Two important notes:
- 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
- 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.
- After MTL finishes weaving, the greige Fabric goes to American Woolen for finishing (which is also very complicated!)
- In our Fabric, there are about 50 warp yarns in EVERY INCH (2.5 cm) of greige 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!
- It takes about a week to "warp" our yarn ... in weaver's jargon, "warping" means winding the warp yarn onto a giant spool in preparation for the actual weaving process. So when Alex or I do the trucking, we always deliver the warp first if we can't handle all the yarn in one load
- 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 not only enhances the beauty of the Fabric, but also helps the solid colors to disappear in Nature.
- On average, a bolt of our griege takes about 12 to 16 hours loom-time -- exclusive of warping -- on a very expensive and sophisticated machine operated by a skilled technician
Debby, Denali and I visited MTL in July of 2020 when they were weaving a demonstration piece (a 'piece' aka a 'bolt' 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.
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.
My main thought was that it's so complicated it's not going to work. But MTL does it all the time ...
Above and below are shots of the warp fibers being bundled onto the drum.
Below, another look at how the warps are bundled.
Here is some more info about weaving!
In the 2nd quarter of 2022, for the cost of shipping, we decided to offer Fabric Remnants to our customers. People have ordered a lot of them. We're happy people are finding uses for them. And so in September of 2022, we decided to offer what I have been (ignorantly) calling Weaving Selvedge or Weaving Remnants. I used those terms because they are descriptive. But the correct term is False Selvedge, which is a kind of surprising moniker.
But anyway, these following diagrams and text make clear what the False Selvedge is. BIG THANKS to Brian Kunetz of MTL for this material (and some much more important stuff, too!).
In the photo above, the CUTTER is shown removing the False Selvedge from the Woven Selvedge of our Drab Fabric. The False Selvedge is usually given to charity but if our customers can find uses for it, we will continue to offer it on our website.
Depending on the Fabric being made, there may be a few polyester threads running through the False Selvedge. Otherwise, Brian wrote, "the false selvedge yarn is the exact same weft (or filling yarn) for the body of the fabric. It gets inserted from the entry side of the loom and continues thru the shed to the exit side where it is cut off. And on and on and on….."
"the false selvedge or waste selvedge ... is trimmed off in/during weaving. It is a byproduct of weaving that may or may not occur depending on loom type. All our looms have this setup.
The false selvedge of our Lynx Pattern, has a few white threads at the edge where it is cut from the fabric selvedge. Brian explained: "The white threads ... are a 30/2 Spun Polyester natural yarn. This yarn is the interlacing for the filling tails on both sides of the loom, and it is fed via a bobbin. Separately, the fabric selvedge contained in the edges of the fabric is woven with the warp yarn itself."
3 October 2022 --- Ralph