The term finishing summarises a multitude of processes, including washing, shrinking, brushing, fringing and decating. Every knitted or woven item we live with has undergone some finishing processes. It’s these finishing touches that make the product perfect for its intended use. We work with Schofield Dyers and Finishers in the Scottish borders. They deal with a wide variety of fabrics and are great at achieving just the right finish for our products.
The first thing that happens to our scarves, throws and wraps after arrival at the finishers is the fringing. This is done on a fascinating piece of machinery which anyone who’s ever fringed by hand will be very jealous of. After fringing it’s on to the scouring, or washing. Our tweeds go there straight away as they don’t have any fringes. The scouring happens in various stages and the settings depend on the required outcome. Here is a photo of Davy showing the fabric in the roller scour, a massive ‘washing machine’ that spins the fabric around in a continuous loop.
If the fabric needs to be shrunk to a certain width, it goes into the milling process. Otherwise it’s on to the drying. This involves spreading the fabric out on tenter hooks (yes, that’s where the saying comes from!) and then feeding it into a drying chamber.
After that it’s time for the dry finishing, where once more the processes will depend on the final product. Scarves and throws are usually brushed, which means some of the wool fibres are raised with large brushes to create a soft and fluffy surface. Some materials are still raised with teasel heads, which are grown especially for that purpose. Most of our tweeds are cropped and then decatised, or pressed, at a high temperature. This gives them the smooth finish and set quality which ensures that garments retain their shape even after years of wear.