Ulvangs Value Chain
Do you know what happened to the wool in your wool garment?
Wool has been used in textiles for thousands of years, all the way back to the Viking Age and most likely even before that too. In Norway we have strong traditions with wool. It’s not that long since farmers had their own sheep and made their own clothing from the wool.
Wool is a natural and amazing fiber that comes from animals like sheep, goat and alpaca. The unique characteristics of wool has been tried recreated in synthetic fabrics without any luck. Making good textiles from wool is a long process compared to synthetic fibers. We work continuously with controlling our value chain to secure the best possible quality and control.
Usually the sheep is sheared once every year, in the summer when the weather is warm. First the wool that is rough and teared is trimmed away, so it doesn’t mix with the finer wool. The rest of the wool is cut to a fleece with the finest wool. It is professional shearer that do the job, and it’s done with an electric clipper. The shearing is done in the most gentle and effective way. A professional shearer can shear as many as 300 sheep in a day.
After the sheep is sheared, the wool is sent to a sorting station. The wool is sorted after quality, type and color. We choose the best qualities with fineness and color to match the characteristics of our different products.
After the wool is sorted, it is washed to remove dirt, hay and other things that we don’t want to have in our products. Some of the lanolin in the wool is removed in this process. Lanolin is a form of wax that the sheep have in their coat, it is water repellent and protects against rain. It’s important to us that you can wash your Ulvang products in the washing machine. Wool fibers are covered in small “shells” that can rope together. In this washing process the shells are grinded down to make the garments machine washable without shrinking.
When the wool is clean and dry it is time to card the wool fibers to prepare for spinning. By using fine “combs” and needles the wool is combed so all the fibers lay in the same direction. The last imperfections in the wool is combed out. This process is crucial to achieve the desired quality and feel.
In this process the fibers are twisted together, making yarn that we can use to knit and weave. Most of our product are knitted. In the spinning process we can add other fibers, for example TENCEL™ which is another natural fiber.
Our materials are knitted on large knitting machines and carefully supervised by qualified personnel. There are many types of knitting machines out there, and different types of knitting gives different characteristics to the materials. We continuously work with improving and developing our products, and we choose the best knitting techniques to achieve the desired function, quality and design for each product.
The material is cut, and the pieces are mounted together by experienced seamstresses. This job is manual and time consuming. After the product is sown together, all the products go through quality control. This ensures no products leaving with deficiencies or flaws. After this, the product look exactly like you will see it in the store shelves.
Wool products are often easy to repair. Contact us to get thread for your product or advise on how to repair. If you’re tired of, or don’t want your wool garment any longer, you can donate it to charity, recycle it or find a new use for it? We love seeing happy dogs in an old Rav Sweater.
If the product is worn out and beyond repairable, it should be recycled via for example Fretex. Your old clothes become new and sustainable products!