At Alpacas of Troy we process our own fiber into batts, roving, and yarn. We start by shearing the animals in the Spring and early Summer, and begin the fiber processing with cleaning the fiber of vegetation matter. We then move the fiber into the tumbler to blow out the majority of the dirt that the alpacas accumulated when they take their dust bath. Yes, they do that just like chicken. From there the fiber moves to the picker machine where the locks of the fibers are opened and the remaining dirt released. After picking the fiber is washed in the special fiber washing machine so it does not felt together, and it is set out to dry. Once dry the fiber can go into the Seperator where the guard/coarse hair and remaining small vegetation is removed. The fiber then goes to the heart of the mill, a machine known as the Carder, where it is turned into batts for felting or roving to become yarn. Roving is then moved through the Drawframe and arrives at the Spinner to be spun and plied into yarn.
You can see this exciting fiber transformation first hand from Off Grid with Doug and Stacy’s farm visit.