COLA

Llama Fiber

Llama fiber can vary greatly from llama to llama. With selective breeding and good diet your llama may produce wool (technically hair) comparable in fineness to that of an alpaca.

The wool is light and warm, sheds rain and snow, and comes in many natural colors. It shrinks little during processing and can be spun, knit, crocheted, or felted.

To collect your wool begin by brushing or blowing out dust and debris from your llama’s coat. You may then shear or clip the fiber from your animal leaving at least 1-2” on the llama to prevent sunburn. The amount of fiber you will harvest will vary greatly from animal to animal. The wool from the barrel of the llama is the best. The neck and leg wool should be thrown away as it is typically shorter and coarser. You can have your fiber professionally processed or prepare it yourself. If you take on the project start by washing the fiber in hot water with a mild detergent. Just let the fiber soak in soapy water for about 20 minutes. DO NOT AGITATE OR POUR WATER DIRECTLY ONTO FIBER.

Agitating the fiber will cause it to felt. Soak in as many detergent baths as seem necessary to clean the fiber then rinse in hot water. Keep the water temperature consistent throughout the washing process to avoid felting. Air dry your fleece by placing it on racks. Handpicking the fiber to remove any bits of dirt or vegetation which remain after drying will make the carding and spinning easier. Carding is done to open and arrange the fibers so they can be easily drawn out in the spinning process. You can card by hand with carding paddles or use a drum carder.

There are mills that will accept llama fiber for processing. You can have the mill take your fiber from washing to whatever stage you prefer. You can have them create batts or roving for spinning yourself or have them spin your fiber into yarn. Once you have your llama fiber spun into yarn you are limited only by your imagination!