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25300 - University of Wyoming
February 1st, 2022
The University of Wyoming's heritage sheep flock located in Laramie, Wyoming is comprised of 300 Rambouillet ewes. The growing flock of fine wool ewes provides all the necessary fiber for the Wool Initiative Blanket Project.
Shearing is done by an experienced group of professionals that ensure the animals are cared for and treated properly. Once the fleece comes off the sheep, usually ranging from 8.0 - 12.0 pounds, it is taken back to the wool handling room. An associated barcode matching the ewe's Electronic Identification Number (EID) is placed with the fleece and is later scanned once the wool is weighed and sorted. Fleeces are sorted on things like fiber strength and fiber diameter, two very important aspects to creating quality yarn later in the process. All of the wool is put into the wool press and is baled for transportation to the mill.
In 2022, the Laramie Research and Extension Center (LREC) based flock obtained the American Wool Assurance (AWA) Level III - Certified Status. The University of Wyoming was the first flock in the United States to obtain this certificate. To learn more about AWA or to look up the flock's certification, click on the AWA logo above.
A6 - Mountain Meadow Wool Mill
May 3rd, 2022
First-Stage Processing consists of three different stages: scouring, carding and combing. First-Stage Processing begins as raw wool (arriving at the mill in a bale) and ends as a long sliver (pronounced sly-ver) of fibers (called Top) ready to be spun into yarn.
Scouring is the process of cleaning raw wool with water and a little bit of biodegradable detergent to take out the dirt lanolin (a natural oil produced by sheep). After scouring, carding begins to untangle and aligns all of the wool fibers in the same direction. The final stage is combing which helps remove the vegetable matter and short fibers. The final result is combed top, ready to be dyed and spun into yarn.
B4 - Mountain Meadow Wool Mill
At Mountain Meadow Wool, two artisan dyeing processes are used. Large quantities of wool are dyed in the combed top form (shown in the video) and small quantities of wool are dyed in the yarn form. Both of these processes are done by hand, which is why you can sometimes see a bit of variability within the colors of your blanket. The white on your blanket is undyed wool (the color of the sheep), the gold is made through the combed top dying process and is the brown in the blanket is dyed in the yarn form.
June 22nd, 2022
C3 - Mountain Meadow Wool Mill
July 5th, 2022
The spinning process is what turns the combed top into yarn. This is done on a large spinning frame where 112 separate spindles can be spun at once. This process is the most time consuming, as it takes about 2 hours to set up each side before it can spin the yarn. Once this process is complete, knitting can begin.
E45 - Mountain Meadow Wool Mill
The knitting process takes place on a very intricate machine. 1,000 needles bring the correct color of wool yarn into place and knits together the beautiful Wyoming Gold blanket. The whole knitting process takes about 2 hours. Following the completion of the blanket, the assigned leather patch made by Range Leather in Laramie, Wyoming is sewn on and the blanket is shipped back to Laramie and packaged just for you!
August 6th, 2022
from all of us at Wyoming Wool Initiative
for all you do to support us!
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