After several great days inTaipei, we headed to southernTaiwanto visit a new tricot knitting mill that concentrates on athletic fabrics. Our mill representative, Josh, showed us the operation, the machines that roll the fibers on to giant spools for the knitting machines and the knitting machines themselves. Afterwards he took us out to a great dinner, which was in traditional Hot Pot style. It’s similar to fondue, but you cook individual pieces of fish, meat, veggies, and tofu in a spicy or mild broth. The place was amazing from the food to the decor. We also discovered how speedy and efficient the Taiwanese train system is. Sure beats LA traffic… but what doesn’t. No offense LA!
The following day, we headed out on the third leg of our tour to South Koreato visit the fabric mills that we have been working with for many years. We started out with a tour of the dying factory, which produces our Spectrum stretch tricot. As this was Kelly’s first visit to a dye house, she was able to see the many steps that the greige goods must undergo before they are ready to be packaged and shipped. It starts with the pre-tendering process that washes out any oils and dirt that may already be in the greige goods, so that they ready to be dyed up in the jet dyers.
The dyes and stabilizers are injected into the machine from rooms above. Once done, the dyed fabrics are dried of excess water and then sent through a machine to be unraveled. Then the goods are rinsed and sent to the tentering machine, which sets the width of the fabric and makes sure the weight and stretch are all in line. Once that is complete it sent over to the inspection area where it is tested for weight and examined for any defects. A cut is also sent up to the mill lab, which then tests its colorfastness to the light, laundering, chlorination etc. If there are issues, they’ll catch it in the testing lab. We were lucky enough to see our orders in the works and being done ahead of schedule! Once our work day concluded, we enjoyed a traditional meal of Bulgogi, washed down with a little Soju. Gun Bae! (Cheers in Korean)