Our Yarn Process
1. WOOL FIBRE
A very important part of the wool-spinning process is the selection of the right fibre for the job in question. Yarn for hand knitting and hosiery needs to be soft and nice to handle, and not hard like the yarn used to make carpets, for example. We choose the best wool fibre from Britain, Australia and New Zealand to fit our requirements.
A crucial part is the mixing, blending of fibres, colours and lubricant together, consistent in its properties to give an even level yarn. We do this by using the traditional method on a blending tray and laying out the carefully weighed proportions of the different components in layers with the lubricant making a stack.
The blend is then ready to be fed into the fearnaught, this machine mixes and opens the blend, which is then pneumatically moved into the first bin then to a second bin, to helping give a better mix of the components. The blending process is the most dusty and dirty part of the process. It can take all day – around 8 hours to blend a batch of 500 kilos.
The carding machine cleans and combs the wool and aligns the fibres ready for spinning.
The carding machine has two main sections: the scribbler and the carder. Each of these sections are both made up the same way with the rollers. The rollers are covered with fine card wire and run at carrying speeds.
4. MULE SPINNING & CONE WINDING
The machine was made by Platt Brothers Oldham in the year 1891 has 392 spindles that have a 6ft draw at 3 draws per minute.
The automatic winding machine winds up the small cops or pirns from the spinning mule and removes any imperfections, e.g. knots, lumps, and smooths out thick or thin areas.
At the same time it also joins the yarn back together with an air splice to make the yarn knot-free. This also makes a large cone that is more suitable for the next process and customer’s requirements.
5. PLYING – TWISTING FRAME
Twisting involves plying different numbers of threads of yarn together to make different qualities for hand knitting with varying amounts of twist.
We always twist in the opposite direction to the single twist otherwise the yarn would be hard and very springy, making it impossible to knit with.
8. WASTE & RECYCLING
In the wool production process up to 50% of the weight of the original fleece is lost by the time it’s spun into yarn. You would think that this seems like a lot is wasted, but that’s not true. All through the process, fleece or broken ends are all collected and can be recycled. When gathered in large enough batches it is dyed black and reblended to go through the process again.