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Behind the Scenes: Commercial Dyeing

Several years ago we had the opportunity to visit our
suppliers in England. While many of our customers are well versed in the dye
process, I thought it would be fun to share some of our photos of the
commercial dyeing process.

The picture below shows the bales of combed top, ready to be
opened and sent to the dye house. These bales are between 650 – 1100 lb of
combed top.

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Within each bale are 10 kg, approximately 22 lbs, dye bumps baled under pressure.

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This massive dye vessel dyes 9 bumps at a time. This is
would be approximately 200 lb of wool. Once the top is clamped down on the base
of the vessel, water and dye is injected under pressure to insure that the dye
reaches all the wool.

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The freshly dyed wet bumps are then sent through a radio
frequency dryer to be dried. The bumps are then opened and are re-combed.

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These bumps are then press packed into approximately 600
lb bales ready for shipping to our warehouse. Here is a
short video clip of us unpacking a bale of dyed wool. It gives you an idea of the
amount of pressure applied to these packed bales!

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The dyes used for Ashland Bay’s dyed top meet the
international Oekotex standards; types I and II. You might want to
visit the Oeko-Tex website for
a full explanation of their standards. The dye house
also follows strict environmental code. The British equivalent to EPA is
located just below the mill and they check on a regular basis!