This is one of two drafting machines in the Border Mill. One is used to draft alpaca fleece, whilst the other drafts wool. Once fleece has been sorted, washed and carded, it is ready for drafting. This process turns slivers of carded fleece into rovings that can be spun.
Although several slivers can be combined for drafting, this does not increase the weight of the final roving. Drafting is a means of further teasing out the fibre so that the roving is suitable for spinning and strong enough to withstand the process. Fibres can also be blended during both the carding and drafting process.
Although the drafting machines are fully automated – they still need to be watched to make sure the slivers don’t run out or that the rovings don’t wrap around any part of the machine. If this happens, it can disrupt production and even damage the machine.
Click here for a short video of the process – Pin-drafting-machine-The-Border-Mill
All photographs and video taken by a member of the F2F team and used with permission of The Border Mill.