Yarn Standards

The Yarn Standards’ website offers manufacturers, designers and book publishers a series of guidelines and symbols to bring uniformity of the language used in labeling yarn plus standardized needle and hook size recommendations for patterns written for the consumer including categories of yarn, skill level, and the gauge ranges needed for successful results.  Guidelines and symbols may be downloaded from this site.


The Quality and Processing Performance of Alpaca Fibres 

Xungai Wang, Lijing Wang and Xiu Liu 2003

The alpaca fibre industry in Australia is still very young and relatively small compared to the wool industry, and there has been strong desire to process alpaca fibres in Australia on the established wool processing systems. Knowledge on luxury fibre processing is often kept secret by international processors who have the know-how. Local industry needs to understand the properties of Australian grown alpaca fibres and their processing performance, so that the industry can market the fibre effectively and export high quality alpaca fibre products. The overall objective of this research project is to evaluate the properties of Australian alpaca fibres, examine their processing performance, and improve the quality of alpaca products.

 Australian Government Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Publication No. 03-128

Improving Production Efficiency, Quality and Value-Adding of Rare Natural Animal Fibres

B.A. McGregor 2011

This is a technical report on the production, quality, processing and performance of rare natural animal fibres. It summarises results of Australian investment on these subjects and makes recommendations about future investment. This is important as there is limited scientific understanding of how to improve productivity, quality and financial returns for these industries in Australia.

Australian Government Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Publication No. 11-155

Inheritance of White Color in Alpacas: Identifying the Genes Involved

Munyard, K. 2011.

This RIRDC report describes the research conducted as part of the alpaca color genetics project to identify the genes involved in the inheritance of white color in alpacas.  Three approaches were used (Mendelian, physical and genetic) in an attempt to unravel the mystery surrounding color inheritance in alpacas.  This project has successfully identified key mutations in genes that lead to differences in fiber color in alpacas.  Other genes, which play a role in color variation in other species, were cleared of involvement in color variation in alpacas.  Through extensive observational analysis a model for Mendelian inheritance of the major colors was developed.  In combination, these findings provide breeders with information that allows them to make informed color breeding choices.

Australian Government Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Publication No. 11-074.

Quantitative Genetic Analysis of Micron Blowout in Alpacas

Johan Greeff, Kylie Munyard 2013     Fact Sheet – 2014

For alpacas, as is the case with many fiber-producing species, the finest fiber is of the greatest value. It has been well established in many fiber-producing species that fiber diameter increases with increasing animal age; a phenomenon known as micron blowout. In addition, micron blowout can also be caused by over-nutrition, or by a combination of both factors.  The results of this research confirm that micron blowout has a moderate genetic component in alpacas.

 Australian Government Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Publication No 12-126
 https://rirdc.infoservices.com.au/items/13-113 Fact Sheet

Improving Knowledge, Fibre and Textile Quality, and Communications

B.A. McGregor 2013

This report outlines activities to improve the knowledge about rare natural animal fibres in Australia, including aspects of their production, fiber quality, and textiles made from these fibres. It summarizes results of Australian investment on these subjects, and makes recommendations about future investment. This is important, as there is limited scientific understanding of how to improve productivity, quality and financial returns from these industries in Australia.  The report is aimed at producers, processors, industry organizations and investment decision makers.

Australian Government Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Publication No 12-137

The Effect of Age, Fleece Weight, Fibre Diameter and Live Weight on the Relative Value of Australian Alpaca Fleeces

Bruce McGregor, 2006

The impact of commercially important alpaca fibre production and quality attributes on the relative economic value of alpaca fibre production was investigated. Fleeces from five farms in southern Australia (n = 1100) were measured using mid side samples and standard tests and were assigned a relative economic value based on an analysis of market price data. The total relative economic value increased with increasing greasy fleece weight and with increasing saddle weight up 2.5 kg. Total relative economic value declined as mean fibre diameter increased above 23µm, increasing live weight above 60 kg and with increasing age above 2 years for Huacaya and 3 years for Suri. The relative economic returns from fleece production of Huacaya and Suri breeds was similar. The main drivers of economic value for Australian alpaca fleece production are lower mean fibre diameter and increasing fleece weight. Higher economic value for fleece was associated with younger and lighter animals. This work provides a method to assign an economic value to alpaca fleeces thus enabling animal selection based on international commercial economic values.


Fibre Metrology Of Wool And Its Applicability To Alpaca

Peter Lamb

The measurements made on wool and the reasons for those measurements are examined.  It is suggest that, if the alpaca fiber-processing industry is to move beyond being a cottage industry, it will have to adopt modern total quality management.  It will also have to respond to customer demands for end products at competitive prices and processor demands for repeatable quality.  This will mean price will be determined by measured fiber properties and the key properties will almost certainly be diameter and whiteness (freedom from colored fiber).

CSIRO Wool Technology, Proceedings of a Conference held at CSIRO Animal Production 1998

Fiber Characteristics of U.S. Huacaya Alpaca 

Angus McColl, Yocom-McColl Testing Laboratories, Inc., Chris Lupton, Texas A&M University System, and Bob Stobart, University of Wyoming

This study sought to define the ranges of quality attributes of domestically produced huacaya alpaca fiber using internationally accepted methods to objectively measure most of the important fiber characteristics.

Alpaca Magazine, Summer 2004 186-196

A Survey of Huacaya Fleece Characteristics

Ian W. Stapleton & Cameron M. Holt     June 1993

The single most important property of an animal fiber is the diameter which, in the case of wool, accounts for about 75% of the value of the top.  For alpaca fiber to become a commercial raw material, it will be important to have an understanding of fiber diameter variations across a fleece and between individual animals so as to identify regions of fiber growth which produce superior textile quality fiber.


A Survey of Suri Fleece Characteristics

Cameron Holt & Sue Scott    1997

In all textile fiber production the most important property is fiber diameter, followed by specific characteristics relevant to that particular fiber.  It is also important that the fiber be as even as possible unless a particular blend is being produced.  It therefore is important that an understanding of the fiber diameter variation across the Suri Alpaca fleece be established so the superior regions of the fleece produced by identified for correct preparation prior to processing.


Study Into Comparative Differences of Scientific Testing Machines Used In Alpaca Fibre Measurement

Dr. Ian Davison & Cameron M. Holt      AAA2004

Objective measurement of alpaca fiber is now an integral process in the showing, breeding, marketing and classing of alpacas and alpaca fiber.  Four systems are in common use, those being the OFDA and Laser systems in their laboratory and shed configurations.  This study aims to test the comparability of those techniques in measuring alpaca fiber, and thereby validate their use in comparing fiber measured by different techniques.


A Survey of the Relationships of Crimp Frequency, Micron, Character & Fibre Curvature

Cameron Holt  2006

The aims of this study are to establish any relationships between crimp and curvature.  To also identify any effects that micron, crimp frequency and definition of character may play in the expression of curvature in the alpaca fiber.  This study also aims to test the comparability of curvature results (between OFDA100 and LASER SCAN) in measuring alpaca fiber.


CSIRO – Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization

Good studies and reports here


RRIDC – Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Australian Government

Good studies and reports here


TRJ – Textile Research Journal, Sage Publications

Research articles on fibers, textiles, nonwovens (felt)