Following a desire to create something beautiful from top quality Yorkshire Dales wool, I began to source fleece from local farms in 2008.
This new venture has taken Laura’s Loom into the realm of production weaving, working with small manufacturers across the north of England and into the Scottish Borders to create limited edition collections of British wool throws and scarves.
I oversee the entire process, each year collecting bags of fleece from a dozen farms in the Yorkshire Dales and Lake District National Parks. I sort the wool in my back yard from where it is sent to Bradford for scouring. My yarn is spun in West Yorkshire, then dyed and woven in the Scottish Borders. The cloth is finished in Galashiels or in Huddersfield, depending on what type of cloth it is. All of the initial design and sampling is done by me, by hand, on my American Harrisville 8-shaft floor loom in my Yorkshire Dales studio.
I am proud to be playing a small part in helping to maintain Britain's illustrious textile heritage. There really is nothing quite like wool. It keeps you warm when it’s cold and wet, even if the wool you’re wearing is wet itself (it dries from the inside out and traps warm air to insulate you). It breathes, absorbing moisture when damp and releasing it when dry, which makes it perfect for bedding and insulation material. Wool is a natural, sustainable and renewable fibre, naturally resistant to fire and remarkably strong. These days you can even wash it in a machine! But perhaps most importantly, wool does not leave behind microscopic plastic when it decays and it does not pollute our planet.
I have never been averse to taking on new challenges. In 2021 I purchased a carbon-neutral rapier handloom. Made in the UK this 75" wide loom will enable me to more easily weave larger bespoke pieces such as blankets, as well as longer lengths of tweed, with the possibility of taking on commission weaving jobs. It's a steep learning curve, a big challenge, but an exciting development!