The tweed Mill in Yorkshire
The mill is where our Englaish tweed weavers are based in Yorkshire. The family run mill first opened in 1931 and is still a traditional family owned weaving mill. The mill has a workforce of highly skilled crafts people, many of which have spent their lives in the textile industry.
How tweed is made at the Mill
There are many complex processes involved in creating woven cloth, below is a brief explaination of each area of the mill and the part it plays when creating our tweed fabrics.
The yarn store
The store at the mill holds a wide range of yarns in stock in a variety of compositions from pure wools to polyester/ viscose and in a variety of counts.
The mill imports several tonnes of top dyed yarn (fibres are dyed before being twisted into yarn) each month and package dyed yarn (yarn is dyed once in yarn state). Each yarn is checked for quality and continuity of shade before it is used.
The yarn is prepared for loom by creating a warp (the threads that run from the front to the back of the loom). To create a warp the threads for a single pattern repeat are arranged and checked. The threads are then wound onto the warping machine to the desired length, cut and tied up, the machine is then moved along and the threads are re-tied next to the first section, the process is repeated until the full warp has been created in this way. A warp can take anything from 2 to 11 hours to produce depending on its complexity.
Once a warp has been created it needs to be readied for loom, there are two ways this can be done. Firstly, if this new warp is the same set as a job that is already weaving in loom then the Twisters can knot the new warp to the end of the old warp, pull it through and it will be ready to weave again. However, if the warp is a new sett then a gear will need to be made for it and from this they use a Super Vega machine. The machine is programmed with the sett details for the job and it then threads each end through its correct shaft, reed gap and dropper. This can be extremely time consuming as some of the setts have over 7000 ends.
Once the warp is prepared it is put into loom and this is where the fabric is created. Weaving is the process of lifting and lowering the shafts (and attached warp threads) in a given sequence to create a gap through which the weft thread is then placed. The mill has 20 looms which are operated 24 hours a day 6 days a week. This enables the mill to produce over 20,000 metres of cloth a week.
There are a variety of wet and dry processes that will transform the cloth from its greasy state into beautiful finished cloth. Some cloths require a lot of work in order to transform them from loosely woven cloths into fully covered meltons and others just need a wash to remove natural oils and machine grease.
The mill believes that the most effective way to be sustainable is to regularly assess and improve current procedures in order to minimize any waste produced. Where waste cannot be avoided the mill ensures that the waste is disposed of carefully and recycled where possible. This is in order for the mill to move closer to their aim of zero waste to landfill. The mill currently have several systems in place to help reduce their waste. This includes all textile waste and loom oil is collected and recycled.
In 2018 the mill had 260 solar panels fitted with the aim of reducing the mills carbon footprint. Since installation they have generated 52,123 kWh of energy which helps power the looms.