We have seen more advancement in knitwear construction, creative design and the innovative use of fibre blends in the past 10 years than we have seen in the last 100 years. While many of us feel a cringe at the thought that China is dominating this area, we can't deny the fact that Australian manufacturing of some textile products has simply become uncompetitive. Unfortunately, knitwear is one sector that has struggled.
During 2015, China purchased more than 80% of Australia's greasy wool. This percentage is likely to increase. As a major supporter of Australian Woolgrowers, China is the single most important buyer of Australian wool since the Second World War. We can no longer ignore their importance in the wool pipeline.
Here at Nundle, we savour Australian Made just as much as anyone else. That is why all our woollen socks are Australian made, our lanolin creams are local, our soaps are local, our clothing protectors are local. These all could have been sourced from international suppliers at lower prices. We also strongly support Infinite Wool, Hedrena Textiles & St Albans who are still making their products within Oz.
With local manufacturing continuing to dwindle, we have had to expand our sourcing avenues. We don't happily buy imported products so we restrict our purchases to Australian companies who use Australian wool only in their product lines. In this way, at least we are supporting the Aussie woolgrowers who desperately need us.
The Nundle Woollen Mill employs 5 dedicated people (who all live within 8 kms of the Mill) on a full time or part time basis which makes us one of the bigger employers in the village. Therefore, a garment or item purchased from our Nundle shop, whether it is Australian made or not, helps to maintain our dedicated team of workers, our historic machines and a great tourist attraction for Nundle.
Pilling or balling is an inherit problem of all knitwear, whether it be synthetic or natural fibres. Why?
During the spinning process, a mixture of short, medium and long fibres are required to create an even single strand of yarn. Once the yarn is made and then converted to a knitted garment, the short fibres that assisted in the spinning process come loose during the intital few wears and form small balls on the main wear areas of the garment.
This balling is not indicative of inferior quality. It is an inevitable consequence of the careful processing of this very fine fibre. Balls can be easily removed by hand or by using a lint remover. You will find that removing the balls in this way, the garment will actually consolidate & soften in handle & touch. Like fine wine, good quality knitwear will improve with age if cared for properly.
Once the balls are removed, they are less likely to reappear. The short fibres that originally created the balls will eventually be eliminated from your garment. You will then enjoy a long life of good wear from your knitted garment.