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Blending is the step between The Dye House and Carding. It's the process of ensuring the fibre mix matches the shade card. During the blending process, fibres pass through opening machines to separate the fibre staples and remove any dirt and debris. Lubricants are added via an atomiser; these facilitate fibre movement without causing any damage to the delicate fibres.

Blending is the muckiest part of the process and it takes most of the day. It takes up to 8 hours to blend a batch of 500 kilos.

A terrifying, but beautiful piece of machinery

Prior to entering the fearnaught picker machine, the fibre enters a mixing chamber. We didn’t manage to document this part of the process because they are essentially huge rooms that the fibres swirl around in.

Once they’ve been thoroughly mixed, the fibres are pneumatically moved to the fearnaught picker machine where a final blending and opening is carried out. The fearnaught is as terrifying as it looks! Nothing stands a chance against it. Nonetheless, it’s an amazing and quite beautiful piece of machinery.

Testing before bulk production

Some test blends are put through the sampling carding machine. This allows us to see the recipe is correct, i.e. if the colour matches the shade card.

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Rosie Sugden