Dyeing and Blending

 
 
Dyer

If wool was to be dyed before spinning, this would take place after cleaning, in the dyehouse. The wet wool was placed in large dye vats containing boiling water and dyestuffs, some of which were imported, others were grown locally. The wool was then dried outside or in a fire stove, a heated stone building with slatted staging. Mechanical driers have take over this labour intensive job.

A factory dyehouse

Some raw materials for dyestuffs were imported and some were grown locally. Indigo came from Keynsham. Natural dyes have been superseded by synthetic dyes.

Blender

Working in the blend room, the blender spread out layers of well opened, dyed fleece. Several colours may need to be mixed to produce one shade. A machine called locally a Fearnaught or Tucker was used to mix and blend the fibres. Oil was sprinkled onto the layers before blending. Olive oil, known as Gallipoli oil, from the Mediterranean was imported from Bristol. Later, cheaper oils were substituted such as whale oil or vegetable oil.