There are many stages in the production of each hand woven product, from the initial sourcing of the British Alpaca fleece to the hand washing and finishing of the woven item. Please watch this short film to see the whole making process.
Fleece to Yarn
The fleece is all hand picked for quality and colour, working directly with British alpaca breeders the wide range of colours in the finest quality is sourced. The fleece is then spun into yarn in a small mill in the Scottish Borders before it is returned as yarn ready to be woven.
The greatest care is taken to ensure minimum wastage of the beautiful yarn. Once the design has been created and drawn out the quantity of yarn is calculated to the nearest meter to ensure there is the correct amount of each colour.
The next stage is to make the warp on the warping mill before this is transferred onto the loom. The warps are normally about 15m long which will make 6 scarf or shawl length products. Once the warp is wound on to the back beam each thread (called an end in weaving) is pulled through an individual heddle to create the first part of the pattern. The ends then get pulled though the reed and tensioned before weaving begins.
The design is tested to ensure the loom is threaded correctly before weaving starts. The raw edges are hand stitched whilst the product is on the loom creating a finished edge for the tassels. The greatest care is taken with the tension on the selvedges with each thread being fixed at either side to create the finished edge.
Once the warp has been taken off it is taken through a darning process to ensure any loose ends are stitched in. The scarves are cut and the washing process begins. Each scarf is hand washed at specific temperatures. There are 6 stages to the washing process to ensure the correct finish is achieved before the products are flat dried. The tassels are then pulled apart to create the wonderful volume of the individual threads before each scarf is brushed and steamed to relax the fibres and give the luxurious soft feel to each and every product. The labels are then attached and each item lives in its own protective bag for safe keeping.
The Finished Works
Each item is documented (and tested!), we keep note of the design, colour and weaver of each piece so that in time we will build up an archive of every product to see the development in design, quality and colour.