Tour

Woolen Mill Front

Welcome to our tour – The office & outlet center were built in 1990 that replaced an old wooden structure, which was over 100 years old.

We are located at 3500 Route 635 in York Mills. A pond is across the road that supplies the factory with processing water. Until 1994 it also supplied power by way of a turbine in the old plant.

A fire one November 1st, 1994 destroyed the old plant and was rebuilt behind the office building.

Your tour will give you a glimpse of our new facility.


Weighing & Grading

We purchase wool direct from the producer, from Co-op from wool merchants.

The wool we buy is completely Canadian grown. The length must be between 2 1/2 – 4 inches and sorted to colour.

All wool is weighed and graded in our warehouse with a final grading done just at the beginning of scouring.

 


Raw Stock Scouring

This is the beginning of our manufacturing process. We first must wash the wool. This will remove the oils, dirt, and manure.

We cannot wash out vegetable matter, but have to machine it out later.

All grease wool must be scoured, so we can dye it or machine it.

 


Raw Stock Dying

From the ‘Wool Washer’ the wet wool can be loaded into our dye kettle to be dyed one of our secret colors.

Dyeing is very expensive. We use only environmentally friendly dyes, which are very wash & light fast.

 


Raw Stock Drying

All of our scoured wool or dyed wool must be dried next. We use steam heat and a temperature of 225 F to dry.

Fans blow the hot air through the fiber. As it exits the dryer the wool goes through a cone duster, then is blown into bins.

 


Skein Drying

All of our hand knitting yarn is packaged in skeins or hanks.

If we are making white yarn we can load it into one of our kettles and dye it a solid shade colour.

No two dye lots are the same in our mill or any other mill.

 


Skein Scouring & Drying

After the wool has been made into yarn it is again washed to remove spinning oils and dirt.

All yarn that has been dyed or scoured is wet.

We then load it into the yarn dryer and dry it with a temperature no greater than 150 F.

 


Blending & Picking

From the dye house the washed & dried wool is delivered to the blending department.

This is the first step in the manufacturing of yarn.

The picker pulls the fibers apart and helps blend the colors closer together.

A lot of the vegetable matter is also removed or broken apart.

All of our fibre is pickered twice and then delivered to the cards.

 


Carding

Carding is the most important machine in any textile operation.

It performs three very important steps:

  • – Straightens the fiber
  • – Blends the colors together
  • – Removes 99% of the vegetable matter

 


Carding (continued)

A woolen card has three main cylinders and is covered with smaller rollers called workers or strippers.

They all have teeth on them that grab the fibers and pull them straight, very much like combing your hair.

At one end the raw wool is fed in and at the other end we have a carded, pencil roving or strand, which is wound on spools and delivered to the spinning frames.

 


Country Roving

Pencil roving can also be taken to the packager for Country Roving where it is put in 5 Ply rolls.

 


Spinning

Spinning frames take the primary strands of wool and spin them into a strong, smooth and uniform yarn.

It is single ply and can spin to any specification.

The turning of the bobbins does the main spin.

Spinning frames does the same work as the old spinning wheel.

 


Twisting

After the yarn is spun it heads for the twister that plies it together.

Two ply and three ply are the most common but we can ply up to eight strands.

If we spin in one direction we always twist in the opposite direction.

 


Coning

We have two types of coning machines but both do exactly the same thing.

They transfer or wind the yarn off machine bobbins onto a tapered paper cone.

Most coned yarn is for weaving.

 


Reeling

From the twister the plied yarn goes to the reeling machine, which winds the yarn off the twister bobbin onto the reel.

We wind the yarn off until we have a 4 oz. skein or hank.

The yarn is cut and each skein is tied three places around itself with the ends tied together.

From there is goes to the dye house to be dyed or scoured.

 


Packaging

All finished yarn ends up here.

Each hank is inspected and hand twisted into a butterfly skein and then pressed into bundles.


Labelling

The end of each skein is labeled to give all pertinent information.

Next our finished product goes to the warehouse or to shipping.

 


Shipping

Canada Post does most of our shipping.

All parcels are put in a poly bag and double wrapped in paper or packed in a jute bag.

Mail is picked up every day by 4:00pm with most orders leaving within 24 hours of receipt.

 


Yarn Shop

We have a small yarn shop at our mill which showcases all of the sizes and colors we produce, as well as a few knitting accessories.

Shop hours are Monday – Friday, 8:00am to 5:00pm Atlantic Time, except for holidays.

 


Environmentally Friendly

All wastewater from the dye house is treated before returning back to the land.

The water is also cooled to surrounding conditions.

We are committed to the environment.

 


Our Staff

Our workforce is just one big happy family.

We all pride ourselves in quality and workmanship.

 If you are ever close to Briggs & Little, please stop in for a tour of our facility.

All are welcome and yes we will talk to you.