Once the wool has been brushed out, washed and dyed it’s time for the last step, which is the spinning of the wool into yarn before it is sent to us at Woolpower. The spinning mill is in Romania. Some 12 tonnes of wool are spun into yarn here per day.
The wool comes from the dyers in large bales of wool that are called bumps. Before the bumps are taken into production, the wool is tested, for example for the amount of moisture remaining in the fibre and the length of the fibre. The quality of the wool is already tested several times before this point so it is very rare that problems are found at this stage. This test is more to see whether any adjustments are needed for the machines to run better.
The first thing that happens to the yarn when it arrives at the spinning mill is that is it blended. The yarn arrives at the spinning mill as tops in several different colours. Blending is how they achieve the exact hue that Woolpower has requested. To ensure that the final yarn has as consistent a colour as possible, the yarn has to be blended, combed again and then made as thin as possible. This is done in several stages to achieve the right weight and thickness of the yarn.
In the first machine, the wool tops are combed apart, and the fibres are placed more parallel than previously. Thereafter the wool is combed again, and this is a critical stage to ensure the quality of the yarn. Dirt and short fibres are combed out and once that has been done the wool is sent to the laboratory for analysis. If the wool is deemed to be sufficiently clean it is moved on to the next machine which pulls the fibres apart to make the wool thin enough. When the wool has obtained the desired thinness, it is wound onto something called a bobbin. Prior to being wound up it is fluffy and wide (5 cm in diameter), but after being wound onto the bobbins it is substantially stretched out (0.5 cm in diameter) and the wool has started to look like yarn.
Spinning and steaming
The wool fibre now has its final colour. Dirt and thin fibres has been removed and the wool has been thinned out so that it is only 1 cm thick, and it is now time for the last step – spinning the wool into a yarn.
To achieve a thin yarn, the wool is stretched out further and twisted. This is done using a machine on which a rod/cylinder/roller? turns the wool in one direction. Once the wool has been thinned and has been twisted, it has to be heated up so that it stabilises. Wool is a natural material and the fibre is therefore greatly impacted by humidity. The heating process is a way to control the wool’s own tendencies and thus make it possible to knit with. This is done in a large container that has high pressure and humidity. If the yarn is not heated up it will start to tangle itself up again.
After being spun and steamed the wool then has to rest. When it has rested for at least eight hours it’s time for the final step, spinning the yarn onto cones. Each cone of yarn weighs approximately 1 kg. While the yarn is being wound onto the cones it is also checked one last time by a sensor. If there are any mistakes in the yarn, for example if any dirt remains, the machine is stopped and the operator removes it. The machine then merges the two loose ends of yarn and continues spinning the yarn onto the cones. The cones are tested in a laboratory to check that the yarn has the right density, amongst other things. When the yarn has been approved it is heated up one more time to stabilise it before it is then packaged and finally sent to our factory in Östersund.