In-depth Inspection & Handling
When your fiber is delivered we notate its overall weight, perform a cursory observation of its condition, and list the colors. If you have sent your fiber in clear plastic bags we will typically not open the bag. If the fiber is in a bag that we cannot see through, we will open it to note the above details and reseal the bag. If the fleece is sent loose in a box, we will place it in plastic bag(s) after we've performed the cursory inspection. After we've notated the colors and weighed the bag(s), we place mothballs within the box on the outside of the bag (NOTE: the mothballs never touch your fiber; maintaining it's organic nature) as a pest deterrent. The box is then sealed, labeled and placed in storage until it's time for processing.
When we begin processing we take care to inspect your fiber more closely for possible insect infestation (dead or alive), significant debris, (to include: vegetable matter, dirt/mud, fecal matter, and urine), or excessive amount of matted fiber. Any or all of these factors can affect the processing of your fiber. If the fleece contains quite a bit of vegetable matter, dirt or mud it will likely require extra processing to remove these things. In which case extra processing fees may apply. For sanitary reasons we will not process fiber that contains fecal matter, urine or a significant amount of pest of any kind (i.e. larva, moths, etc.) If this is the case, we will notify you of the situation and ask for your instructions as to the disposition of your fiber. Requests for returned fiber will be at customer's expense.
If necessary, we sort your fiber by hand into the colors you specified on your order form. Any large matted fiber that will likely not be loosened by our picker will be culled out by hand at this stage.
We do not use any type of chemical processing oils or anti-static sprays on your fiber. We treat your fiber as the natural, organic product that it is; assuming that you appreciate an all-natural, chemical free product.
After the initial stage mentioned above, the fiber is moved to the "picker" (shown below) which is actually handmade! This device draws out any remaining nepps and begins to separate and open the fiber to prepare it for the carder. Depending on the amount of nepps in the fiber or type of fiber (such as suri), we may need to perform this process more than once.
From the "picker," your fiber is moved to the "carder." This equipment uses drums of various sizes and purposes with different types of metal teeth to 'comb' the fiber so that they run parallel to each other. This also further opens the fibers to allow for a more evenly spun yarn and causes most of any remaining debris to fall out. At the end of the carding process the fiber is wrapped or spun around at least 5 strands of natural jute string, creating the core-spun yarn used to weave your product.
Core-spun yarn coming from the end of the carder
We also wrap our own beams using a handmade "warper" shown below. We start from smaller 4 lb. spools of 8/2 poly cotton thread on a standing peg rack called a "creel." After final winding on the beam it is placed on the back of the loom and the string is individually run through a heddle eye to the front of the loom. Once the warp is at the front of the loom, a "shed" is created. The weaving shed allows the core-spun yarn, now called the "weft," to be moved (or shot) by hand back and forth and packed with pneumatic pressure to ensure a tightly compressed and tough product.
Warp string on a creel being fed to the home-made Finished warp on the beam attached to loom
warp wrapping machine