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SPINNING AND WEAVING

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In the second of three guest blog posts exploring the various stages of making at Laura’s Loom, owner and maker Laura Rosenweig writes about carding and spinning fibres with Michael Lightowlers... Screen Shot 2017-03-02 at 16.00.21 Behind the unassuming door of a warehouse in Meltham just outside Huddersfield you will find Lightowlers Spinning Company. Neatly labelled boxes are stacked high up a wall, and inside one of them is a collection of mini skeins containing samples of the yarns Michael Lightowlers and family have developed especially for Laura's Loom. Fibre content, twist and count all need to be decided ahead of time. This is all dictated of course by what will be woven with the yarn. Wool is in the air as the hundred year old machines card and spin the fibres. Screen Shot 2017-03-02 at 15.53.49 Clean wool arrives in huge bales and is tipped into a blending machine before being fed onto a 60 foot long carding machine. Wool fibres are gradually aligned and fed onto narrow strips of leather then gently twisted into a soft roving. The cakes of roving are transferred to the spinning jenny to be spun into yarn then moved to another machine to be wound onto cones. Michael Lightowlers is delighted to use a new air-assisted splicing machine which eliminates knots as it "ties" together two lengths of yarn. No knots means the weaving process will be smooth and trouble free. Seeing the yarn being wound for the first time onto the old wooden warping mill at Farfield Mill in Sedbergh was an exciting moment. The mill turned and gradually filled with yarn, the warp was beamed off and transferred to the Dobcross loom, a workhorse of the woollen industry. A thousand individual warps were threaded by hand through steel heddles and tied off. In no time at all, a bolt of woven cloth was being wound off the beam and delivered to Schofields cloth finishers in Galashiels... Screen Shot 2017-03-02 at 15.55.16 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/


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