During my recent visit to our Yorkshire spinning mill and factory, I had the opportunity to dive deep into the fascinating journey our fleece undergoes to become the high-quality, fine yarn that forms the foundation of our products. Let me take you through the intricate process and share the remarkable details I discovered.
To begin, it's essential to understand the distinction between our mill and our factory. Our mill is where the raw sheep fleece is meticulously transformed into fine yarn, while our factory is where this yarn is skillfully knitted into the beautiful items you find on our website.
Nestled under an awe-inspiring Victorian viaduct, our spinning mill stands as a testament to over 200 years of operation. Here, we primarily source our yarn, and the journey starts with the raw material. At Rove, we work with two main types of wool: 100% British Pure New Wool and 100% Merino Lambswool. The British Wool is sourced from farms within a 30-mile radius of the mill, while the Merino Lambswool makes its way to the UK from Australia, benefiting from the warmer climate there and resulting in a softer texture.
The raw material then proceeds to the dye-house, where it undergoes dyeing to achieve the specific shades in our palette. By dyeing the fibers before the spinning process, we ensure gentler treatment, leading to a softer finished product. Our mill has invested in cutting-edge dye-house controllers, enabling us to dye at lower temperatures, which is not only better for the fibers but also promotes environmental sustainability.
Next, the Colour Department expertly blends various dye batches, creating mixtures of colours for heathered or melange shades, or solid colours for a more uniform look. The carding process follows, during which the fibres pass over meticulously set wired rollers, aligning them, smoothing out imperfections, and blending the shades harmoniously. The objective is to achieve the most even slubbing possible.
Once the carding process is complete, smooth and combed fibres are transformed into yarn in our spinning department. Our mill employs modern mules, known for producing rounder yarn that preserves the soft handle of the fibres and avoids damage. Though a laborious method, it guarantees the highest quality yarn.
After spinning, the yarn is wound onto larger cones, meticulously checked for imperfections, and cleared of any irregularities. Advanced detectors identify variations in thickness, coloured fibre contamination, and other flaws, which are then meticulously corrected, ensuring a flawless final product.
In our twisting department, yarns destined to be plied are twisted together. Currently, all the yarn we use at Rove is two-ply, with two ends carefully twisted. The degree of twist employed can vary among mills, with a looser twist resulting in a softer handle but potentially more prone to bobbling or pilling. Our mill uses a slightly tighter twist, enhancing durability and minimizing excessive pilling.
Throughout each stage of the process, our diligent quality control team diligently scrutinizes color fastness, yarn evenness, strength, count changes, shade variation, and other critical factors. Their commitment to maintaining exceptional standards ensures that every Rove product meets our unwavering quality benchmarks.
Witnessing this meticulous journey from fleece to fine yarn has deepened my appreciation for the craftsmanship and dedication that goes into each and every one of our products. We take immense pride in bringing you exceptional items created through a labor-intensive yet rewarding process, resulting in the finest quality for your enjoyment.
Stay tuned for more insights into our passion for craftsmanship and sustainable fashion as we continue to share our remarkable journey.
- Rose x