Suri fibre

DSC_0147_2.jpgSuri fibre is one of the rarest fibres in the world. Suri make up only 6% of the world alpaca population and 3% of suri are coloured. Historically their fibre was reserved only for royalty and the gods. In centuries past fine suri textiles were traded with the Spanish Royal House.

We first got involved with suri because of their exquisite fibre and we felt sure that the fibre could be made into something quite wonderful. Through much learning we now feel we are well on the way to realising this dream through careful breeding and having an understanding of how suri fibre performs.

Suri fibre is like no other natural fibre. It is capable of being a high performing rare fibre and through good breeding we have the ability to enhance its natural qualities.

Good fleeces should be well nourished giving exquisite lustre, a cool silky soft handle, and an elegant drape, which are not characterised by any other natural fibre without chemical enhancement.

Suri are different from huacaya in their fleece characteristics only. Huacaya grow a similar style of fleece to sheep, growing outwards from the body with crimp along the staple length. Suri fleece hangs downward from the body in independent locks. There are different styles of lock but all should be lustrous and well nourished, with a cool feeling to the touch. We have not selected for lock structure in our breeding programme but as our fleeces have got finer and denser, a flat ribbon style lock has developed. This ribbon style lock is much easier for processing than the highly twisted lock so we are pleased with this result.

In manufacture uniformity of micron is paramount. Along with nourishment (giving the end product lustre) and density giving us more fleece, we select for this trait in our breeding programme giving us luxurious handle. What you see and feel in the raw fibre directly correlates to what you see and feel in the end product.

With the completion of the 100% fine micron suri fabric trial and its huge success we know that we can produce a high value product. This was shown on the catwalk at NZ Fashion Week 2010 with the suri garments designed by Laurie Foon from Starfish. With high quality rare products like these we are destined to achieve good healthy prices for our top quality raw fibre. This is just the beginning of a vibrant fibre industry for suri, but what a beginning it is!!!


If you are interested in showing fleeces click here to read the pdf article “Showing Suri Fleece” by Molly Gardner of Thistledown Alpacas. If you cannot open pdf files download Foxit Reader (freeware) here.

BAS Magazine article