I think we will stick with the hand shears and let them stand up, it took a long time but they weren't stressed. I couldn't get the legs though, they looked a bit stupid when they were done - like John Wayne in his chaps, lol
I'm intrigued by the idea of sitting them on their bums like sheep as someone said her hubby does. I'd give it a try but alpacas can kick in some agile ways and I'm scared of losing an eye. I once had a Jacob ewe kick me in the eye socket as I leaned over her, it really hurt, and now I know where not to lean of course, but alpacas are a bit more flexible.

Shygirl, I'll tell her about that alpaca circle in case she's interested, thanks
« Last Edit: May 31, 2014, 09:18:34 pm by JulieWall »
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Bionic

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Price of Alpaca fibre
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2014, 08:12:34 am »
Julie,
the people that did my friends were very professional, he comes over from America for 3 months just to shear alpaca, they left the legs like chaps too. He said it protects their legs from being bitten when out in the field.
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits

JulieWall

  • Joined Aug 2013
  • Cornhill, Banff
    • The Roundhouse
Re: Price of Alpaca fibre
« Reply #12 on: June 02, 2014, 05:46:38 pm »
Bitten by what I wonder? It's funny though, I had a special look at Gismo's legs the other day expecting them to be huge and wooly due to not being shorn last year but they are the same as before. Maybe the legs reach a certain length of wool and then just stop growing? If I haven't got to shear the legs I'll probably just hand shear them again, I think Shelly would prefer that. We were both a bit clenched (sphincter-wise) at the idea of hog tying them for shearing.
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Bionic

  • Joined Dec 2010
  • Talley, Carmarthenshire
Re: Price of Alpaca fibre
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2014, 05:59:51 pm »
I think its just bitten by midges, and there certainly seems to be a lot around this year.
Life is like a bowl of cherries, mostly yummy but some dodgy bits

JulieWall

  • Joined Aug 2013
  • Cornhill, Banff
    • The Roundhouse
Re: Price of Alpaca fibre
« Reply #14 on: June 03, 2014, 01:00:31 am »
Part of the price we pay for some decent weather, eh?
Permaculture and smallholding, perfect partners
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