Good things take time: A Look at Our Weaving Process
Noa blankets are proudly made in Aotearoa, something that was essential to our value system and our business as a whole. Our founders, Whakaawa and Josh Te Kani both come from a line of sheep farmers and shearers and so not only are they familiar with the process, they can also identify a responsible farmer - another must-have within our Noa Blanket Co story.
Our Limitless Range is woven to order. What that means, is that when you purchase your blanket, it is then sent into production where our team creates your tāonga, your piece just for you. Not only does this eliminate any over supply or wastage, it’s a reminder that good things take time.
Here we break down more of our process in detail
Why NZ Wool?
We chose 100% pure New Zealand wool for a number of reasons. Our connection to the fibre personally and also collectively as a country, Aotearoa has a long history interwoven with wool. It’s also a more sustainable option than other fibres which fulfils our desire to tread lightly on this earth.
Each sheep produces enough wool yearly for 8-10 metres of fabric and as a fibre, it naturally neutralises harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by plastics and synthetic fibres; the more wool in a room, the cleaner the air.
We work exclusively with Woolworks to scour all of the New Zealand wool used in our textiles - with their world-leading environmentally conscious approach - aiming to live and work in an environment that is in harmony with nature and a natural fit with Noa Blanket Co values.
Scouring is the part of the process which removes seed and grease from the fibre and historically, this has been harmful to the environment in various ways. From the substantial amount of water required to perform this task and the fact that previously, scouring sites were located near rivers where waste was discharged directly into those waterways. This is no longer the case at Woolworks, where water is processed and reused on site.
Woolworks is also certified under the Responsible Wool Standard, meaning all wool fibres that we use to craft your blankets can be traced back to the farm where they were grown.
After the scour, most of our wool is sent to Te Whanganui a Tara (Wellington) to be spun into yarn. Our supplier exceeds regulatory requirements, particularly when it comes to water - where their wastewater is treated to a level that it can be returned to the aquifer.
The yarn then comes to our mill in Mt Wellington, Tāmaki Makaurau for the next part of the process. The factories that process our wool from sheep through to the final product employ over 300 New Zealanders! We’re proud to support our local farmers and workforce who provide us with a world class fibre to produce world class blankets.
After spinning the yarns, they are then dyed to our specific design palette before being prepared for the loom. To weave fabric on a loom, a thread (called the weft) is passed over and under another set of threads (called the warp). It is this interlacing of threads at right angles to each other that forms cloth. The particular order in which the weft passes over and under the warp will determine the pattern that is woven into the fabric.
In our creative process, we look to our traditional weaving, garments, upholstery and other woven fabrics to produce new patterns. This allows us to incorporate contemporary woven patterns with vibrant colour combinations in the blanket structures.
Our woven fabric then goes through a number of finishing processes - it's washed, dried and milled to a specified texture and feel. It then passes under the expert eye of our experienced artisans who inspect each individual weave, reestablishing and repairing any threads that may be out of place. Then, the fabric heads off to our expert needleworkers who provide our edging options and labelling placement - hence the intentional slowness of the weaving operation.
Our blankets then progress to our distribution warehouse in Tauranga where they are inspected again, steamed, packaged and sent out for their new homes.
Crafting fabrics to this standard is costly because of the time and skill involved in producing the various patterns we choose to tell our stories, but it was important to us to create the highest quality pieces while also supporting our local NZ artisans and farms.
Our Limited Edition pieces follow this same process, however we only ever produce a certain number of each blanket design. For Limitless, our designs will always be available and the only thing that will change is the delivery date.
Limitless was inspired by the desire to live life without limits, to continue to cast our vision and set goals for the future but to remain intentional in our approach. To take every opportunity to stop and commemorate each step on our journey.
Everything from the stories to the design, to the actual making of the blankets reaffirms this notion. Weaving is a slow and deliberate process with careful attention to detail in each step of our craft. It reminds us that the most precious things in life are not fleeting, but thoughtful and long lasting.
We appreciate your patience in getting our Limitless blankets to you, but please know, this is all part of the beauty. Part of the story. We’re so glad to be weaving our story together, with you.