Since 1837 when Abraham Moon founded the company, bales of raw Wool have been arriving at our factory to begin the process of creating beautiful fabrics. We are one of the last mills in the UK who continue to complete all processes on one site - dyeing, blending, carding, spinning, weaving and finishing.
The story begins...
Raw wool is delivered to our site in Guiseley. Our Merino Lambswool is predominantly from South Africa and our Shetland quality Pure New Wool is from New Zealand. To make our supreme quality fabrics we need the best quality raw material, so the wool that arrives at our site is either scoured or broken tops (cleaned and combed) to ensure there is less than 0.3% impurities within the fleeces.
The Dye House - Color to Die For?
The raw wool then goes to the Dye House, to be dyed using precise (and secret) combinations of dye, pressure, temperature and time. We currently can dye our wool in over 500 different shades and colors and within the Dye House we keep a library or shade standards and recipes to ensure we have continuity of each color year after year. This is a highly skilled process that is essential to creating beautiful yarns.
Blending - the Art of Creating Beautiful, Rich Color
The secret to creating beautifully rich color is in the blend. Up to 7 different colored wools can go into the recipe for each yarn to create the finished color. This is what gives Tweeds, Heathers and Plaids their uniquely rich texture.
Carding - alignment and uniformity
Essential in producing soft, smooth fabrics. The blended wool lubricated with a little water and oil is run through a series of combed rollers that first tease the fibers one way and then the other. The process also rids the wool of any last impurities ensuring the finished fabrics are smooth and soft to the touch.
Spinning the Yarn
The rich web of colored wool is then spun into a huge range of amazing yarns. Our 6 frames draw out the wool and put a precise number of twists per inch into the wool, resulting in a fine but strong thread ideal for fabrics used in furnishings and clothing. The yarn is then wound onto cones going through a check to ensure continuity of thickness of the yarn. Any faults are cut out of the thread and the ends thermally joined together (not knotted as in days gone by) leaving a yarn that will weave into smooth fabrics. The cones, holding up to 16,000m of yarn are then ready to be sent to warping and weaving.
The cones of yarn are wound over a drum (known as a swift or mill) and a warp (the lengthwise threads) is made for weaving. This can be a complicated process depending on the intricacy of the pattern in the finished fabric. Precise lengths of different colored yarn may be required in a single vertical thread and up to 2000 threads may be required for a width of fabric. These have to all be held in an exact order to ensure accurate and uniform patterns and designs.
This is where many different yarns are woven together in intricate weaves to create stunning fabrics. Our mill uses automatic Rapier looms, to take the weft (horizontal thread) across the warp threads, and they are capable of weaving 30,000m of cloth per week.
Scouring, Milling and Drying
Now we are almost there - newly woven fabric is now scoured (washed), milled and dried. The oils that were used to aid manufacture of the fabric are removed and where fire retardants and water resist treatments are padded onto the fabric.
This is when the wonderful and luxurious "feel" (or "handle" as we call it) of these fabrics starts to become apparent.
The final step in the process - each length of fabric is finished by careful pressing, using steam and specialised equipment to remove any shrinkage and complete the process of creating stunning fabrics, that look and feel rich and luxurious.
Quality from Start to Finish
Quality starts on the farm. Sheep reared on a different diet can affect the quality, so we buy our Wool from proven sources. The water we use throughout the mill is extremely pure and is pumped from boreholes 800feet below Guiseley. Our processes from dye house to finishing ensure quality and continuity and each inch of fabric is inspected at three stages in the manufacturing process - when it comes off the loom, after finishing and again before it leaves the factory. With Moon you can be sure that you get nothing less than 100% wool.
Kind to the Environment
Wool is a sustainable commodity and we take the responsibility of having the least impact on our environment as we possibly can.
Waste fabric is collected and sold on to other industries to be used in things like mattress fillings or recycled.
We adhere to strict regulations to the quantities of water used through the mill and all waste outputs are continuously and electronically monitored.