At our supply chain partner in China, our wool gets washed and combed into what is called a wool top. In detail, this means that our wool is put into large pools of water and soap to wash the wool grease as well as the dirt, sand and grass from the field out of the wool. The wool grease gets extracted from the water to be used in cosmetics and beauty products. The dirt, sand and grass gets filtered out to be used as a fertiliser. The water that has been used is filtered and cleaned to be reused or entered into the local water system.
After washing (also called scouring) of the wool, the wool gets dried in huge ventilation boxes. The next step is for the wool to be carded. This is a process where the individual wool fibres are being straightened and aligned. The outcome of this process is a carded sliver. This carded sliver is then being fed into a drawing machine which further parallises the wool fibres. Typically the wool passes three times through the drawing machine. The next step is the combing machine. The combing machine removes short fibres, any vegetable matter and any knots that may have occurred. The last step in the process is the gilling machine. This process removes any wave patterns that got imprinted during the combing and regulates the actual weight of wool per meter of the sliver. The sliver is the final product, the wool top, of this processing step which is the basis for the next step, the spinning process. The last step in this process is the superwash process. This process makes wool less susceptible to felting by dulling the scales on the wool fibres. Ultimately, it is this process needed to keep your garment intact when it is washed by machine. The superwashed wool tops get packed and then shipped to our spinner in Taiwan.