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The Making of a Military Blanket

raw wool being put into the dye tankRAW WOOL We begin our process with raw wool that is brought to us washed and packed in bales weighing between 600 to 900 pounds. The majority of the wool used in our mill is sourced domestically, often coming to us from Montana or Idaho. DYEING We add color to the wool in its natural form. We dye raw wool so that we can spin colored yarn to be utilized in our multi-colored designs.CARDING Equipment combs the wool through a series of barrels wrapped with wire bristles. The bristles comb the wool, working to align the strands of fiber. The last barrel’s fine bristles are shaved to create a sheet of wool. That sheet is then split into ribbons that will be fed through two rollers, applying pressure and motion. The ribbons are rolled into loose strands called roving – the first stage of yarn.carding gold wool
spinning gold woolen yarnSPINNING The rolls of roving are transferred then to a spinning frame. Spinning wool helps bind the individual strands of fiber together, creating a strong, fine thread called yarn. This finished yarn will go through one more step before it’s woven into fabric.CONING The last step of yarn production is coning. Should roving break when being spun, the strand is reconnected by splicing the threads. In coning, the equipment can find these splices and cut the yarn. A team member then knots the thread and begins again. This extra process provides a level of quality to the yarn, while also transferring it to the proper equipment of our weave shop.cones of gold yarn
west point blanket on the loomWARPING & WEAVING Woven yardage has two levels of yarn – the warp, and the weft. The warp is a series of threads, one next to another and on average 2,500 across. It acts as the foundation of the fabric in which the second yarn – the weft – is woven. The colors used in the warp can also help alter the design. When a warp beam is complete, it’s transferred to a loom. Each warp yarn is threaded through the needles of the harness. The harness will raise and lower warp threads creating a gap for the weft to be inserted through.
BURLING Our burling department runs the fabric off the beams and over a backlight looking for imperfections or irregularities. Every yard of material woven is inspected. Using scissors and a pair of tweezers, corrections are made. FULLING We intentionally shrink the material. Using hot water to pull air from the core of the fiber, and agitation to encourage the wool to bind in on itself, we’re able to create a denser, fuller fabric. We then wash the yardage, using detergents to soften the wool itself.west point in the burling range going through inspection of irregularities or flaws
west point blanket on the napperNAPPING Brushing over the surface of woven material helps soften the fabric, giving loft to the fiber, but it also helps increase the finished blanket’s ability to insulate. As we raise the wool from the surface of the weave, we’re creating a small cloud or pocket in which your body warmth can be captured.
CUT / SEW / SILK SCREENING In our final steps, the material is cut to individual sized units, edges are finished and labels added. This is also the area that will differentiate first and second quality goods.screen printing the west point blanket
folding the west point blanketSHOP the Foot Soldier Blanket - gray/gold/black