STOCKINGS

treated for the removal of matter collected from plains, mountains, and sheepsheds, by a scouring process in a series of channels in which soapy water circulates. Usually, three baths are given to make the wool white and soft, and it is then squeezed through rope-covered rollers. The wool is still not yet suitable for spinning—many of the locks contain fragments of vegetable matter, such as burrs and thistles, and these must be removed by a process called “carding”. The carding machine not only frees the wool from its parasites, but it also draws out and separates the fibres of a lock in such a manner as to make them parallel.

Furthering the work of the carding machine, and in order to ensure the production of a uniform yarn, it is necessary for all inequalities of fibre to be reduced to a common measure of strength, and to this end the wool is taken to the combing room, where the process of combing has as its object the separation of the long from the short fibres, as these latter would prevent the final thread from being of a regular strength, which strength is achieved by having the fibres all the same length, and of an equal degree of thickness. It is the equalising of the fibres obtained by the combs which enables the division and classification of the wool fibres; the combs also separate those locks which are of curled, short, or long fibre.

From the combing machine, the wool is taken to the “drawing” room, where the thick ribbon of combed wool is made into a “roving” more solid, and of the thickness of the little finger. The machines designed to transform the roving into yarn are various, but the one mainly used for yarns suitable for hose is the mule-spinning frame, which—by persistently and methodically rubbing the fibres one against another—draws out the roving into fine yarn which can be knitted on machines into the desired stocking.

The combination of silk and wool together results in a strong, warm fabric. The term, “wool-lined”, refers to hose having the face of the fabric of silk, rayon or cotton, being plated on wool at the back. Sometimes, such hosiery has a 1 x 1 ribbed top attached, the ribbed fabric having a high recovery value, reverting to its original width after stretching. This style of stocking is especially suitable to accommodate the larger woman.

6

WOOL



Wool is one of the substances to which humanity owes health and well-being, and it is used extensively in all kinds of hosiery.

Because of the fine stocking-texture required, only the best types of wool are used; the machines for knitting stockings are of a fine gauge, and being of a delicate nature, they demand yarns of quality, spun accordingly.

Wool is taken from the living sheep, and each wool fibre retains in itself a little life. A fibre of wool enlarged four hundred times under a microscope has the appearance of the scaly trunk of a palm tree, or a cylinder made up of conical cells fitted one into another. The slightly protruding edges of the scales of the fibre cling to the scales of adjacent fibres. This property can be useful during the actual spinning of wool yarns, but it is not in the best of interests when the wool is wet. Temperature, humidity, electricity, all have their effect on it.

Wool has a natural elasticity which it retains even after constant washing, and even when it has absorbed perspiration. This means that Wool stockings always fit comfortably to the shape of the legs whilst allowing complete freedom of movement. It means also that Wool hose keep their shape and do not wrinkle easily.

A single Wool fibre will stretch to 70% of its length without breaking, and when released it goes back to normal.

Wool separated from the fleece retains sufficient power of resistance to allow it to regain its original form after pressure; elasticity brings it back after tension to its natural length. Wool from all parts of the world is sorted, with the object of separating the hard rams’ wool from the soft wool of the ewe, nature having provided the latter with a particularly soft fleece, against which—on the maternal flank—the tender lambs can press. The fleeces themselves are sorted in accordance with the parts of the animal from which they have been obtained, the fluffy locks of the neck being separated from the matted locks of the back. The sorting process over, the wool—still dirty—is