This first phase of the production chain is extremely important, forming a bridge between nature and manufacturing, and as such commands respect, delicacy and attention to every detail. Water plays a protagonist’s role as the rotating drums prepare this prized raw material for threading: after having washed the freshly-shorn wool, all natural residues and impurities are removed.
The wool, now purified, passes through the combing card, coming out on the other side as a carded ribbon, which will in turn become the spooled thread for weaving. Alternately, the wool is brushed repeatedly using special combs that pull the wool fibers parallel, discarding the shortest fibers. The semi-finished product derived from brushing is called a “top” and its quality is of primary importance because it guarantees the durability of the final fabric.
The “tops” are coupled together, pulled and brushed again until they’ve reached an ideal cleanliness and appropriate diameter. Now it’s time for spinning, which takes place by pulling and twisting the spool. In many cases the threads are paired and spun again in order to create a twisted, more resistant thread. A single metal ring at the end of this process provides a frame during the fundamental phase when a spool of semi-finished material is transformed into valuable thread.
Dyeing is divided into two possible types: yarn dyeing and piece dyeing. With yarn dyeing, either in tops or directly on the thread spool (which requires relatively long times to complete and to dry), we achieve a fabric with more three-dimensional colour and minor variations within the cloth. Piece dyeing, on the other hand, provides a cleaner, more homogenous look. A specialist oversees the dyeing processes, meticulously comparing the final product with samples and finishing the process as soon as the fabric achieves the intensity our designers require.
Weft and warp are the two elementary units that, once woven together, breathe life into the fabric. The warping process needs to be overseen carefully from beginning to end: even the slightest mistake in positioning one among thousands of parallel threads would produce clearly visible defects in the final product. Every single thread and hundreds of thread spools are monitored at the same time by different laser sensors until the warp is wrapped on a gigantic cylinder, known as a “beam.” The interplay of threads creates a beautiful, geometric display, producing the foundation of what will become a complex, vital weave.
The transversal threads that make up the weave have to pass above and below the vertical threads of the warp, according to a precise schema that depends on the kind of pattern and the desired design for the fabric. In modern frames every thread, blown out by a jet of compressed air, passes through a sort of large needle’s eye, and the frame’s digital system makes sure it’s lifted up at the right moment. A broad, solid brush strikes the weft, compacting the weave. In this manner, step-by-step, the fabric and its design take shape under our experts’ watchful eyes. It is an incredibly precise and extraordinarily swift dance, turning thread into fabric in just a few short seconds.
Our expert menders painstakingly seek out defects present in the cloth and correct them by hand: a process that has survived unchanged for centuries. Summer fabrics are put through a delicate, superficial burning process designed to eliminate stray threads, while winter fabrics – after being soaked in hot, soapy water – undergo fulling: an infiltration that softens their shine and lends both consistency and weight. Additional operations that finalise and characterise the fabrics in the finishing phase include continuous stretching on rollers, as well as decatising, during which the fabric is pressed through large cylinders and steamed in order to reduce or swell the threads and highlight the fabric’s design. These final phases transform quality into character: the fabric’s ultimate identity is now clear for all to see and appreciate.