Hardcore Luxury®

Weaving

Two important notes:

  1. I'm comfortable writing that the Jacquard loom weaving process that creates our Fabrics is crazy-complicated. I'd say it's too complicated to be reliable, except that MTL (Material Technology and Logistics) makes it routine
  2. The material presented here is my best understanding. And I keep getting confused on the details. So some of this info will probably be corrected in the details, but the gist of it is solid.

Here are some basics:

  • Our Fabric bolts as they come off the Jacquard loom are about 60 inches (152 cm) wide and about 55 yards (50 meters) long
  • The strands of yarn that run lengthwise through a bolt of fabric are called WARP. Our warp yarns are spun by Kentwool Yarn.
  • The strands running horizontally are known as WEFT, and our weft yarns are spun by American Woolen.
  • In our Fabric, there are about 50 warp yarns in EVERY INCH (2.5 cm) of Fabric ... so about 3000 warp yarns from left to right across the entire bolt. Imagine trying to organize and control with extreme precision 3000 strands of yarn 55 yards long ... packed tightly together, side by side. And we aren't even talking about the weaving yet!
  • With our Lynx Pattern, there are four different colors woven together. The warp is KHAKI, and the weft  colors are NATURAL, TAUPE and BROWN
  • The most common looms are known as Dobby looms, and they can create solid colors and geometric patterns such as the well-known green and black-check "lumberjack" pattern. If you imagine whole length of a bolt of Fabric laid out flat, the warp could be considered to run North-South, and the weft runs East-West. A Dobby loom handles warp running lengthwise (top-bottom / North-South) and weft that runs sideways (left-right / Weat-West). The weft is woven over and under the warp fibers, and the Jacquard loom is programmed to create the Lynx Pattern by bringing any of the four colors to the surface at specific points in the pattern. So the Jacquard can be considered to add to the weave, within the small thickness of the Fabric, an up and down component that enables color selection.
  • A Jacquard loom can be programmed (the Jacquard loom was a huge step toward early computers) to weave a faithful portrait, and a Jacquard is necessary to create our Lynx Pattern.
  • Because all of the weft colors are available at any point of the fabric, the Jacquard loom also creates a sort of three-dimensional fabric that has weather-resistant properties that are absolutely critical for us. I didn't know about any of this in the years when we were developing our Fabric. But what I did know was that the weather-resistant performance I required did not start to appear until we were working on our Lynx Pattern. I later learned that virtually the entire garment industry makes solid colors on Dobby looms because the fabric is much less expensive using the Dobby ... but the Hardcore performance is just not there without the three-dimensional weave of the Jacquard.
  • All of our Fabrics, including our solid colors, are actually woven in Lynx Pattern. But with our solids (Black, Drab and Duff), all the warp and weft yarns are the same colors. If you look closely at our solid colors, particularly if you look at the Fabric at an angle, you can see the pattern. Even in the solid colors, the Lynx Pattern Jacquard weave causes light to bounce off the various strands at different angles, and this helps the solid colors to disappear in Nature.

 

Debby, Denali and I visited MTL in July of 2020 when they were weaving a demonstration piece (a 'piece' is normally about 55 yards/50 meters long). In this case MTL wove only a couple of yards because Debby didn't like one of the colors. AWC (American Woolen Company) redyed some yarn to make it darker, and the weaving continued a couple of weeks later.

Since our early days, WeatherWool has relied on the support, advice and expertise of Mike Hillebrand and his team at Material Technology and Logistics. MTL has resources, including the highly sophisticated Jacquard Looms, that are necessary to create the Hardcore Luxury Merino Jacquard Fabric that is the basis of WeatherWool.
Our FullWeight Lynx Pattern Fabric being woven on a Jacquard Loom.
Lynx Pattern requires a Jacquard Loom ... but we actually use the Jacquard because it also creates a weather-resistant structure within the Fabric that I have not seen in a Dobby Loom-produced fabric.Since our early days, WeatherWool has relied on the support, advice and expertise of Mike Hillebrand and his team at Material Technology and Logistics. MTL has resources, including the highly sophisticated Jacquard Looms, that are necessary to create the Hardcore Luxury Merino Jacquard Fabric that is the basis of WeatherWool.
This shot give some sense of the complexity of the Loom ...
    
