CRAZY BACKSTORY: We had a big scare with Hurricane Ida flooding. Batch 6 was not affected, but Batch 7 sure was! We actually had to rescue Batch 7 from Littlewood Dye House in Philadelphia after the Hurricane Ida floodwaters receded.
Although our wool was briefly submerged in the floods, it was so tightly wrapped and baled that it did not absorb much water, and dirt really could not get to it. To ameliorate the effects of Hurricane Ida's floodwaters, and to be totally sure of our fiber, we needed to bring Batch 7 back to Chargeurs USA in South Carolina, where it was originally scoured in 2020. Because the scouring train is not designed to handle previously-scoured fiber, it was necessary blend Batch 7 with Batch 8, which we fortunately had purchased in Spring of 2021.
When the combined Batch 7 and Batch 8 wool was returned to American Woolen Company (AWC), we continued to fulfill the original Batch 7 Purchase Orders (Fabric Production orders). Fiber beyond what is necessary to make Batch 7 is now considered Batch 8.
Estimated and actual Batch 7 Fabric Completion Milestones. We will be working Batch 7 in two (make that three) tranches. Normally, the mills work one Fabric until completed. But the sewing professionals like to receive all the Fabric at once. So, in order to get Fabric to the tailors sooner, MTL and AWC will tranche the work on the FullWeight Drab and Black:
- FullWeight Lynx:
- All yarn completed by AWC and delivered to MTL by Ralph's Rapid On-Demand Trucking
- Greige Completed: 8 July 2022
- Finished Fabric: I picked up the last of it from AWC on 8 Sep. The Patriot is already in production. (See Blog of 2022-09-02.) ETA for Anoraks 15 November 2022. Production runs of All-Around Jackets and Double Hoods starting. We will also make some Peacoats, North Maine Double Coats and Blankets.
- FullWeight Brown:
- Yarn Completed by AWC and delivered to MTL as of 28 June 2022
- Greige Completed: 31 August 2022
- Finished Fabric: Picked up 30 September 2022. Same garments under way as for FullWeight Lynx, above
- As a consequence of working with the new dye house, somehow our Duff color came out Brown. Nobody has objected to the new color, but it's a true brown and significantly darker than the Duff we intended to make. Looks like Duff is history, and we stick with Brown going forward
- FullWeight Drab:
- Yarn Completed and delivered to MTL as of 28 June 2022
- Greige Completed: 26 September 2022, first tranche. Second tranche, 7 November 2022
- Finished Fabric: First tranche was scheduled for 11 November and picked up November 18, along with Black. Second tranche picked up 19 December. Final tranche scheduled for January 24 2023
- FullWeight Black:
- Yarn Completed and delivered to MTL as of 28 June 2022
- Greige Completed: 15 October, first tranche. Second tranche, ASAP after Drab
- Finished Fabric: First Tranche, 18 November. Second tranche (final) completed picked up 19 December 2022
We will get the tailors working as soon as possible. BUT the tailors may not really be able to get started until they have all the Fabrics on hand. And of course, they are not just sitting around waiting for me. We are trying to get SOME of each color (tranches) rather than ALL of each color at once. If we can do that, we can get a mix of colors to the tailors so they can make complete runs of (first) Anoraks and All-Around Jackets.
HERE is the information on the original Batch 7.
Batch 7 is larger than any previous WeatherWool Batch! We have not made any garments from Batch 7 yet, except that we needed to use a few hundred pounds of Batch 7 fiber to complete making Batch 5 FullWeight Lynx Fabric. (Didn't take long for my little plan Batch-tracking plan to get complicated, even before the flood.)
The greasy was purchased in April 2020, by private treaty with the following ranches:
- AD Jones: 8174 pounds (3707 kg); 42% of Batch 7
- M&J Corn: 6815 pounds (3091 kg); 35% of Batch 7
- Sultemeier Ltd: 3308 pounds (1498 kg); 17% of Batch 7
- PM Ranch: 965 pounds (438 kg); 5% of Batch 7
Total weight of Batch 7 Greasy: 19262 pounds (8736 kg).
Batch 7 Greasy was scoured by Chargeurs USA in South Carolina. The scouring process removes wool grease (crude lanolin), dirt, vegetable matter and other debris from the fleece. The yield of clean fiber was 10,946 pounds (4964 kg), or 56.8%, which is quite high.
This clean fiber was shipped to American Woolen Company in Connecticut, who manages production of our Fabric. AWC sent the fiber for dyeing at Littlewood Dyers in Philadelphia, and the dyeing was expected to be completed in late August or early September of 2021. But then ... Hurricane Ida struck, and that's where the adventure described above started.
The dyeing of the wool is complicated by the fact that we need to create the same colors on two different types of wool. Not only is our weft fiber purchased separately from our warp yarn, but the fiber used to spin the warp has different characteristics than those of the weft yarn. The differences are compounded by the fact that weft was dyed by Tintoria as fiber (not yet spun into yarn) and the warp was dyed by AWC as yarn, on cones.
AND HERE is the information on the original Batch 8.
Batch 8, purchased on 30 April 2021, is similar to Batch 7, but not as large, mostly because the Sultemeiers, one of the Batch 7 Ranches, was forced out of business due to the age of the owners and the continuing terrible drought conditions in New Mexico.
The greasy was purchased at auction at Roswell Wool, in April 2021:
- AD Jones: 5870 pounds (2662 kg); 49% of Batch 8
- M&J Corn: 5299 pounds (2403 kg); 45% of Batch 8
- PM Ranch: 719 pounds (326 kg); 6% of Batch 8
Total weight of Batch 8 Greasy: 11,888 pounds (5391 kg).
As described above, because of Hurricane Ida's floods, Batch 8 Greasy needed to be rushed to Chargeurs USA in South Carolina where it was blended with Batch 7. The blending enabled the entire mix to be sent through the scouring train, and so Batch 7 could be cleaned again after being caught in the Ida floodwaters. If we did not have Batch 8 already on hand, I don't know what we might have done!
The scouring process removes wool grease (crude lanolin), dirt, vegetable matter, and other debris from the fleece. Because of the nature of the greasy wool we buy, we always get a high yield of clean fiber.
The dyeing of the wool is by nature a complex process, made more so by the fact that we need to dye the same colors on two different types of wool. Not only is our weft fiber purchased separately from our warp yarn, but the fiber used to spin the worsted warp has different characteristics than those of the woven weft yarn. The differences are compounded by the fact that Tintoria will dye the weft as fiber (not yet spun into yarn) and AWC dyes the warp as yarn, on cones.
23 January 2023 --- Ralph