Wool’s worth it

Sid Bourne takes a break from fixing Bob the Builder’s mistakes to recommend a British manufacturer.

THIS column is different to my usual, for once I’m shouting from the rooftops in support of a British manufacturer of yarns! Lawton Yarns is based in a state of the art 500,000sq ft manufacturing facility. It’s is part of The Spin Group, a global manufacturer of woollen and synthetic yarns.

Lawton Yarns is the world’s largest wool yarn producer/manufacturer. That’s right, a British company is the largest in the world!

I went on a site visit to look and learn from them and obviously keep my own CPD up-to-date. Well, I was in for a surprise and what a surprise it was! I could have stayed there all day, so good was the tour. And by the way, for groups, Lawton is happy to do the same for any retailer or contract companies. As long as you can book it, they’ll arrange suitable dates. I promise, you will not be disappointed, and their jam doughnuts are amazing (not as good as the tour but good still!)

Where do I start? We had a presentation on the essential benefits of wool. Many will already know them and I’ve kept it to a small list only, as it would otherwise fill this column, especially when you think of how we horrible humans now put 8 million tons of plastic in the world’s oceans each year.

Since the 1930s, buildings have integrated many more man-made materials, which have caused widespread health issues for us humans. Wool is aquatic biodegradable. This means wool-based products will naturally biodegrade in aquatic environments, which alone should want to make any responsible person want to buy wool carpets and other wool products.

Volatile organic compounds (VOC) are a common source of indoor pollution, but wool’s complex chemistry enables it to bind and neutralise these types of pollutant gases. In other words, wool eats VOCs.

Wool carpets can reduce noise in your home. A significant point to note is wool is naturally flame resistant due to a unique chemical structure which has a high nitrogen and moisture content and is why wool carpets are used on cruise ships and major hotels. When you think of the horrors of fire, you immediately see the significant benefit of wool. I could go on, but if you book your tour, you will see the many benefits of wool carpeting for yourself.

The wool Lawton uses to spin yarn is predominantly from British and New Zealand sheep and it has the capacity to manufacture 400 tonnes of wool yarn per week. It has 115 years of experience in producing carpet yarn, and the company was established in 1902.

Lawton Yarns is hugely versatile. Using undyed, heather and stipple yarns, the company can produce carpet blends in any shade required and offer a wide range of yarn counts, weights and plies for velvet, pinpoint, high twist, plains, loop pile or cut-pile carpets.

I found the people they employ have been there many years which was great to see and hear and must give them a leading edge as they are all extremely skilled.

You get taken around the process of making yarns of different types and colours. Like I said, I would have stayed all day if I could have.

For my job, I need to keep my knowledge up to date, and I have to say this was an amazing experience in that regard. If you really want to learn some things we all take for granted, do yourself a favour and take Lawton up on its tour. (And sell wool carpets! The benefits speak for themselves and they’re British).