Since our early days, WeatherWool has relied on the support, advice and expertise of Mike Hillebrand and his team at Material Technology and Logistics. MTL has resources, including the highly sophisticated Jacquard Looms, that are necessary to create the Hardcore Luxury Merino Jacquard Fabric that is the basis of WeatherWool.
The Jacquard Loom is a big piece of equipment, and there is actually an "upstairs" controlling unit. Below is a photo of our Lynx Pattern on the Loom, and on the floor above the Loom is the yellow controller unit.
Since our early days, WeatherWool has relied on the support, advice and expertise of Mike Hillebrand and his team at Material Technology and Logistics. MTL has resources, including the highly sophisticated Jacquard Looms, that are necessary to create the Hardcore Luxury Merino Jacquard Fabric that is the basis of WeatherWool.
Since our early days, WeatherWool has relied on the support, advice and expertise of Mike Hillebrand and his team at Material Technology and Logistics. MTL has resources, including the highly sophisticated Jacquard Looms, that are necessary to create the Hardcore Luxury Merino Jacquard Fabric that is the basis of WeatherWool.
Above and below are photos showing the crazy array of warp yarns that the loom needs to handle. There are about 3000 warp fibers (the fibers that run lengthwise through a bolt of Fabric) in our Fabric. Keeping all these warps organized and separated and preventing tangles would seem to be an impossible task.
Since our early days, WeatherWool has relied on the support, advice and expertise of Mike Hillebrand and his team at Material Technology and Logistics. MTL has resources, including the highly sophisticated Jacquard Looms, that are necessary to create the Hardcore Luxury Merino Jacquard Fabric that is the basis of WeatherWool.
Since our early days, WeatherWool has relied on the support, advice and expertise of Mike Hillebrand and his team at Material Technology and Logistics. MTL has resources, including the highly sophisticated Jacquard Looms, that are necessary to create the Hardcore Luxury Merino Jacquard Fabric that is the basis of WeatherWool.
Above is another look at the array of warps. (I'm not sure this is our warp.)
Since our early days, WeatherWool has relied on the support, advice and expertise of Mike Hillebrand and his team at Material Technology and Logistics. MTL has resources, including the highly sophisticated Jacquard Looms, that are necessary to create the Hardcore Luxury Merino Jacquard Fabric that is the basis of WeatherWool.
Mike Hillebrand, founder and owner of MTL on the right, explaining to Debby and me what the heck is going on here. Also in the photo, at left rear, is one of Mike's employees. I didn't absorb much of it. Debby spent a lot of time in her Dad's factory while she was growing up, and she is more understanding of machines than me. Below is a closeup of the innards of the controller.
Since our early days, WeatherWool has relied on the support, advice and expertise of Mike Hillebrand and his team at Material Technology and Logistics. MTL has resources, including the highly sophisticated Jacquard Looms, that are necessary to create the Hardcore Luxury Merino Jacquard Fabric that is the basis of WeatherWool.
Since our early days, WeatherWool has relied on the support, advice and expertise of Mike Hillebrand and his team at Material Technology and Logistics. MTL has resources, including the highly sophisticated Jacquard Looms, that are necessary to create the Hardcore Luxury Merino Jacquard Fabric that is the basis of WeatherWool.
Above and below are photos of the array of spools of warp yarn that must be bundled together into a single usable package on a "warp drum". Before the Fabric is woven, the warps are bundled onto the drum in a completely separate process that is crazy-complex all by itself. The warps are handled in groups of 200 ... so for us, that means 15 groups of 200 warps.
Since our early days, WeatherWool has relied on the support, advice and expertise of Mike Hillebrand and his team at Material Technology and Logistics. MTL has resources, including the highly sophisticated Jacquard Looms, that are necessary to create the Hardcore Luxury Merino Jacquard Fabric that is the basis of WeatherWool.
Since our early days, WeatherWool has relied on the support, advice and expertise of Mike Hillebrand and his team at Material Technology and Logistics. MTL has resources, including the highly sophisticated Jacquard Looms, that are necessary to create the Hardcore Luxury Merino Jacquard Fabric that is the basis of WeatherWool.

Above and below are shots of the warp fibers being bundled onto the drum.

Since our early days, WeatherWool has relied on the support, advice and expertise of Mike Hillebrand and his team at Material Technology and Logistics. MTL has resources, including the highly sophisticated Jacquard Looms, that are necessary to create the Hardcore Luxury Merino Jacquard Fabric that is the basis of WeatherWool.

 

Below, another look at how the warps are bundled.

Since our early days, WeatherWool has relied on the support, advice and expertise of Mike Hillebrand and his team at Material Technology and Logistics. MTL has resources, including the highly sophisticated Jacquard Looms, that are necessary to create the Hardcore Luxury Merino Jacquard Fabric that is the basis of WeatherWool.

 

 

7 September 2020 --- Ralph