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Many uses for all types of Fiber

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What to do with those bags of alpaca or llama fiber in the garage, barn, or spare bedroom? Something we all have considered at one time or another. Great news is that most can be made into something valuable.

Blankets (“firsts”) make soft yarns if the fiber feels soft and silky to the touch and there are very few straight hairs. Roving for hand‐spinning can also be made out of soft fiber. This applies to both breeds of alpaca and “silky” llama.

Neck and upper leg fiber (“seconds”) make durable core yarn for rugs. And if it is soft, and not hairy, it can be made into core yarn useful for chunky blankets, cowls, or vests.

If the fiber feels “scratchy” and/or has lots of hair, it can be made into core yarn for rugs. You would be amazed at how this “scratchy” fiber turns into beautiful rugs! This type of fiber can also be made into roving or batts for all kinds of felting projects – boot insoles, needle‐felted animals, cat beds, tea cozies, slippers, the list goes on. And since these types of items do not require uniform length or fineness in the fiber, it can be a fun and creative process of mixing colors and styles of fiber for eye‐catching products.

There are no rules for what has to be done with your fiber – choose things that you are going to enjoy working with or selling. For example, soft blankets do not have to made into yarn, they can be made into luxurious woven rugs, if that is what is exciting for you.


You probably noticed that we used terms here, such as “silky” and “scratchy”, to describe fiber characteristics instead of the quantitative terms generally used (micron, coefficient of variation, etc.).  Evaluation of fiber does not always rely on descriptive numbers – this is a tactile industry as much as it is a textile industry; so, how the fiber feels to you (and your customer) is what matters most. We will have a discussion of the quantitative values used to evaluate fiber  in a later post – keep a lookout for it.


Spring Harvest Fiber Mill is a family-owned and operated fiber mill located in the sunny Yakima Valley of Central Washington. 

Owners Bob and Danise Cathel are committed to milling alpaca and other fibers into luxurious, soft and useful end products. They are avid fiber artists and love working with all types of fiber, with alpaca being their favorite. They also enjoy caring for their 35 alpacas at their farm, Silbury Hill Alpacas. Day-to-day operations of the mill include the whole family: Bob and Danise, daughter Diane, son Anthony, daughter-in-law Sarah, and good friend Levi Burnes.

The Cathels are very excited to be partnering in the Mill with international alpaca judge, Amanda VandenBosch. Amanda's creativity and knowledge of fiber are an integral part in making the unique yarns produced at the mill. 

Spring Harvest Fiber Mill’s primary goal is producing quality fiber products: soft, bright yarns in several weights, roving, felt products and woven rugs and scarves. Education is also a priority of the Mill. We welcome inquiries about all things fiber and processing.


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