Our wool comes from places like New Zealand, as well as Australia, South Africa, and South America, where accredited farms are audited to ensure that they meet our high standards. We partner with the New Zealand Merino Company - which developed ZQ wool to ensure environmental, social, and economic sustainability while safeguarding animal welfare - to bring you ethically sourced wool.
We believe the best fibre comes from happy, healthy sheep. ZQ sheep enjoy five simple freedoms:
1. Freedom from discomfort and inadequate shelter
2. Freedom from thirst, hunger, and malnutrition
3. Freedom from significant injury and disease
4. Freedom from unnecessary pain or distress
5. Freedom to display normal patterns of behaviour
The best wool starts with the best growers, and the ZQ-accredited growers we work with are passionate about their trade, working hard to look after their sheep and their land. We operate under long-term contracts with these growers, offering them assured future planning and income whilst providing us with a stable source of high-quality Merino wool.
As part of our philosophy to make more sustainable clothing using ethically sourced wool, we collaborate with our partners at ZQ Merino to ensure manufacturers, subcontractors and factories are trained in best practices and audited annually to achieve our mutual goals.
How Merino wool is prepared for our knitting mills:
Unlike other animals, most sheep are unable to shed their coats, so shearing their wool is essential for their health wellbeing. Each sheep gets a haircut annually, with one fleece able to supply wool for 40 pairs of socks, After the sheep are sheared, the fleece is then washed and cleaned.
The fleece coming straight off the sheep’s back is full of lanolin, which is removed in the cleaning process. That lanolin doesn't go to waste - it is a popular ingredient for skincare, and can also be repurposed for kiln fuel.
After mixing and washing the wool, fibres are smoothed out and are aligned to be parallel. Carding also introduces a small amount of twist - creating what’s called a wool sliver.
Clean wool is combed into “top.” That’s the long fluffy fibres that are left after the short ones are combed out - leaving super soft, beautiful wool. The clean wool is blended again and aligned before spinning.
Turning the lofty slivers of wool top into soft, strong, yarn takes a lot of specialized machines. To get the right consistency wool top is blended multiple times. We take a naturally varied fibre and create consistency and evenness. Fibres are gently combed apart. Next, a series of machines compacts and pulls the fibres into yarn. Twist is added to hold the yarn together and provide strength. Finally, the yarn is wound onto a cone and shipped to our knitting mills. A standard cone of yarn has almost 40 kilometres of yarn.