Our favourite brands – Adriana Homewares

When I grow up I shall live in a house with a sofa, or at least a chair. It’s going to have a throw and as many cushions as I can fit (plus one) from the Howardian range by Adriana Homewares. For now, I shall just enjoy looking at them in my shop since my tiny studio flat only has space for a bed and a bit of kitchen (hence, my friend calls it my “Bitchen” -Bed-kitchen)

But enough about my shoebox, let’s start with the sheep - Blue-faced Leicester sheep: whilst they (disappointingly) don’t have smurf-blue faces, do have exceptional fleeces. The fibres are long and lustrous which allows a yarn to be spun which is fine, yet dense with a beautiful sheen. Despite evolving in the cold North of England each sheep has a relatively small weight of fleece for its size – as a Northerner by birth I make no parallel with the Northern humans’ choice of attire on a night out… I digress. This wool is perfect for soft furnishings – it’s durable, soft and cosy-warm and that’s why it was chosen by Adriana for her beautiful collection.

blue faced Leicester sheep in field

The sheep are shorn (or sheared – there’s a debate we’re not getting into) and the wool travels just down the road to be carded, spun, dyed, woven and finished. The whole process from sheep to finished product is completed in and around Yorkshire meaning they are supporting the local economy as well as protecting the environment by keeping their carbon footprint low.

THE PROCESS

 

Grading and Scouring

First things first the raw fleeces are sent to British Wool Board to be graded, then they’re scoured to remove any dirt

Carding

With over 100 years’ experience, the experts at Laxtons take the fleece and use slivers (like huge combs) to tease out the wool and remove any remaining impurities. They then wrap the fibres into a loose, continuous cable called roving 

Spinning

The roving is stretched out and twisted to create a yarn to just the right strength, thickness and firmness – exactly to Adriana’s specifications.

Dyeing

Acidic dyes are used to help keep the natural strength of the wool. They also make sure they are both light and contact safe so the colour lasts as long as the wool.

Weaving

Using a shaft dobby loom the final design is created. It’s called a dobby because a “draw-boy” used to lift the shafts – which is what the loom now does. It’s perfect for geometric designs and allows greater width – perfect for throws!

Finishing

On to another company past it’s centenary - WT Johnsons & sons - to be washed and dried to make sure it’s as soft and durable as possible

 

Howardian range raspberry pink ryedale fabric

So that’s the wool, what about the design? Each range begins with Adriana at her traditional loom in her studio in Leeds. She hand dyes the yarn to find just the right colour to complement the pattern. Taking inspiration from her education and environment she designs striking patterns which translate beautifully to soft furnishings. Whilst studying Constructed Textiles at Birmingham Institute of Art & Design she was introduced to the colour theory of Josef Albers (Bauhaus student and later, professor) – this completely changed her approach, having previously only worked in mono. Her final project was entirely bright colours and she’s been building on this ever since – her expertise in colour is clearly demonstrated across her collection. After she graduated she returned to her Yorkshire roots and found inspiration in the countryside, towns and features surrounding her. Her favourite design is the Whitby West Cliff – inspired by the coastal town. We asked Adriana what she’d be doing if she weren’t doing this – it’s a toss up between working in her Dad’s café or teaching. Whilst we don’t doubt her Yorkshire-bred ability to make a brilliant cup of tea we’re very glad she started her business instead!

Whitby West Cliff cushion

The finished products are made by hand in Leeds and are truly stunning, our favourites are the cushions. They are even filled with a 100% British wool pad, no horrid polyester here! Not only does that mean that they keep their shape and are naturally hypoallergenic but it also gives them a pleasing weight and makes them even warmer – not that we ever sit hugging a cushion… no, that never happens, we’re just saying that if it did, we’d rather hug one of these…

We also stock throws, baby blankets, scarves and wraps – plus at Christmas we have the most luxurious stockings and tree decorations you ever saw. We have a selection of each in store plus a swatch book of all the different colour/pattern options to choose from. If your favourite isn’t in stock you can still order and it will be sent directly to you from the Leeds studio.

And finally, the question we always ask – what’s your favourite flower? Adriana’s is a cactus – strong shapes and because they only bloom if you’re lucky it’s really special when they do!


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