At The Citizenry, we make it a goal to know our products in and out. “How are those dyes made?” “What type of wood is that?” “How about that leather - where's it from?” When it comes to our products, we leave no stone unturned.
Our trip to Ireland took this transparency to the next level. One day we’re in the Mourne Mountains, talking shop with Mario, the weaver behind our tweed pillows. The very next day, we’re in Donegal, touring the mill where the yarn for the pillows is made.
During our visit with Mario, we had told him about our plans to drive along the Wild Atlantic Way in Donegal, and the next thing you know, he’s on the phone with Chris, the manager of the yarn mill, setting up a time for us to stop by. Needless to say, we were thrilled to have a chance to see how this incredible material is created.
And of course, we made sure to take good notes and lots of pictures so we could share with all of you. So without further ado…
Right when we walked in, we were greeted by a massive bolster of freshly dyed yarn that was sitting out to dry. Its sheer size made you stop in your tracks – don’t think we’d ever seen a bundle of yarn that big. Naturally, we couldn't help ourselves from daydreaming about all the pillows and throws we could make with that rich navy hue.
From there, Chris took us to the mixing rooms. It’s here where they combine different wool colors to create the iconic flecked Donegal yarn. Following different “recipes” for each yarn variation, they pick a base color and mix in accents, creating a multicolor masterpiece.
Now, for the the fun part. In one room, they gather the different wool colors, funnel them through a vent, and then poof!, they’re spit out into the “Willy Wonka room” where they’re mixed together in a swirling, twirling air vacuum. We got the biggest kick out of seeing the wool tufts fly around like crazy.
Then, upstairs to the carding area. Thousands of gears, wheels, knobs all work together to take the wool from tangled heaps to thin ribbons of fiber. We learned the machine's ins and outs from one of the workers, Bernard – even after 40 years of experience in the industry, he still lights up when talking about how the machine works its magic.
Last up, the spinning floor. We walked through the aisles of spinning machines, just mesmerized by the delicate fibers being twisted into yarn and wrapped around spools. It was pretty amazing to watch these wheels rhythmically spinning together, transforming the fine fibers into strong, durable threads of yarn.
From here, the spools of yarn are then packed up and shipped off to be woven into sweaters, blankets, scarves, and in our case, pillows.
Click HERE to see how we teamed up with a third-generation weaver to transform this iconic material into a collection of modern tweed pillows.