FIBRE INTO FABRIC
Just before shearing, we take a sample of all our alpaca fleeces and send to Micron Man for testing. The results allow us to determine which of our fleeces will be best suited to process into rovings (for felting our scarves and shawls).
Our alpacas are shorn in October or November each year. It takes our
experienced shearer roughly 6 minutes per alpaca. Each fleece is carefully bagged and set aside for skirting.
SKIRTING the Saddle
The purpose of “skirting” is to prepare the fleece for the Alpaca Mill – that is, we throw the fleece onto a wire table and work through, cleaning the fleece by removing as much of the lesser quality &/or contaminated fibre and vegetable matter (burrs) as possible.
The bagged fleeces are then delivered to the specialist Alpaca Mill for washing, dehairing (removal of the coarser hair) and carding ("combing" the fibres into one direction in a continuous rope-like structure). The result is called a "Roving".
The Mill ensures the natural quality of our fleeces is maintained by :
-processing at beginning of run (ie after cleandown of dehairer & carder); &
-using a gentle washing agent, conditioner and rainwater
The end result - Rovings - are then returned to us to begin the final step towards "Fibre into Fabric".
Nuno Felting, in very general terms, is the working of fibre into material so that it becomes enmeshed on both sides of the fabric - thereby creating very exciting, tactile results.