Jeanette was delighted to receive her Camelid Fiber Certified Sorter certification from Olds College, Alberta, Canada earlier this year (2009). The first rung on the ladder to achieving certification as a Camelid Fibre Sorter was the Basic Farm Sorter course taught by fiber guru, Ruth Elvestad. A two day intensive, hands on course learning about camelid fiber, this course is designed to teach about on-farm fiber preparation prior to sending fiber to a co-op, to mills or to hand spinners for processing.
In addition to this basic course, the prerequisite for taking the 4 day sorter course at Olds College in Canada, is a working knowledge of fiber such as knitting, spinning weaving or shearing.
The intensive, structured workshop, again taught by Ruth Elvestad, consisted of theory and hands-on components as well as visits to working mills. A written and practical test completed the weekend. Course participants then had a 24 month period in which to farm sort and grade a minimum of 200 huacaya fleeces and 25 suri fleeces before submitting a further 25 huacaya and 10 suri individually assessed and recorded fleeces for final examination and grading. The course and certification is accredited by Olds College School of Innovation in Alberta, Canada.
Application of the knowledge gained from this wonderful learning experience is not restricted to sorting the end product, but extends to breeding selection, nutrition and overall care and management of the alpaca herd to ensure the best fiber production possible in terms of quality, quantity and usability.