R. Gledhill Ltd, Woollen Yarn Spinners

By Audie on 8th October, 2015


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The windows of our bespoke shop and our haberdashery have been transformed thank to R. Gledhill, the woollen yarn spinners. As well as supplying us with six bags of wool for our windows, they also supplied all the wonderful wool and yarn displayed within one of the barns at Sheep on the Row. Peter Gledhill and his daughter Ann were kind enough to be on hand in the barn to talk to everybody about the production of woollen spun yarns; something their family business has been doing successfully since 1936.

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Peter Gledhill and his daughter Ann.

A family run business, R. Gledhill was founded in 1936 by Ronald Gledhill. Their Pingle Mill is situated in the village of Delph on the Yorkshire border, where textile manufacturing has been carried out since 1777.

Quality raw wool from all over the world is delivered to their mill in Delph. They dye the fibre in its natural state or when it has been spun into yarn or woven into cloth. This is done in their Dye House, which contains an infinite palette of colour standards and recipes to ensure they keep the continuity of each colour year on year.

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The fibres can be felted or matted from dyeing, so to open and prepare them they are teased out over a series of spiked rollers.  The fibres are then blended, the locks of wool are are opened up and different qualities and colours can be mixed. A special spinning oil water mix is added which  helps the wool fibres slide together through processing. These mixtures of different colours and fibres give the yarn their unique texture.

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 15.15.02After teasing and blending, the wool is fed into a hopper and from there it goes into a carding machine, and any unorganized clumps of fibre are locked and aligned with each other. This converts continuous web fibres into individual ribbons known as roving.

Rovings are then converted into yarn by spinning, the thickness of the yarn is determined by drawing the rovings out to a certain degree and a precise number of twists per inch are put into the wool, resulting in a fine but strong thread ideal for fabrics used in clothing.

For more information about R. Gledhill click here.

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