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Posted by on in Alpaca
Crimp! In all things Good...

Is Crimp over rated?  I hear information from folks that is seems it is not always understood. 

I think many people think crimp may be good for memory or elasticity in a yarn.  That has a lot of variables involved with the spinning process for that to occur. 

Simply think of crimp as a "indicator" to possible traits that it might be connected to.   When I see crimp, my mind immediately rushes to confirm if the fiber perhaps might be fine. 

 There are several Alpaca studies that directly correlate higher crimps per inch to direct relation to fineness.  ( Holt, Gutierrez) I have seen thousands of beautiful samples of crimp that when opened, are also showing wonderful thin fibers..  The key of possible variation in a Huacaya fleece is how organized the crimp structure is.   Typically, the smaller crimp really defined styles do deliver a greater degree of fineness.  Compounding that with the degree of the fibers relative organized staple, may also support a greater degree of density.  

So its one indicator to other traits.....

On my current trip in Alaska, I am being educated by my cousin, an Alaskan native and accomplished artist, Bunny SwanGease on their use of fibers in their culture. 

The cover picture is of a beaver pelt, it has incredible crimp and I'd classify it in Vicuna range.  Now of course the  staple length of a beaver pelt is so short, it can not be sheared but I was impressed this indicator trait was applicable with other fingered species... Of course it does, same with Merino and other fibered animals. Even look at your pet cat fiber... 

We are on the right path with Alpacas - Crimp is Good!


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Celebrity Artist Creates Legendary Herdsire Portraits for Charity

Artist Nicolosi is found in top contemporary art circles by creating his signature Pop Art portraits of many of today’s top luminaries in entertainment, sports, political and corporate arenas. Nicolosi creates paintings saturated with color using explosive, bold strokes. Dr. Eileen Guggenheim chose Nicolosi artwork to be in the New York Academy of Arts, and included Nicolosi on Guggenheim's list of the Top 100 Most Influential Artists in America.

Nicolosi has lent his vibrant talent to dozens of charities around the world raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for these very worthy causes.

He is now going to give his gift to our Alpaca Industry.

The first of the Legendary Herdsire Portraits will be unveiled and sold at auction at the AOA National Alpaca Auction on March, 18th.

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Posted by on in Camelid
Consider a Fashion Show/Auction for your Gala

I was recently asked to coordinate a Fashion Show / Auction for the TxOLAN event 2016.  It turned out to be entertaining and beneficial for their event as proceeds from the auction helped fund the organization for future events.  Beautiful pieces created by alpaca designers from our own industry were auctioned off and proceeds went to both the designer and the show.   A true Win-Win event.  

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Posted by on in Alpaca
International Alpaca Odyssey (IAO) is always an enjoyable show to Judge.  The rules are not that out of line to the standard AOA rules but do offer other opportunities for exhibitors to show.  For instance, Best Head!  One of my favorites!  As Dr. Julio Sumar & Senior Alpaca Judge from Peru once said, "the head is the window to the rest of the alpaca..."  It always stuck with me and its so true on many levels. I would like to expand the criteria to include that the best head represented the best overall quality of the rest of the alpaca.
Walk in Fleece is a class where the fleece is Judged similarly as if it were on the table at a fleece show.  But here the Judge can incorporate more as the fleece is still on the alpaca.  I enjoyed doing both of these classes and the exhibitors seemed like they did as well so I thought it worth putting it out there for comments...
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Posted by on in Alpaca
Money Saving Ideas for Alpaca Shows

We might be miles apart but other shows in other countries have similar variables to handle.  The biggest commonality is how to cut venue costs so entry fees can be reasonable. I recently Judged a large alpaca show in Ertfurt, Germany.  The venue was at a large complex with other events in neighboring halls. The public entry fee was used against the venues rental.  Here is a picture of panels I saw made from hard wood that are stored at a local breeders warehouse.  I was told that this saved $1,000's in rental fees over the years.

Also, notice the fabric separating the different farm pens.  It is weed barrier used in landscaping.  Some farms cleverly used it for their banner, hung decoration and advertising on it.  The exhibitors were more relaxed about bio-security knowing their alpacas aren't nose to nose with others. 

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Posted by on in Alpaca
Why don't our alpaca socks smell?

Why don’t our alpaca socks smell?

Alpaca is so inherently comfortable, even in warm conditions. But I’ve wondered, why don’t my socks smell after a week of daily use?  Did you know feet have 250,000 sweat glands and the average person’s foot sweats ~1/2 cup/foot/day?  This natural fiber keep us from being wet giving us comfort through wicking and adsorbing.  Adsorbing is the adhesion of an extremely thin layer of molecules to a surface.  Gaston College tests show Alpaca to have a very high rate of adsorption. Keeping in mind that alpaca has a very flat surface area due to the low scale height, the liquid would span out easier on the shaft and therefore be more susceptible to evaporation (adsorbing).  

Capillary action, due to the multitude of hairs close together, is why the moisture is drawn away from the body (wicking).  A combination of these properties superiorly demonstrated themselves even in other conditions.  During the BP gulf oil spill they found alpaca to be one of the best adsorbing materials over many others used. My thought is that due to each of these features working together makes Alpaca a “natural” choice for wearable product and is why they are gaining recognition as odor retardant.

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Recent Comments - Show all comments
  • Lorrie Williamson
    Lorrie Williamson says #
    Alpaca socks are awesome.....more and more people are wearing them year round! The demand for luxurious natural alpaca fibers are
  • Janet Ogilvie
    Janet Ogilvie says #
    Interesting....I had always thought that the absence of oils, such as lanolin, was responsible - at least in part- to the fact tha

Posted by on in Alpaca

When and should I shear my crias?

This is a common question I get as a Judge and as an alpaca owner.  As a Judge, I have commonly found that if a cria was shorn more than a month after birth it often plays in the judgment of placement because of staple length comparisons.  As Judges, we can only grant so much.  But when it comes down to a fine line decision we have to comparatively go with what is showing that day in front of us.  So if you can, cria shear before a month.

Even if you are not showing much or have just a few I still recommend cria shearing.  It takes off all of those fine ends that only capture debris.  This will give you a cleaner crop of fleece on shearing day the next year.  Logically thinking that this fleece will be the best of that alpacas' in its life, wouldn't you like to do what you can to make sure it comes off clean and usable.?

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