March 2018

The Wool Journey Part 9: preparing to spin, part 1

Sue Blacker's picture
20 March, 2018 - 12:32 | Sue Blacker

As with home decorating, the amount of work done in preparation for spinning is (and feels like) much more than the actual final painting or papering! So far, we have moved from the first of the pictures above … and are now heading for the second … the third is still some way farther through the mill!

So the next processes of teasing, blending, carding and combing are just as important to improve the end result as all the work already done by the farmer to produce and harvest the fibre and the sorting, grading, scouring and drying.

Teasing and blending

To make felt or to spin yarn, it is necessary to separate the scoured fibres, which may have clumped together in scouring, drying and packaging in bales.  This may be done by hand and is most easily achieved when the fleece is still slightly damp from washing.

The Wool Journey Part 8: all clean and tidy!

Sue Blacker's picture
13 March, 2018 - 10:14 | Sue Blacker

Scouring and drying: the first stage of processing

We are starting with wool, mohair or alpaca (or indeed cashmere) which has already been sorted and graded and is therefore a pile of similar or mixed fibres ready to be transformed into felt or a yarn.

Cashmere may have been treated with formaldehyde to prevent any risk of the spread of anthrax, which is endemic in most areas where cashmere is produced in quantity and is a requirement of the World Health Organisation.  This means that most cashmere at present cannot be used for organic products, however, scouring will have removed this before further processing, so it is an environmental rather than material issue for organic acceptance.


Blacker Yarns | +44 (0) 1566 777 635


The Natural Fibre Company | +44 (0) 1566 777 635