Meridian Mill House’s Custom Wool Production Process

by | May 7, 2024 | Yarn

As you source materials for your next project, you might find yourself wondering, “how is yarn produced?” Artists have been making yarn for over 20,000 years and the process is both interesting and simple. Join us below as we walk through each step of the wool yarn manufacturing process and consider why natural yarn might be the right choice for you.

What Is Wool Yarn Made From?

Many crafters love using wool yarn because of its durability, insulation, and longevity. But the best part of wool yarn is that it’s 100% natural, renewable and biodegradable. Wool is made from the fleece that grows on sheep all year long – it contains a protein called keratin, the same protein found in human hair. Wool yarn is a natural yarn that is void of any synthetic fibers, making it hypoallergenic and comfortable.

While both natural and synthetic fibers have their own benefits, Meridian Mill House is proud to be a wholesale yarn manufacturer of predominantly natural fibers.

How Is Wool Yarn Made & Produced?

Ever ask yourself, “how is yarn made?” At Meridian Mill House, our yarn manufacturing process ends with a wool yarn that our customers love using for sweaters, blankets, rugs and more! Keep reading to understand the step by step process for our wool yarn that is manufactured fully in the United States.

Step 1: Shearing Wool Off Of Sheep

The wool yarn manufacturing process begins on a sheep farm. As winter comes to an end and before the spring lambing season begins, farmers begin to shear their sheep by gently using an electric tool to remove the animal’s fleece in one big piece. Shearing does not harm the animal – it prepares them for warmer temperatures to come and prevents their fleece from overgrowing. Each year, a single sheep can provide just under 10 pounds of wool, which is 10+ metres of fabric!

Animal welfare and environmental sustainability are major concerns within the wool industry. The Responsible Wool Standard ensures that wool production meets certain ethical and environmental criteria, providing consumers with assurance that the wool products they purchase are produced responsibly. Meridian Mill House is proud to provide our customers with Responsible Wool Standard-certified wool yarn, ensuring a sustainable future for the wool industry!

Step 2: Cleaning, Carding & Combing The Wool

Once the wool is removed from the sheep, it is cleaned, carded and combed at our partner facility in South Carolina. Washing the wool removes natural oils, dirt, and other contaminants so it is ready to be processed. Next, the wool carding process ensures the fibers are untangled and aligned in the same direction. Finally, combing the wool removes short fibers and any remaining contaminates resulting in a combed top.

Step 3: Drafting & Roving Fibers Into Fine Yarn

Once the wool is clean, detangled, and formed into top sliver, it is purchased and brought to our facility in Ranlo, NC. There the order is created and the tops are ready for drafting, roving, and spinning into fine yarn. The fibers are drafted down to a lower per unit length – using 3 spinning processes. Roving allows fibers to be further drafted into even finer yarns. If the yarn does not need to be drafted, it will go directly to the next step, spinning!

Step 4: Spinning & Twisting Fibers Into Yarn

Now the fibers undergo spinning and twisting. In the spinning process, the roving is drawn down to the correct size and the revolving spindles impart twist to hold the fibers together in the single yarn. In the process of twisting, we put the required number of plies together and impart twist in the opposite direction of the spinning twist. Together, these processes create a yarn that is balanced and usable for our customers.

Step 5: Setting Yarn With Steam

Our wool yarn isn’t finished yet! After the spinning process, we condition our yarn with steam, which sets the twist. This makes our yarn more user-friendly and reduces shrinkage during the hand-dying process.

Step 6: Winding Yarn Into A Skein

Finally, we wind our yarn into a skein so that it is ready for our valued customers. Our yarn is sectioned into a set number of yards, tied with four dye ties, and grouped into skeins of ten. Now the yarn is in our facility, ready to be shipped out for your next project.

The Benefits Of Using Natural Yarn

Whether you are looking to make a sweater, rug, or wall hanging – wool yarn is an excellent choice for your upcoming craft. Wool protects sheep from the harsh elements of winter weather and then, through the yarn manufacturing process, can serve a second purpose for you and your loved ones. Here are a few of the top benefits of using wool yarn:

Durability – Your wool yarn project will be durable. Wool can be stretched up to 50% when wet and 30% when dry, but it will always go back to its original shape when released. The elasticity of natural yarn means you won’t ruin your projects by stretching them out.

Staying Warm And Cool – Wool is an excellent thermal insulator. Your wool yarn creations will keep you warm in cold temperatures and comfortable in warmer weather. Wool yarn traps pockets of still air, insulating your skin from the cold and keeping you warm. In contrast, wool can keep you cool by transporting heat away from the skin, allowing moisture vapor to escape and evaporate.

Odor Resistant – After spending countless hours on a project, the last thing you want is for it to pick up an unfortunate smell. Wool can naturally absorb large amounts of water vapor, keeping the skin drier and preventing any build-up of sweat and other smells.

Custom All-Natural Wool Yarns

If you’re looking for American-made brands, Meridian Mill House has you covered. Order your custom all-natural wool yarns from our Yarn Shop today! When you order from our store, you can rest assured that your product was responsibly sourced fully in the United States. Each order takes just 1-3 business days from the time yarn is picked, packed, and shipped. Start dreaming of your next project with Meridian Mill House now.

Hannah Everhart


Latest Articles

Rodanthe, Happy Valley and Shaniko Wool Company

Rodanthe, Happy Valley and Shaniko Wool Company

Instead of an employee this month, I am introducing our Shaniko wool yarns and the genius behind Shaniko Wool Company(TM) – Jeanne Carver. Without Jeanne we wouldn’t have our perennial line of yarns -- Rodanthe and Happy Valley. Jeanne lives on a ranch in Oregon that...

Weaving Yarn: Types, Characteristics, and Applications

Weaving Yarn: Types, Characteristics, and Applications

Whether you're a seasoned weaver or new to the craft, this guide will help you understand all the important details regarding weaving yarn. From the different types of weaving yarns available to the many ways they can be used, you will walk away with a newfound...

Advantages of Natural Wool Fiber

Advantages of Natural Wool Fiber

If you are new to purchasing yarn, you may wonder whether to buy man-made or natural undyed yarn. At Meridian Mill House, we are advocates for the beauty and versatility of natural fiber yarn. Not only are natural fiber materials attractive and highly workable, but...