Our production and weaving process starts with the selection of the best fibre, lamb’s wool, merino wool or cashmere. This is an area of expertise that has been passed down through generations of the family. We use only the best wool from Britain, Australia and New Zealand. Different climates result in different wool qualities;to ensure we are using the perfect wool for each product we ensure we purchase a variety of quality raw fleece by visiting sheep farms, auction houses and merchants all over the world.
Bales are kept in our dedicated Wool Store until ready to go into Blending.
Blending is where we mix together precise recipes or raw wool to get the perfect fibre mix for each individual product.
During the blending process fibres pass through opening machines which separate the fibre staples and remove loose dirt/contaminants. Lubricants are then added via an atomizer. The lubricant is added to facilitate fibre movement without excessive fibre damage.
The wool is then taken to mixing chambers and layered to ensure good mixing before being pneumatically moved to the fearnought picker machine where final blending and opening is carried out.
In carding, the newly blended fibres go through the process of disentanglement, cleaning and intimate mixing to produce a continuous web or sliver suitable for further processing.
The carding machines comprise a feed hopper with a weighing or metering device to ensure a regular and consistent fibre feed into the machines. The carding machines have two main sections, scribbler and carder, each consist of a series of large rollers called swifts and each of these contain pairs of small rollers around their upper circumference called workers and strippers. Every roller is covered with fine card wire and by varying the speeds of the rollers we can control and align the fibres as they pass through the machine.
At the end of the machine an even web of fibre is removed and passed through the final part of the machine called the condenser. Here a series of flexible narrow tapes separate the fibre web into narrow strips and carry these strips into the rubbing section which converts these parallel strips into rounded form called slubbings; which are then wound side by side onto condenser bobbins in preparation for the spinning process.
Spinning is where the drafting and insertion of twist into natural or staple manufactured fibres from takes place to form a yarn.
During the spinning process the slubbings produced from the carding process are converted into a yarn with a specific degree of fineness and twist. The most common yarn spinning machines used in the woollen system are ring frames; rotating slubbing threads are passed through a stretching zone called drafting. Here two pairs of rollers operating at different speeds are used to introduce a controlled degree of stretch. The degree of draft can be adjusted to give the required yarn thickness. After drafting the yarn is wound onto a tube fixed on a rotating spindle. The tube and spindle revolve at a predetermined speed and the revolution of the spindle causes a permanent degree of twist to be inserted into the yarn. The amount of twist can be adjusted by changing the revolutions of the spindle and the speed of yarn delivery.
Warping is the arranging of yarn threads in long parallel lengths of equal tension, onto a beam in preparation for weaving.
During the warping process cones of yarn are placed onto a rack called a creel. From this creel, yarn passes through tension and spacing devices and through a leasing reed which separates the yarn threads and keeps them in the correct order, before being wound onto a warping balloon.
In the woollen industry warping is carried out on a sectional machine where each section of warp threads are wound onto the balloon alongside previous sections.
When the correct amount of yarn has been added the warp is removed from the balloon and transferred onto a warping beam ready for the weaving process.
Our weaving shed is where begin our weaving process manufacturing the woven fabric by the interlacing of warp and weft threads on one of our looms.
A basic weaving loom comprises of the weaver’s beam which holds the warp yarn, heald shafts which control the warp threads, a reed to space the warp threads and to push the weft threads(picks) into the cloth, a means of inserting the weft picks and a cloth roller onto which the woven fabric is wound.
Hainsworth can weave a variety of fabric widths up to 452cm wide.
In dying we apply and fix the colours to a fabric with the intention of obtaining a uniform distribution of colour throughout the fabric.
Hainsworth have a fully equipped dye house utilising both winch and jet dyeing machines as well as other unique processes. The dyestuffs are fed from a mixing kitchen directly into the dye vessels. Once the dyeing cycle is complete samples are taken from the pieces and checked against colour standards stored in our computer database. This ensures a consistency of shade from batch to batch.
Traditionally done in the open air over wooden frame, Tentering is the process of drying the fabric whilst ensuring it maintains its shape and no shrinkage occurs.
Did you know that the phrase “Being kept on tenterhooks” originates from this process of drying and setting the fabric?
Our finishing process is what makes Hainsworth cloth so unmistakable. A series of processes either chemical or physical are applied to the woven and set fabrics to impart a unique desired effect, this is where the coveted Hainsworth drape, handle face and sheen become apparent.
Hainsworth have a specialist range of finishing equipment which can be used to impart bespoke finishes to a variety of fabrics. This equipment includes raising machines used to lift fibres to improve fabric handle, boiling and blowing machines used to set fabrics, padding machine used to apply chemical finishes and brushing machines used to improve fibre alignment. Our weaving process is second to none in the textiles industry. After all we have been weaving for more than 225 years!