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Where the Wool is Boiled - Stapf, Wörgl, Tirol, Austria

In the Austrian Alps the technique of boiling wool developed over centuries to meet the needs of Alpine herdsmen in the cold wet climate. The fabric and finished textile producer Stapf has been perfecting the technique for generations on knit wool fabrics. On my 2016 visit to their Wörgl facility, located in the Austrian state of Tirol, I took the following pictures. The pictures were taken without models, staging or special effects. They simply show the people, equipment and a bit of the craft behind making "boiled wool" garments. "Boiled" is actually a misnomer because the temperature of the water shouldn't exceed 30 degrees celsius. The german word for these types of garments is "Walk" pronounced "valk" coming from the verb "walken".  They are differentiated from woven garments.  With developments in wool yarn production and finer wool fibers coming to the market the quality of "walk" garments has dramatically improved in recent years.




This shows knit wool fabric before and after being shrunk by washing in warm water

Comparison of a wool fabric before and after washing with warm water "boiled woo"

A couple employees joking on the factory floor 

man and women on factory floor

 A woman sewing a trachten jacket

women sewing a trachten jacket  

A trachten jacket being made

trachten boiled wool jacket

A demonstration of how the needles on the knitting machine hook the yarn  

hands holding needle and thread used in knitting wool garment

Spools of wool yarn feeding a knitting machine 

spools of wool yarn feeding a knitting machine in Austria

A well-used knitting machine feeding the yarn

 wool knitting machine

An antique hand operated knitting machine 

hand operated antique wool knitting machine

Wool threads feeding into a loom for making trim 

wool yarns being pulled into knitting machine

 A Viennese knitting machine

Austrian knitting machine for trachten wool garments

Inspecting a sewn wool jacket

 man examining trachten austrian wool jacket

A close up of the threads in a knitting machine 

austrian wool knitting machine

A special purpose washing machine for shrinking knit wool fabrics

washing machine for shrinking wool fabrics into boiled wool

A modern knitting machine 

 wool knitting machine for Austrian trachten garments

Giving an explanation about how the machine works

 Man explaining how a wool knitting machine works

 sign in german that reads: "Sheep in Tirol" with an image of a mountain and a sheep

Fabric patterns for different styles of trachten wool jackets 

fabric samples for different austrian trachten jackets

The view out the window on a dreary winter day

 view from the Stapf facility in Wörgl, Austria 

The Stapf logo on a leather patch

cardboard box with patch of Stapf and wool trim

A knit pattern being programmed into the computer 

computer monitor showing the programming of a knit pattern

A knit fabric being produced

 blue knit fabric in knitting machine