ABOVE: Columbia Wrap in Quail and Pearl Gray. Made with 2 ply yarn and unspun wool called roving.

Imperial wool fashion starts when our expert shearers arrive on the ranch. They use electric shears and remove the fleece in one piece. Our experts can remove a fleece in less than 5 minutes. Shearing takes place in the historic shearing shed located at the ranch headquarters.

 

Each individual fleece is carefully inspected on a skirting table to classify the raw wool according to the diameter (fineness) and length of the fibers. Unusually dirty wool located on the belly or around the britch is removed from the fleece. This skirting procedure prepares the fleece for custom milling.

 

The wool is washed in hot water and a mild detergent, removing grease, vegetable matter and dirt from the raw wool. The fleece moves through a series of cleaning tubs, followed by clean water rinses and is then dried.

It is standard procedure when wool is commercially processed for use, to utilize harsh chemicals or acids during the scouring stage to rid the wool of all vegetable matter or debris. When wool is prepared at home by the handspinner or "custom milled" as our wool is, no harsh chemicals are used. These methods are more earth friendly, and leave the wool soft. You may find a small amount of vegetable matter remaining in the fiber, which can be picked out during final use (e.g. during knitting).

 

Our wool is dyed "in the locks" to our very own set of color specifications. This means it is dyed before it is carded.

 

A system of wire rollers straighten out the fibers to prepare it to be spun. It is also at this point that our various dyed fibers are blended to create the final Imperial Stock Ranch color palette. The untangled wool fibers lie parallel and form a fine web of continuous strips or "slivers." Carded, unspun wool is referred to as roving. Roving is used in numerous Imperial Stock Ranch garments.

 

The spinning process takes the roving and twists in into thread or yarn. Twisting wool strands increases the strength of the yarn and creates the continuous unbroken yarn necessary for weaving or knitting into cloth. The additional step of plying is twisting multiple strands of spun thread or yarn together, to create 2-ply or 3-ply yarns.

 

STEPS ONE -TWO OCCUR AT THE IMPERIAL STOCK RANCH.

STEPS THREE - SIX TAKE PLACE AT A SMALL WOOLEN MILL THAT CUSTOM PROCESSES OUR WOOL.