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What is loden, and what is walk?

The­se materi­als are tra­di­tio­nal­ly made from sheep’s wool. They are fel­ted through expo­sure to heat and water. In the case of loden, the source mate­ri­al is a woven fab­ric; in the case of walk, a knit­ted fab­ric is used.

Loden

The production process

To this day, pure new wool is spun into a wool­len yarn befo­re being woven into wool­len cloth. The fab­ric is then refi­ned by repeated­ly adding alpa­ca or cash­me­re
befo­re the resul­ting mate­ri­al is stron­gly com­pres­sed in a ful­ling machi­ne using hot water. This is the heart of the pro­duc­tion pro­cess for the actu­al loden fab­ric. The wet mate­ri­al is kne­a­ded (‘wal­ked’) until it is fel­ted, len­ding it high strength and ide­al ther­mal pro­per­ties; it is also water-repel­lent. The old machi­nes are often the best. The ori­gi­nal Schlad­min­ger loden, a coar­se and extre­me­ly robust mate­ri­al made of Sty­ri­an sheep’s wool, is still made using a ful­ling ham­mer machi­ne dating from 1888.

More than 40 work steps

The pro­duc­tion pro­cess calls for a gre­at deal of know­ledge and expe­ri­ence. As many as 40 work steps are nee­ded – roughe­ning, smoot­hing, war­ping, iro­ning, sprea­ding, pres­sing and many more – until the mate­ri­al has the fami­li­ar qua­li­ty that is required.

Walk materials

The knit­ting mill main­ly pro­du­ces goods of pure new wool, sold by the met­re. The balls of yarn ther­eby crea­ted are pres­sed, moved, for­ced tog­e­ther, com­pres­sed, wate­red and hea­ted as they trans­form into walk. A yarn ball is kne­a­ded for bet­ween 30 minu­tes and 12 hours. Final­ly, to attain the requi­red look, the walk mate­ri­al is flat­te­ned out to dry, pres­sed and steam treated.

Ironing and pressing in walk production

The­se steps are important in obtai­ning a soft walk mate­ri­al appro­pria­te to the modern day, rather than the scratchy mate­ri­al of old. After nap­ping and shea­ring the sur­face (for a very soft feel and to avoid pil­ling on walk fab­rics of soft wool­len yarn), pres­sing and press fixing are cri­ti­cal in pro­du­cing a sil­ky sheen. Dif­fe­rent wet pro­ces­sing methods (finis­hes) pro­du­ce dif­fe­rent walk qua­li­ties; rol­ler pres­sing is used for super-soft walk materi­als. Final­ly, deca­ti­sing (steam tre­at­ment) ensu­res a per­ma­nent finish to the rele­vant qua­li­ty standard.

Types of wool

Austrian mountain sheep
Strong, warm, classically beautiful

Tra­di­tio­nal­ly, the­se ani­mals are shorn befo­re and after her­ding. The pro­duc­tion pro­cess invol­ves the tra­di­tio­nal old crafts of spin­ning, wea­ving and ful­ling. Hard-wea­ring loden is used to make warm, water-repel­lent and stain-resistant clothing.

Alpaca
Light and colourful

Alpa­ca wool is smooth, shiny and soft to the touch. Sin­ce the hairs are hol­low on the insi­de, it is extre­me­ly light. This type of wool is deri­ved from alpa­cas. Alt­hough the camel-like ani­mals main­ly live at alti­tu­des of 3,000 to 5,000 metres in Peru, Chi­le and Boli­via, they are incre­a­singly being bred in the Alps.

Merino
Soft, fluffy and wonderfully warm

Meri­no sheep are a very popu­lar breed. They are bred in South Ame­ri­ca, New Zea­land, South Afri­ca and also in Euro­pe in ever grea­ter num­bers. The ani­mals are shorn by hand just once a year, in the spring. Meri­no wool is fine and soft, with high­ly attrac­ti­ve and ele­gant colours.

Cashmere
for true connoisseurs

Cash­me­re is one of world’s finest and most luxu­rious fibres. Cash­me­re goa­ts live in extre­me cold at high alti­tu­des in the Hima­la­yas; their wool is incom­pa­ra­b­ly soft and plea­sing to the touch. A maxi­mum of 100 grams can be com­bed from the dow­ny hair of a goat in a year.

Thank you for your understanding!