>It's interesting to see his prices. I'm not sure if living in New
>Zealand I get a good deal on fibre or not (given that we have more
>sheep than people I would have thought that prices would be okay).
>For 20-25 micron alpaca I have to pay NZ$10 per 100grams (about US$7)
>For fine merino NZ$4.50 per 100g (US$3.20)
>Standard corriedale NZ$3.50 per 100g (US$2.50)
>That's clean, carded and dyed fibre, I can obviously get it cheaper if
>I am prepared to by in large quantities and do the prep work myself.
>Does that compare favourably with costs in other countries or should I
>consider exploring the possibility of buying off shore in future?
I think you will probably find that most commercial alpaca fiber comes
out of South American countries and will cost about the same amount no
matter where we buy it. Alpaca farming has become de rigeur lately so
there is probably a growing amount of fiber coming out of places like
South Africa but I don't think that will affect the average world
I pay about $2/oz US for superfine white alpaca, about $2.50
Australian. Fine white Merino is about $1.40/oz US, $1.80 Australian.
White Corrie is $0.85/oz US, $1.10 Australian.
An ounce is ~28g, so multiplying my per-ounce prices by four for
approximate equivalent costs:
$10 Australian for superfine alpaca 100g
$7.20 Australian for fine white Merino 100g
$4.40 Australian for white Corrie 100g
Not terribly different.
I find that I actually pay more for raw fiber than I do for processed
in most cases. Shepherds in the US who raise fiber for handspinners
are typicall working with small flocks and cannot realize economy of
scale in their operations. They charge accordingly! A Romney ewe
fleece, covered during hay season, professionally shorn and skirted,
can run as much as $25 PER POUND and will usually be sold as a whole
Having owned a sheep and boarded him out (initially in exchange for
labor on the farm, later for the cost of his consumables after I had
an accident and couldn't do the heavy work anymore) I understand where
these prices come from. Annual upkeep on my sheep was about $200 for
feed and hay.
If I send the fleece out for processing (likely, I'm getting lazy)
I'll likely pay about $6/lb for processing (scouring, picking, carding
up as roving or pulling as tops), plus shipping from the shepherd to
the processor and from the processor to me.
I tend to buy fiber locally when possible. I've learned who the good
shepherds are within about a half day's drive, and I'll buy several
fleeces at once. When I have 6-8 fleeces stockpiled I stuff them into
a bag and send them off for processing, then I have more spinning
fiber than I know what to do with for the next several years :D When
I do this I end up paying an average of about $14/lb for purchasing,
round-trip shipping and processing.
And of course, if I do the processing myself I can calculate the cost
of my hot water, my detergent, my time, the wear and tear on my
carding equipment, etc etc etc. I figure that each of my two handspun
sweaters have an equivalent value of about $1500 when I factor in
fiber production cost, fiber cost, shearing, processing, spinning and