TWO WAYS THAT WOOL IS PROCESSED
fine, long wool fibres with low vegetable matter contamination to
make products with a smooth finish such as suitings and fashion
fabrics. The processes that are used in the Worsted system are:
coarser, shorter wool fibres with high levels of vegetable matter
contamination to produce heavier, fuzzier products such as bulky
& upholstery. The processes that are used in the Woollen system
the wool processing mills, there are steps involved when converting
fibre to yarn and the better the workmanship at each stage, the
better the resulting cloth.
or washing is the first mechanical process that raw wool goes through
and its purpose is to remove the dirt, grease and other impurities
from the fibres.
wool passes through troughs containing various solutions before
entering a drying chamber from which it emerges in a dry and open
condition, weighing 30% less than its original weight!
grease or lanolin obtained from the raw wool in scouring is purified
and used in the manufacture of cosmetics. Basically, scouring removes
dirt and impurities from the wool.
the wool is highly contaminated, containing burrs, seeds and other
vegetable matter, it must go through the carbonising process. The
wool is treated with sulphuric acid and heat which converts the
disintegrated material into carbon.
simple terms, carbonising breaks down any remaining impurities in the
wool with the use of heat and a mild acid solution.
is where the worsted and woollen systems begin to differ. The scoured
yarn is now ready for the carding process where rollers covered with
fine wire teeth tease apart the wool fibres which have become tangled
during scouring and carbonising.
purpose of carding in the worsted system is to lay the fibres
parallel to each other until an even web of fibres, or a sliver,
entering the woollen system, however, the sliver is then divided into
strips which are rubbed together to form slubbings
wound onto bobbins ready for spinning.
disentangles the wool and reorganises the fibres.
is the key operation in the production of worsted yarn involving the
removal of any short and broken fibres (noils) from
as well as any remaining vegetable impurities. The long fibres are
left straight and parallel to produce a combed sliver which is wound
into balls called "tops".
summary, combing ensures that the wool fibres are straight, parallel
and uniform in length, before passing onto the next stage.
involves passing the top through rollers and reducing slivers to a
suitable thickness ready for spinning. The process is repeated
several times to ensure regularity or evenness in the finishing, the
final stage of the drawing process.
small amount of twist is also added to the sliver at this stage to
increase its strength. This reduced sliver is called a 'roving".
Drawing simply blends and reduces the wool to a suitable thickness
is an extension of the drawing process and involves the roving being
further reduced and given more twist so that the yarn has the
necessary strength for manufacturing. Spinning twists the yarn to
make it stronger.
the process of weaving, two sets of yarn are interlaced at right
angles to form a fabric. Flannel and tweed are both good examples of
is the construction of fabric by forming loops of yarn with needles,
then drawing new loops through those formed.
lowering the wool into boiling dye for 1-2 hours, it needs to be
bleached to ensure an even shade is produced all over. Wool can be
dyed very easily and the range of colours that can be achieved is
that remains now is for the fabric to be "finished' and given
its final appearance and feel. Woollen fabrics are brushed so that
the fibre ends are raised into a "nap".
is either left to give a soft texture or shaved off to give a close
cloth is placed into warm, soapy water through which process it
shrinks slightly and the size of the weave is reduced. It is then
passed through a brush roller to remove any loose threads before
being pressed with steam and rolled onto a flat board, ready to leave