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How to Process Wool

Weaving wool

Weaving is a process whereby woven fabrics are formed on a loom by the interlacing of warp yarns which are set length ways on the machine, and a weft yarn is inserted usually at right angles to the warp.

Warp and Weft

Prior to weaving, the warp yarns are prepared and assembled in a parallel manner. This preparation stage is known as warping, and is carried out on a machine known as a warping machine. Because lot sizes for wool, in comparison to some other fibres, tend to be relatively small, the method of sectional warping is the most commonly used.

Firstly the warp yarns are fed from a creel, and wrapped in small sections around a rotating taped drum, and then from the drum they are unwound and transferred to a beam, which fits directly onto the loom.

Most warps yarns are two-fold (2xply), because of greater strength and resistance to abrasion. Weft yarns are either singles (1xply) or two fold, depending on the required aesthetics and performance of the woven fabric to be produced.

During weaving there are three primary motions, these include:

In addition to these there is a let-off and take-up action which moves the fabric through the loom in a controlled way.

Different types of looms can be used to produce woven fabrics made from wool, with the exception of water jets (wool absorbs too much moisture).

Today, Rapier weaving looms are the most commonly used, because they are much quieter than projectile types (shuttle looms).

Lisa Griplas has more than ten years experience in the media and communications industry. A journalist by trade, she spent a number of years working at a daily newspaper before moving to The Woolmark Company to take up the role of Global Editor, a title she holds today.