Sister Agnes' wool originally came from sheep on the banks of the River Moy,
but most Irish wool is too coarse and scratchy in texture, due to our Wild Atlantic climate. Irish wool is more suited for the production of carpets.
Here in Foxford, we mostly use wool from Australia and New Zealand - it's high quality gives a soft luxurious feel to the finished woven products we produce here.
What we use
Irish Sheep are more often bread for meat, while their wool is a secondary product due to its courser finish. The wool is 26mm thick. In comparison merino fleece fibers could as fine as 18mm in diameter.
Most of the wool used in our mill is Australian Lambswool. Australian sheep are bred specifically for their fine fleece. The wool is breathable & absorbs moisture. Making it a versatile material for both summer & winter.
This fine, downy material is obtained from Cashmere Goats and other types of goat commonly located around Asia. Cashmere is stronger, finer & lighter compared to traditional sheep's wool with better insulating qualities.
The Angora Goat's coat is made of this silky material. Mohair is a durable material with a lustrous sheen and soft feel. It responds well to colourful dyes.
After we source our wool from Australia and New Zealand, the wool is then processed through dying and spinning.
This is mainly done in the UK, Australia and New Zealand. We then receive spools of the wool ready to weave.This is where our master crafts people take over and start weaving the amazing throws and scarves.
In creating our throws, scarves and upholstery fabric, there are many stages in production.
We currently have approximately 30 craftspeople working in different areas of production such as warping, weaving, finishing and warehouse.
We have 11 looms in operation in our weaving shed.
We offer a guided tour of our factory and weaving shed
See our Mill as it is run today, where masters craftspeople create contemporary products that we are proud to deliver all over the world.
Foxford is steeped in history and we are known throughout the world for our luxurious woollen products.
The weaving process begins in our designers studio where the warp plan is developed.
The warp consists of threads which run vertically from the top to the bottom of the cloth.
The number of threads to be wound on to the warp beam (which is approx 180cm wide) depends on the thickness of the yarn and the weight and width of the cloth required.
Some cloths can have up to 2500 threads making up the warp. When the required metres of yarn are wound on to the warp beam it is then taken to the loom for weaving.
Once on the loom, the weft yarn is introduced. The weft yarn is the thread that runs at right angles across the warp yarns.
It is in the weaving that the pattern of the cloth emerges, the combination of the colours in the warp and the weft plan, as determined by Foxford’s designers.
When cloth has been woven, its appearance and texture is rough. There are many processes involved in transforming the cloth into a luxurious finished product, many of which have remained unchanged for hundreds of years.
Foxford uses only the softest River Moy water to scour our fabric, ensuring that it is gently restored to its natural, super-soft state. Scouring removes the oil applied to protect the fibre during the manufacturing processes, while milling shrinks and thickens the fabric.
Depending on the end use of the fabric, further finishing processes are carried out, such as cropping, raising and pressing, before final inspection. Whether it’s a throw, scarf, accessory or a cloth, every piece is made to last and passes through many hands during the production process, completed from start to finish here in Foxford Woollen Mills at Foxford, Co Mayo in the West of Ireland.