Posted on 10/9/2012 2:13 PM by Grace Jeffers

"Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleeve of care" is a famous line from Macbeth  and indeed sleep is one of the best things you can do for your brain and your body.

You may not think of your mattress as being one of the most important things you own. But more than a third of our time is spent in bed. It is one of the most important pieces of furniture anyone will ever own. Have you ever really thought about what materials your mattress is made of?

There are many mattress options out there—sprung, padded, memory foam. At the high end of the mattress market is the hand-tied mattress. But what exactly is that and how is it different?  I had the pleasure the other day of experiencing Vi-Spring’s hand-tied, 100 percent Shetland wool, entirely hand-crafted in England mattress.

The name “Vi-Spring” comes from the Roman numeral 6, VI, because each spring coil in a Vi-Spring mattress makes six turns, giving the body optimum support, but enough flex to react to shifting movement during sleep. They are one of the few bed makers to manufacture their own springs. Hand-tied springs are held together with stitching, but have a much greater independence of movement than machine-assembled springs. As illustrated in the photos, Vi-Spring sew their springs into individual fabric pockets, which are then laid in rows and stitched together. Each row is independent, so the way the springs conform to one person’s movement won’t affect the person sleeping next to them.

 

The above image identifies the range of natural fibers that Vi-Spring uses in the construction of their mattresses.  Image courtesy Vi-Spring

 

The springs are stitched by rows into fabric pockets. Each row compresses independently of the others, so one person's movement won't disturb their neighbor.

One thing that makes Vi-Spring’s mattresses unique is their side stitching. When you look at the side of a machine-manufactured mattress, it may appear to have stitching to hold everything in place, when in fact the stitch is merely on the surface and there is a metal frame that is holding the mattress in shape. Vi-Spring’s mattresses don’t need a metal structure, because skilled craftsmen side stitch the padded wool sides to the outside three rows of springs by hand, the tension of the twine keeping the mattress supported and in perfect square.

 

Danny Hannis demonstrates the unique hand-stitching of the mattress sides. Photo on left courtesy, the Campaign for Wool

Vi-Spring is protecting the environment and supporting local industry, using 100 percent British wool, and 100 percent natural fibers with no added chemicals; wool, cotton, horsehair and cashmere. The wool acts as a natural “wicking” fiber, in a way that synthetic fibers can’t, keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer, just as it does for the sheep! This year, Vi-Spring received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, a very prestigious award in the UK and testament to the timeless quality and value of their products and process.

 

On left, cross section of a Vi-Spring bed, courtesy Vi-Spring.  On right, a Vi-Spring bed on display in Bryant Park as part of the Campaign for Wool's "Wool Uncovered" event (www.campaignforwool.com).

Every Vi-Spring mattress is bespoke, custom made. They are the connoisseur’s choice; a work of art providing a lifetime of comfort and service because of its outstanding selection of materials and construction.