FAQ

Q: What services do you offer? Can I send you fleeces to process?

A: We offer bespoke top blending and yarn making services with a 1lb test run minimum. We may offer top making on a case by case basis for core tested, scoured wool that meets our requirements. Textile machines are engineered for a specific micron range and produce excessive waste when processing fiber outside that micron range. 

Individual fleeces present many issues, though consistency is the biggest problem. We did a test run with several merino fleeces from a local farm. The fleeces themselves were beautiful. However there were major issues with fiber weakness. A lot of the fiber was very weak and didn't hold up well while being processed. This resulted in a very, very high amount of fiber lost in processing and made the finished top very expensive.

We started with 10lbs of wool after washing. There wasn't enough fiber to be commercially scoured, and its not possible to properly scour wool by hand in small runs. We wound up with 4lbs of finished top. 

 

Q: What is a micro commercial class top making mill?

A: We operate according to ASTM industry testing standards and require core testing and wool classing reports on all incoming fiber for top making.

We are a micro commercial class top making mill. Where a true commercial mill has rooms full of machines, we only have one of each machine used to make top. Our minimum run size for top making is in the hundreds of pounds range, in order to be efficient and offer the best price possible. A true commercial mill's minimum run size is many tons of fiber.

 

Q: What testing standards does qualified wool need to undergo prior to top making?

A: A certified core test from Yocum-McColl Wool Testing Lab, or other similar certified testing lab and a classing report provide information on both the fiber itself and environmental factors, all of which influence processing. Top making is contracted based on the amount of incoming fiber, and it could be extremely costly if the yield is low. The core test and classing report provide us with information that can give us an idea of what the yield will be.

Properly scouring wool requires extensive infrastructure to both handle the wool itself and also to manage the waste water in a sustainable, responsible manner. We aren't set up to scour wool. Any wool has to be properly scoured to ASTM standards for grease and debris before we could make it into top. 

 

Q: Do you offer scouring services?

A: Properly scouring wool requires an extensive water handling system, which is impractical for us given our size and location.

 

Q: What do we require for top making?

A: We need a certified core test performed according to ASTM standards that was performed by either Yocom-McColl Testing Lab or another ASTM certified lab. We also would need a wool classing report which describes the environment the sheep lived in since environmental factors like clay in the soil or excessive vegetable matter all affect processing. The wool would also have to be scoured to ASTM standards for grease and debris. 

We do have approximately 60-80lbs of qualified Chiri Cloud 80's fiber that is available for processing by contract. 

 

Q: What is worsted processing?

A: There are 3 fiber processing paths, woolen, semi-worsted and worsted. In woolen processing, the fibers are loosely arranged in many directions which results in a lofty yarn. In worsted processing, the fibers go through a multi-step process that removes all short or dissimilar fibers and aligns the remaining fibers in parallel. This creates a strong, smooth yarn. Semi-worsted processing is somewhere in between the two. The fibers are a little more parallel than in woolen processing, but there're not completely parallel like in worsted processing. 

All processing paths start with the same machine, a carding machine. However there are different types of carding machines for each processing path. The differences are in how the teeth on the various drums, strippers and workers are aligned. A worsted card has teeth that are designed to begin to put the fibers in parallel, while also opening up the fibers. The resulting tube of fiber is called card sliver.

The card sliver then goes to a pin drafter. Its job is to begin to put all the fibers in parallel, using a system of rotating combs. The fiber goes through the pin drafter several times before moving on to the comb. The comb creates a web of fiber while removing any excessive vegetable matter and dissimilar fibers. This is where the fibers in the pin drafted sliver are fully made parallel. It's also the machine that produces the most waste. The final step in the worsted process are some more passes through the pin drafter to create top sliver, also known as top.

 Q: What are ASTM standards for wool testing?

A: 

 

Q: What are ASTM Standards for top testing?

A: Please note that testing is destructive and that samples are consumed in the testing process.

ASTM D2720-94(2012)e1 Standard Practice for Calculation of Commercial Weight and Yield of Scoured Wool, Top, and Noil for Various Commercial Compositions
ASTM D2612-99(2011) Standard Test Method for Fiber Cohesion in Sliver and Top (Static Tests)
ASTM D4120-07(2012) Standard Test Method for Fiber Cohesion in Roving, Sliver, and Top in Dynamic Tests
ASTM D6500-00(2012)e1 Standard Test Method for Diameter of Wool and Other Animal Fibers Using an Optical Fiber Diameter Analyser

Q: What are ASTM Standards for yarn and fabric testing?

A: Please note that testing is destructive and that samples are consumed in the testing process.

ASTM D1907/D1907M-12 Standard Test Method for Linear Density of Yarn (Yarn Number) by the Skein Method
ASTM D6612-00(2016) Standard Test Method for Yarn Number and Yarn Number Variability Using Automated Tester
ASTM D3883-04(2016) Standard Test Method for Yarn Crimp and Yarn Take-up in Woven Fabrics
ASTM D861-07(2013) Standard Practice for Use of the Tex System to Designate Linear Density of Fibers, Yarn Intermediates, and Yarns
ASTM D2260-03(2013) Standard Tables of Conversion Factors and Equivalent Yarn Numbers Measured in Various Numbering Systems
ASTM D1244-98(2011) Standard Practice for Designation of Yarn Construction
ASTM D6587-12e1 Standard Test Method for Yarn Number Using Automatic Tester
ASTM D6774-02(2010) Standard Test Method for Crimp and Shrinkage Properties for Textured Yarns Using a Dynamic Textured Yarn Tester
ASTM D6612 - 00(2011) Standard Test Method for Yarn Number and Yarn Number Variability Using Automated Tester
ASTM D3412/D3412M-13 Standard Test Method for Coefficient of Friction, Yarn to Yarn
ASTM D3888-15 Standard Terminology for Yarn Spinning Systems
ASTM D2258/D2258M-16 Standard Practice for Sampling Yarn for Testing
ASTM D1336-07(2015) Standard Test Method for Distortion of Yarn in Woven Fabrics
ASTM D1578-93(2016) Standard Test Method for Breaking Strength of Yarn in Skein Form
ASTM D3108/D3108M-13 Standard Test Method for Coefficient of Friction, Yarn to Solid Material
ASTM D3883 - 04(2008) Standard Test Method for Yarn Crimp and Yarn Take-up in Woven Fabrics