Soaring Heart Road Trip: Wool Gatherer

by Eoin Hudson November 07, 2012 0 Comments

Last week, I, along with two of my colleagues and Soaring Heart's owner (Mike), took a three day road trip down to sunny California. Why? So we could see how the sausage is made so to speak, and so we could tell you about it.

We were visiting one of our suppliers, Wool Gatherer. They are the wonderful people who collect, card, and process all of our wool, which we use in our organic mattress, organic futons, organic shikibutons, and organic bedding (yeah, we use it a lot).

We throw around the term, Eco-Wool quite a bit here, for the aforementioned reasons. Well, Nathan - the guy who owns Wool Gatherer - he invented it. "How?" you may ask; I wondered, too...

According to Nathan, it was his background in architecture that helped him design Eco-Wool to be so strong and resilient. Just as an architect uses different materials to build the foundation, structure, and support in a house, Nathan built his wool batting using different types of wool from different breeds of sheep. As a result, he created the cleanest and longest-lasting wool we have ever found. Lesson from this? Learn everything you can.

Now I just glossed over a little word up there, batting. It’s what we’re really talking about when we talk about wool here at SH. Essentially, batting is multiple sheets of thin, carded wool layered on top of each other to make a thick, strong, and usable material. The technology for making batting hasn't changed since it was first invented, which is good, because Wool Gatherer's equipment is about as old.

In a nutshell, this is how carding works: the wool is fed into a large hopper which drops a certain amount of wool onto a conveyor belt at a time. 

The wool is then grabbed by all these little wire talons and goes for a ride around the wheels, getting separated, pulled apart, and then meshed back together (I'm simplifying). Most places stop here, but at Wool Gatherer, this happens three times. 

Each time it is made finer and finer until it finally flows down in sheets to make the Eco-Wool batting. 

It has given me new appreciation for the great materials we use, and the amazing people who make them. It really is quite refreshing to work for a company that asks—no, insists that all its employees visit the people who make it possible to produce our organic mattresses.


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Eoin Hudson
Eoin Hudson