Laxtons Specialist Yarns for British Textile Week
Laxtons is an English manufacturer of worsted and fancy yarns and has recently invested in state-of-the-art dyeing facilities to serve premium knitwear and fashion brands.
Laxtons Specialist Yarns – visual board by UKFT
Laxtons is still very much a family business, founded by George Laxton and Gordon Holmes in 1907 and run today by the fourth generation, James Laxton. The company is one of the UK’s leading specialist yarn manufacturers serving high end global brands, with in-depth technical knowledge and understanding providing first class results for its clients. Over the decades, the firm has outgrown several Yorkshire-based sites and has even seen one of its spinning plants relocated from its home county to Port Elizabeth, following a joint venture with a cooperative of mohair farmers in South Africa. Now located in Baildon, Bradford, Laxtons reshored 100% of its manufacturing in 2009 to a state-of-the-art spinning mill back in Yorkshire. The factory hosts a range of modern machinery and spinning capabilities, allowing for a diverse range of yarns to be manufactured for many different markets and end uses. This is now enhanced by additional capabilities in vertical spinning and dyeing of Laxtons’ own products as well as commission dyeing services.
From this month (September 2020), Laxtons can now offer environmentally-pioneering yarn hank dyeing facilities following the installation of state of the art plant and machinery at Huddersfield-based Park Valley Dyers, which will operate the equipment. The investment will enable Laxtons to provide vertical spinning and dyeing of its own products as well as commission dyeing services of natural fibre yarns such as wool, cashmere, silk, mohair, alpaca and blends destined not just for premium knitwear and fashion brands but also the growing hand knitting and craft markets.
Bucking the trend of downsizing during lockdown, Laxtons has invested in a complete hank dyeing production line, from small batch sampling, to flexible batch production of up to 120kg per lot, and the latest drying technology to ensure a premium end product.
CEO James Laxton said: “Despite the economic challenges of these unprecedented times, we have pressed ahead with expanding our manufacturing business to enable us to offer an all-encompassing dye service which preserves and even enhances the quality of the high value spun yarns we cater for. It was crucial to have a first class partner and Park Valley Dyers are experts in what they do following their own £2m investment in setting up a brand new package dye house back in 2012.”
Hank dyeing is significantly more sophisticated than traditional package dyeing, because the yarn is not wound and compressed onto cones, but is simply reeled and suspended under its own weight on perforated rotating arms in smaller batch dye cabinets achieving a softer and more voluminous finished product. “This results in a much higher-end finish, which will undoubtedly appeal to customers looking for a more refined product,” explains Brian Duckett, Director of Park Valley Dyers.
The company has launched this week a new website, developed during lockdown, selling direct to consumer. It will initially offer a small range of hand knitting yarns but will later be extended to include more finished goods, all produced 100% field to finished product in the UK. Find out more here.
UKFT’s British Textile Week is a digital showcase of the craftsmanship, imagination and innovation of the UK textile industry.