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Blog 2020


2020-01-20 Watch Cap and Removable Cape
We have been thinking about a Removable Cape that could be added over the top of any jacket or shirt or hoodie, whether made by us or someone else. Today I did a little testing of a prototype Removable Cape, along with continuing testing of the latest prototype Watch Cap. I walked almost 4 miles (a bit over 6 km) at a leisurely pace along a windy ridge (from which George Washington observed troop movements during the Revolutionary War!). The temp was a little lower than freezing, low humidity and at times a bright sun. The Watch Cap was perfect, but with two cotton layers (what I had been wearing in the office) plus a FullWeight ShirtJac and the Cape, I was a little too warm in the torso. Not uncomfortably so, but I should have taken off one (or even both) of the cotton shirts prior to walking. I would have worn a MidWeight ShirtJac, but our inventory is so low that my own MidWeight ShirtJac has gone off to a more-deserving home. More info on both the Watch Cap and the Removable Cape will be forthcoming ... they'll have their own page on the website before long. The Cape needs some work but the Watch Cap may be ready. However, I don't normally wear a Watch Cap, so I am thinking we should make about 15 of them and offer the Watch Cap at a reduced price to people who agree to really test and give feedback. Then we could consider offering the Watch Cap for the 3rd or 4th quarter of this year, when it starts cooling down again in the Northern Hemisphere. BUT ... there are a million Watch Caps already out there and we don't want to offer something that's not better than what is already available. There must be a need because so many people have asked us to make a serious Watch Cap. One question ... should we add a pocket? The pocket would be knitted from the same wool yarn as the rest of the Cap, and could be inside or outside the Cap.

2020-01-19 Neck Gaiters in Hand
Yesterday afternoon I drove into Brooklyn to pick up the first batch of our Black, Drab and Duff Neck Gaiters from Alex and Kady at Tailored Industry. I also spent a couple of hours with Alex and Kady, two wonderful and engaging young entrepreneurs. Knits are pretty far afield from the woven fabric that has always been our heart and soul. But the technology of knitting and the technology of yarns is moving rapidly and we expect to explore the possibilities of more WeatherWool knits with Kady and Alex and the amazing Shima Seiki Knitting machines. We are shipping the Gaiters now.

2020-01-18 Great Anorak Reviews Received
Today we received a couple of tremendous reviews of our Anoraks. One of those reviews (THANKS Joe Mohring) we re-published on Instagram and Facebook and on the website on the Civilian Anorak Reviews page. The other review came in from a member of the US Military. We'll post/publish what we can of that review after we get the green light.

2020-01-14 ... Antarctica!
Customer Rob is just lately back from an 8-day ski trip in Antarctica.  Among his highly specialized gear were a Mouton Hat and Neck Gaiter, which he wore mostly during rest periods while skiing from 89 degrees South Latitude to the Absolute South Pole. Rob is posting about this intense trip on Instagram. We're very glad Rob and the group made it to the South Pole (HOORAY!) and then home safely. Strong winds, temps typically at -15F to -20F (about -28C) and the location itself make such a journey very difficult and dangerous. My hat is off to to all involved!

2020-01-12 ... Watch Cap
So, now that we've gotten a Beanie prototype that we really like (so far, anyway) we have decided to be more respectful and call it a Watch Cap! We are very happy with the look and feel of the Watch Cap, but since we received it, the weather here in North Jersey has been warm. I wore the Watch Cap a couple days ago in a temp of 44F/7C ... normally I wouldn't wear a hat at all in that kind of warmth ... and the Watch Cap was fine for about 3 miles of walking, then I felt a little moisture building up so I took it off. But cold weather is needed for real testing. We liked the Watch Cap enough that we did a post on Facebook and Instagram, and a bunch of people said they want one. The yarn is spun from 19-micron, pure Merino fiber so there really isn't any question about the comfort. But I need to experience the wind resistance and warmth.

Prototype WeatherWool Watch Cap ... pure merino wool ... very comfortable ... made for us by Tailored Industry


2020-01-09 ... Two Interesting Things
I've been on the phone for a couple of hours over the last week or so speaking with a guy from ... yes, that is their website. It was a surprise to me to learn that ".green" is an internet top-level domain ... along with hundreds of others I never knew about. But anyway, eClean is getting some wool from us to try their liquid CO2 cleaning process on greasy wool (wool as it is sheared from the sheep). Looking forward to the results of their testing!

Also, Tailored Industry, the folks who are knitting our Neck Gaiters, have been sending us Beanies. We weren't all THAT interested in making Beanies until we received another -- about the 6th version -- of their Beanies today. WOW! This one we love ... ALTHOUGH we have not tested it yet. And while the "living room test" is important, it's not nearly as important as the real testing. More about this Beanie will be here on the Blog soon! Great work, Kady and Alex of Tailored Industry!

2020-01-08 ... First "Whole Garment" Neck Gaiters Knitted
The first batch of our Neck Gaiters (Black, Drab and Duff Colors) have been knitted by Tailored Industry (see blog entry below, please), but several steps still need to be completed before we can ship ... Edges must be finished, then the Gaiters will be washed and dried and inspected over light cones. WeatherWool labels must be sewn in (very lightly!) by hand and then another inspection by Advisor JR Morrissey of TheFactory8 before we pick them up.

2020-01-07 ... Frustration
Today we received very disappointing news from the folks who are making our Fabric. We had hoped to have significant amounts of Fabric by the end of January, but now it looks like April or May ... and then another month or two before we will have more garments to ship. So we are looking at June or July before we can ship anything that is not in stock now ... and our inventory is presently very depleted. For us, tho, it is much more important to get it right than to simply get it done. This situation almost all our products, but does not affect our Neck Gaiters, however, which are knitted. Please see the following and preceding Blog about the Neck Gaiters. 

Today, Debby and I spent about four hours at Tailored Industry in Brooklyn, New York City. Tailored Industry specializes in seamless knitting -- also known as WholeGarment. Their Shima Seiki machines knit garments 3-dimensionally, producing an entire sweater right on the machine, as an example. By the end of our meeting, we finalized the specs for our Neck Gaiters. We'd been working with Advisor JR Morrissey and with the people at Tailored (Owners Alex Tschopp and Kady Gray) for several weeks ... there is an enormous array of possible stitches, tensions, and on and on. But by the end of the session, Debby was happy with the latest tweaks and Tailored Industry will be delivering the first of the Neck Gaiters within a couple of weeks.

WeatherWool Founder Ralph and WeatherWool Advisor JR Morrissey (of TheFactory8) watching a Shima Seiki knitting machine in action on the premises of Tailored Industry in Brooklyn, NYC, where the WeatherWool Neck Gaiter is being made.Here, JR and I watch a Shima Seiki machine in action at Tailored Industry.

When I was a little guy back in 1960 or so, people were still talking about THE ROARING TWENTIES, and it captured my imagination ... the 1920s must have been  awfully exciting to have earned such a nickname. Well ... here's to this decade being remembered as THE ROARING TWENTY TWENTIES!!

One of the many reasons we love wool is that it is so environmentally friendly ... for one thing, it is completely biodegradable. I read somewhere that if you bury wool fabric, it will be consumed by soil microbes within a couple of months. But I wonder what would happen if it was not buried. So this morning I took some selvedge strips (the narrow strips that border our bolts of fabric), which we normally do not use, and placed them on top of a pile of sticks and leaves in the bushes in the back yard. It will be interesting to see what happens.

WeatherWool Fabric placed out in the weather to observe decomposition and/or use by animals