In the third and final guest blog post exploring the various stages of making at Laura’s Loom, owner and maker Laura Rosenweig writes about carding and spinning fibres with Michael Lightowlers…
Located on the aptly named Huddersfield Road, Schofields processes mile upon mile of woven cloth every day of the year. Fabric is put on the purling machine where the fringes are set, and it is then transferred to the huge “washroom”. The atmosphere is heavy with water and soap. Yards of cloth move overhead from one process to another; washing, steaming and tentering. There’s an old teasel machine where some of the cloth is brushed to raise a nap on the surface.
The first time my own cloth was processed here I got my first set of Howgill Throws. The beautiful creamy throws were as soft as butter, a far cry from the grubby fleece that was collected months before. The then under-appreciated raw wool had been turned into a beautiful product. The feeling of fulfilment and achievement was tremendous this first time, and has remained so ever since.
This wouldn’t have been possible without the skill and dedication of a team of scourers, spinners, weavers and cloth finishers. Their willingness to give a total novice the benefit of the doubt has enabled me to repeat this exercise every year since that first small collection of throws. With the advice and assistance of weavers like David at Farfield Mill and Robbie at Drove Weaving in Langholm I have gone on to develop new products, learning to translate skills gained as a hand-weaver into the language of production weaving. But the one, unchanging constant has been the loyalty of a selection of farmers who raise sheep and shear the fleece, year in, year out, in sunshine and in rain.
Laura’s Loom creates limited edition collections of luxuriously soft wool throws and scarves, cushions and baby blankets all woven from 100% British wool and made entirely within the British Isles. To lear more, visit http://www.laurasloom.co.uk/