I would like to welcome Sarah King
I am a sorter apprentice
waiting to take my final exam to become a Certified Fiber Sorter.
I have completed a course in sorting and sorted over 200 Huycaya fleece
and 50 Suri fleece.
I have worked under to supervision of a mentor
who has helped me through the process.
I am hoping to be certified within the next few months.
As a Fiber Sorter I sort Alpaca fiber,
help with quality control for fiber co ops, mills and hand spinners,
educate clients to help them reach their fiber goals.
I also help with breeding decisions.
Having your harvested fiber sorted is the first step in Quality Control.
It will make sure that there is a uniformity and standard for processing.
This will produce higher quality alpaca products.
Before I sort the fiber I educate the producer (farmer)
on how to collect the fiber for sorting in a noodle wrap
that keeps the fiber in somewhat of an order to make sorting easier.
I will sometimes work with the shearer to make sure that they understand what I need from them to get more usable fiber for the client.
I learn the producer's fiber goals and sort to best suit their needs.
I take the newly shorn fiber and sort it into grades, color and length.
I score the density of the fleece, the luster, the crimp or lock style and color. I then look at the individual fibers
and grade them according to the micron count,
the difference in the primary fibers to the secondary fibers and their ratio.
This determines the grade of the fiber.
It is then sorted into grades and bagged for processing.
Each alpaca will have an individual sort record that will have the fiber weights and the characteristics of their fleece. I will also write comments about the fiber and any suggestions that I may have about processing and the fleeces strengths and weaknesses.
Then an Interactive Inventory Sheet is completed.
This will tell the big picture of the whole harvest for the farm.
It tells the retail and wholesale worth of the fiber,
total amount of each grade
and gives the producer information to help them realize
their cost to produce this fiber.
Appropriate uses for each grade is discussed
and information is given on general fiber processing.
I discuss this with the producer
and assist them with herd management
and breeding decisions.
Because I have inspected the fiber I can see areas of tenderness
that can identify illness, check for parasites and see some skin conditions.
With sorting there is an increase in profits from the fiber.
This comes from more usable fiber after sorting
which leads to less loss during processing due to the grading of the fiber.
A more superior product can be created from sorted fiber which will increase prices for product and there will be repeat customers.
Having your fiber sorted does not take anything away from the mini mill process. It can enhance what they do and save time.
Having your fiber sorted by a Certified Sorter will help
with the farm's breeding program by showing which animals
have the highest quality fleece, the fleece traits
and qualities that may be passed along thereby assisting in picking the next breeding.
I hope that this give you a better understanding of the fiber sorting process. To learn more you can visit my website at royalskeinsalpacas.com, fibersorting.com or naturalfiberproducers.com
Sarah K King
Thank you ever so much Sarah!
I didn't realise there was so much in fiber sorting.
It's a lot more complicated and a lot more processes
than I thought it would be.
I hope you'll all join me in thanking Sarah
and visit her sites.