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OUR TRIP TO PERU – Commercial Processing of Alpaca

This blog post picks up where we left off with our last
post…in Peru! Previously we shared what we learned about traditional Peruvian
techniques. (If you missed that post you MUST see the photos of the amazing
tapestries
!) Then we gained insight into the commercial aspect of processing
alpaca.

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First,
the alpaca fleeces arrive at the mill in burlap bales. The white fleeces are
separated from the colored fleeces at the farms but are not skirted (aka
cleaned by removing the obvious guard hair, dung tags, and dirt). The women in
the photo above are opening up the fleeces and skirting them.

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The colored fleeces also arrive in burlap bales and first must be
separated by color.

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The fleeces are continually sorted by color and quality, all
by eye and hand. The different qualities
of alpaca are baby alpaca, FS (fine spinning), and adult. The colors are sorted
into 32 different shades according to the photo below.

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The individual colors are then baled and stored until they
are scheduled to be scoured.

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Washed and dried, the alpaca is then press packed for storage until needed.

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