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.