Cria are, of course, the most wonderful creatures on the planet and their fleece is the softest, loveliest thing imaginable. But unfortunately it often doesn’t make the best yarn.
There are three common problems with cria fleece:
- There’s sometimes not enough of it – our minimum quantity to process is 1kg, but we recommend batches of at least 1.5kg to get a decent return rate.
- The soft tips of the staples act like magnets for every sort of vegetable matter going, which can be very difficult (if not impossible) to remove. And once you’ve taken out any really contaminated sections of fleece, there’s often not enough left to process on its own (see above!)
- It can be ‘tender’, with weak points in the fibres corresponding to stress points at birth and weaning. These fibres easily break, causing the fleece to ‘pill’ in processing, giving an uneven yarn. Handspinning is the best option for tender fleece.
If you really want us to process your cria fleece, we’re happy give it a go provided it isn’t too heavily contaminated and you accept the risk that it might not produce a very smooth yarn and that some vegetable matter may remain. But if you can wait for a year, we recommend that you blend the cria fleece with the same alpaca’s second fleece, which is likely to be almost as soft, but stronger, heavier, and with a much better ratio of fleece to seeds, grass, hay, etc.
Either way, it will take a lot of time to tidy up, so put the kettle on, get those tweezers and scissors out, and have patience!