Laura's Loom creates the highest quality products from 100% British wool. Wool is my passion, and in particular British wool which lends itself so well to so many different fabrics. I start with the fleece, which I gather directly from farms in the Yorkshire Dales and Cumbria, then work with experienced mills in West Yorkshire and the Scottish Borders to spin, dye, weave and knit it into warm blankets, elegant scarves and some very popular wool socks. I aim for classy designs to show off the yarn at its very best. These are award-winning products, a whole year in the making; simply designed, beautifully made, and honestly produced. I strive to be as sustainable and transparent as possible and to support the farming and textile communities which support me and without whom I wouldn't have been able to build my business.
Laura's Loom produces 100% British wool blankets, scarves and socks. Laura also weaves bespoke items for private clients.
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.
My loom is my paintbrush, a tool with which I strive to create items of beauty. The simple act of throwing a shuttle across a loom never gets old. Weaving is a passion, arrived at long after I had trained for something else, but now it is my life. The natural world is my inspiration-- the light of a deep winter afternoon, the softness of meadow grasses in summer, the textures of mosses and stones -- but ideas come from all over. A sudden flicker of colour in a busy urban landscape, books lined up on a shelf, the overwhelming sense of awe to be found in a stained glass window or a beautifully crafted building -- all provide ideas from which I develop my fabrics. Weaving is, for me, an opportunity to paint with colour, to write poetry in texture, to take a thread and craft from it a beautiful and distinctive fabric which expresses a place, an emotion, an idea. But I want my pieces to be used, not carefully placed in a drawer to be admired then forgotten. They must be functional and therefore technically competent, so I choose my materials carefully. Above all, I never lose interest in creating a cloth by hand, setting it up thread by thread. Seeing it develop on the loom and then be transformed from a stiff unyielding fabric to an item of sheer beauty as it is washed and ironed – these are magical moments I just can’t get enough of. As I move forward with new plans for 2021 and beyond I seek to explore in greater depth my love of the land and of nature. I plan to focus on more bespoke pieces while maintaining my links to the wonderful textile companies who have helped me all along my journey with wool.
Laura’s glorious blankets are soft, warm and practical, with a feeling of connection to the landscape and the ancient craft of weaving, they carry an atmosphere that’s subtle and rich. We treasure ours.
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