One of the common threads, if you'll pardon the pun, in intaglio is the blankets. Now, we've all seen blankets, we understand that they're felt, but have you ever thought about the process to manufacture these essential components of the craft?
In fairness, I'd never given it a thought until I visited the mill where we have our Pusher blankets (and the new Swanskin blankets) made. Starting with bags of wool - a lot more than 3 bagsful required in the nursery rhyme - the wool is spun into thread based on a complex formula using many different types of wool.
The next time you print an etching, look a little more closely at that top blanket. The quality of that blanket, which so affects the quality of your finished print, may have begun in the fields of America, Britain or Australia. Somewhere a sheep is running around without a coat - the price paid for a quality pusher blanket.