We have been getting to know Fleck Knitwear for a couple of years, and in March of 2022 they made the cuffs for our Hooded Jackets. These cuffs will be the first items from Fleck that we've used in production.
Fleck is a family business founded in 1960, and only a half-hour from WeatherWool HQ.
Peter and his son Matt are obviously very committed and passionate about what they do, and this is important to us!
They have a wide variety of machines from both Stoll and Shima Seiki, and so they can make a great many types of knits. They are also very willing to try different applications and techniques, and to do so immediately.
A couple of great examples of what it's like to work with Fleck were written up in our Blog, and I have copied the entries here.
2022-06-23 ... Wool Cord Again
We were quite happy with the Wool Cord we made a few weeks ago, but we are never satisfied.
Fleck's "string machine" was pushed pretty well to the limit knitting together two ends (two strands) of our weft yarn. Debby wondered if the string machine could handle three ends of our warp yarn. The warp yarn is worsted, rather than woven, and that means the yarn is more compact. So, we paid another visit to Fleck.
Matt Fleck gave us a good look at the hooks on the string machine.
Below, the string machine in action knitting three ends of our warp:
2022-05-18 ... Replacing Shock Cord with Wool!
We have Hooded Jackets in MidWeight Lynx Pattern Fabric coming in a couple of months. Until now, the cords that we have used to adjust the front of our Hoods have been make of synthetic shock cord. The shock cord worked well, but when the Hoods are snugged to the face, the shock cord, being somewhat stiff, sticks out and can be inconvenient. The wool cord is limp and will lie flat. Also, some people like to adjust the Hood by tying the left and right cords together under their chin. The wool cords will tie off much better than the shock cords. We will use the same cord locks as before.
This wool cord is made from the same fiber, same yarn, we used for garments. We had some brown (is Debby going to correct me on the color?) yarn left over, and we brought it to Fleck Knitwear. Peter did some work tuning his "string machine" so that it could handle our yarn, and by the end of the next day, we had enough wool cord for the run of Hooded Jackets. Great work, Peter!!
2022-03-29 ... Replace Shock Cords? (And More Video)
We use synthetic elastic shock cords to adjust the our hoods and waist cinches. Yesterday we were at Fleck Knitwear, working with Peter and Matt Fleck on custom knitted cuffs for our Hooded Jacket. Debby spent many days with her Dad in his factory, and she always loves to visit the people who make things for us and see how they do what they do. And she is always trying to figure out new things for them to do for WeatherWool. So when she saw some knitted "strings" hanging on Fleck's wall, she asked about them.
Peter explained these "strings" are small cylindrical knits, very much like shoestrings. Debby asked if the strings could be woven with our yarn, and if they might be used to replace the synthetic-elastic shock cords we've been using for years. So Matt and Peter immediately put some of our yarn on the machine ...
After we handled some of the string-knit, Peter and Matt showed us a little more of how the string-machine operates and what it can do:
Matt and Peter quickly made enough of the string-knit in our own yarn for us to do a little testing:
This is a very intriguing development. The string-knits have enough elasticity and strength to replace the shock cords. The string-knits are less bulky, and would lie flat against the garment instead of sticking out conspicuously (to me, anyway) like the shock cords. We will need to experiment and test for a while. But at this early stage it certainly looks really good. This was totally unexpected ... we were supposed to be working on cuffs. Debby's curiosity and imagination just might lead to a really nice enhancement!
28 March 2022 --- Ralph