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A Fleece’s journey to Worsted Yarn

I. Scouring: Process to remove grease, suint (sweat and urine), dirt and other contaminants. Fibre is also partially opened ready for carding. The fibre loss can be up to 50% dependent on the level of soiling. Fibre is supplied in a conditioned state with a level of moisture and fatty acid (Lanolin).

II. Carding: Carding is designed to tease the fibre apart and open the fibre into a manageable sliver from where the fibre can be worked and made parallel in the worsted process. This happens by working the fibre through a series of pinned rollers which tease and work the fibre.

III. 1st & 2nd Gill: Gilling is the process of aligning the fibres in a sliver ready for either semi-worsted spinning (no combing) or for further preparation and combing (removal of debris and short fibres). The fibres are aligned by passing multiple sliver ends through a gill box consisting of faller bars with steel pins which rake through the fibre performing an action similar to combing your hair. Once the fibre has been gilled twice it is ready for combing.

IV. Combing (Rectilinear or French Comb): The comb takes multiple sliver ends and partially gills the slivers and removes short fibres, coarse kempy fibres and any vegetable material. This is carried out by setting a fibre gap akin to the longest fibres in the sliver and allowing these fibres to be drawn over a specific gap. Any short fibres are held back by nipper jaws and are simply brushed away by a pin roller. The dropout of short fibres and veg matter is known as noil.

V. Autolevelling Gillbox: The nature of French Combing means fibres are joined together by layering to form a rope of fibre known as a top. This top has an un-level appearance going thick and thin and requires levelling into an even rope of fibre called a top. To level the top it is passed through another gillbox which detects thick and thin areas and is able to draft the fibres into a level top. This procedure is carried out twice to ensure very level tops and hence level yarns.

VI. Drawbox Roving: The fibre is then drawn into a roving of the thickness of your small finger with a slight amount of twist and delivered on to a bobbin.

VII. Roving Frame: The roving is doubled and drawn down into a finer twisted roving ready for spinning.

VIII. Ring Spinning: The rovings are drafted finer still into the required weight of singles yarn and twisted by the rotation of a steel traveller on a metal ring and twisted onto a package ready for folding.

IX. Cone Winding: The singles of yarn are removed from the spinner tubes on to cones to be made ready for the Twisting/Folding machine.

X. Twisting/Folding: The singles threads are folded together to make the combined yarn as required.

XI. Coning/skeining: The yarns are then packaged for further dyeing or balling or simply skeined in to the required weights ready for the craft user.

    Kindly provided by John Arbon (John Arbon Textiles).