Over the last two years we have been waiting patiently for the wholesale release of some very special yarns. These two DK yarns have previously only been available via the manufacturer’s own website, and Laine des Iles is really thrilled and honoured to be the first retailer in Europe to stock them. So to kick off the new season, we are launching the first of these yarns now, with the second to follow in a couple of weeks.
You may not be familiar with the name Laxtons, but if you have ever knitted with British yarn, bought hand-dyed yarn from a dyer or bought woven woollen clothing, then is quite possible or even likely that you have already knitted with or worn Laxtons yarn. Laxtons is one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of worsted-spun yarns. The company, based in Yorkshire, England, was an industry pioneer when it was founded in 1907 by George Laxton and Gordon Holmes. Up until the1970’s the company’s main focus was weaving yarns, firstly for furniture upholstery, then during the war for military uniforms, and then in the 1960’s for women’s outerwear. It was only in the 1970’s that the company first started to produce hand-knitting yarns.
The current CEO James Laxton, the fourth generation, joined the company in 1992 at a time when British and European textile manufacturing was facing its biggest challenges, with a combination of cheap imports and customers starting to move to Asia. Many hundreds of textile spinning companies in Europe closed their doors permanently. Laxtons has not only survived, but in 2009 was able to invest in additional production capacity and recently built a new state-of-the-art spinning mill, enabling it to offer an even more diverse range of yarns for a wide variety of uses.
Laxtons remains at the forefront of the specialist yarn industry, with unrivalled experience, know-how and commitment to innovation, and carries out yarn manufacture for machine knitting and woven apparel for many high-end clients, including names such as Paul Smith, Chanel, Marc Jacobs and Louis Vuitton, as well as wool-based upholstery fabrics.
However, these days Laxtons is best-known known for its hand-knitting yarns. It supplies bespoke yarns to hand-knitting companies around the world, including well-known British brands such as Rowan Yarns, Debbie Bliss and Erica Knight, as well as offering ready-made undyed yarns for the hand-dyeing market. Their signature blend of BFL/Masham, beloved of many a hand-dyer, is a clue to the origin of the yarn – spun by Laxtons!
The first yarn that Laxtons are offering is also a BFL/Masham blend, but in different proportions to the yarn that they offer to handdyers. Sheepsoft DK is therefore a new and unique yarn in its own right. This is a worsted spun DK yarn, using a blend of premium British sheep breeds which have been sourced from the very finest flocks, and treated with absolute care and attention. The yarn is a mix of Bluefaced Leicester for softness and local Yorkshire breed Masham for durability. Together they produce a yarn that is soft and fluffy and suitable for all types of garments and accessories.
Laxton's aim with Sheepsoft was to create a yarn with the lowest possible carbon footprint and they are proud to offer this yarn which has gone "from fleece to finished yarn in less than 50 miles". It is available in soft, muted palette of 5 undyed and 11 dyed heathered colours, all named after well-known towns, villages and valleys within the Yorkshire Dales national park. This is a high-quality yarn and we know that you won’t be disappointed.