WeatherWool news and topics of interest.
BLOG entries by Ralph unless otherwise noted. Feedback welcomed!
-- Ralph@WeatherWool.com / 973-943-3110 (mobile)
2022-01-19 ... Production Update
Anoraks in MidWeight Fabrics Drab and Lynx Pattern are coming along. Factory8 is cutting and sewing Anoraks in both Fabrics, and American Woolen is completing the last pieces of Batch 6 MidWeight Lynx.
MidWeight Lynx Fabric in the finishing department at American Woolen (photo courtesy Jacob Long, owner of American Woolen)
The "marker" shows the pieces of the pattern for each size. The Fabric is cut according to the marker. The marker is a very long sheet of paper that is laid out on the cutting table on top of the stacked sheets of Fabric. (Photo courtesy of JR Morrissey, owner of Factory8)
Fabric is stacked and then cut into the pattern pieces, size-by-size. The paper on top of the Fabric is the marker, which is cut along with the Fabric. (Photo courtesy of JR Morrissey, owner of Factory8)
Sometimes the Fabric is stacked pretty high! (Photo courtesy of JR Morrissey, owner of Factory8)
The pattern pieces are cut and then finished separately. The finished pieces are sewn into Anoraks as a final step. This is a stack of sleeves. The buttons and tape are sewn on, then the cuff is created and then the flat piece of Fabric is sewn into a tube that becomes a sleeve. (Photo courtesy of JR Morrissey, owner of Factory8)
2022-01-18 ... International
We love that we have customers in many countries. About 10% of our orders are shipped to Canada, where Americans woolens do not attract any duty. Today, two people from Shanghai, China, ordered All-Around Jackets. We've only shipped to Shanghai once before, as far as I can remember, so this was surprising. One of them wrote that he felt WeatherWool would be very welcome in stores in Shanghai. We don't intend to be in any stores at all, but it was still really nice to read that!
2022-01-17 ... Sheep History in New England
A customer tipped us to this great video that describes the significance of sheep and wool in the history of New England. I had no idea there were millions of Merino Sheep in New England in 1840 or so. But that surely explains why there is so much wool-industry history, and so many traces of the wool industry still in New England. Tom Wessels, the narrator/host of the video, is talking sheep in the first 5 or 6 minutes, but the whole video, about interpreting the history of the landscape, was very interesting to me. Thanks for the tip, Andy!!
2022-01-16 ... Thanks to the Slimeballs?
Last year, and again this year, the same ads for $50 Anoraks have appeared in many places. The ads are run by a bunch of different companies, presumably all part of one operation. They use pirated material showing our Anorak as well as some others. Quite a few of our customers have alerted me to the ads, and even left some highly critical feedback on the web! THANKS ALL! Funny thing, tho ... some people recognized the impossibility of the claims made by the sleazebags, somehow managed to figure out whose garments were actually shown in the ads, and contacted us about getting some wool!
2022-01-15 ... My Mistake ... Melbourne Closed!!??
Too good to be true. I thought MidWeight Lynx Anoraks were scheduled for completion on 15 February, along with the MidWeight Drab Anoraks. But I've just been informed the projected completion date is 28 March, the Monday before April Fool's Day. UGH! HEAVY-DUTY APOLOGIES to everyone I misled and if springtime (prospective) delivery changes your plans, it's entirely understandable. Again, I'm really happy we do not accept deposits or advance payments.
It's great to have customers in Australia. And not just because Oz is the wool capitol of the world, but also because their seasons are the opposite of ours here in North America. We just tried to send some wool to a customer in Australia and the USPS refused the package, saying Australia is closed. In fact, the USPS website does say that Melbourne is closed to international shipments, but that packages can be routed through Sydney. Our customer wrote us that none of this is correct. DHL accepted the package.
2022-01-14 ... Enjoying Nature, Wrapped in Plastic ... Purple Fat
It's interesting and kind of amazing that searching the web for jackets for Hiking, Backpacking, Camping, Hunting, Fishing, Skiing, Birding and Wildlife Photography turns up almost nothing made of wool. I'm not surprised because I already knew this, but thought I should look again before doing this Blog entry.
For example, Simms offers quite a selection of jackets made for fishing, and they can be sorted by composition:
- Down Blend
- Nylon Blend
- Polyester Blend
- Water Resistant
Anyone reading this Blog probably already knows that I believe wool easily earns a place among all these offerings based solely on performance. And is in fact worn by many fisherman. But aside from performance considerations, it has always seemed really remarkable, strange, even crazy that so many people set out to enjoy Nature wrapped in plastic.
As for PURPLE FAT ... I was speaking a few hours ago with customer Dave, who lives in Alaska and is a very serious meat hunter. Dave and his wife prize the black bear for both meat and fat. Black bear fat has been used for many things over the centuries. I was very surprised when Dave said a bear that has been eating berries will actually have purple fat!2022-01-13 ... Military Clothing
We have very lately been contacted by three instructors in the US Military who are interested in getting some WeatherWool for cold-weather training. We sent WarriorWool donations to two of them, and we hope we can come up with something for the third, but our inventory of "Military-sized" Anoraks is basically zero. About a month ago, within a couple of days, we also heard from a Navy SEAL, a Royal Marine and a guy in Canadian Special Forces. All of these men, and many, many others, have said the same thing: that the Military does not prioritize (to put it euphemistically) providing highest-quality clothing.
Customer James surprised me with a must-do suggestion. He pointed out that when someone is wearing our Double Hood, the tags are visible only is when the Hood is down ... when it is hanging upside-down on the back of the wearer. And in that position, the American Flag is also upside-down! We will flip all the labels next time we make Hoods! MANY THANKS FOR THIS, JAMES!!
We receive customer feedback every day. Usually a few times a day, and we are really grateful for all of it! THANKS EVERYONE!!
You absolutely may! Please don’t post my email address.
Also, it is great purchasing from American companies who source & manufacture their products here at home.
(Funny ... Even I never wanted to post anyone's email address!)
Click to jump to the collection of Watch Cap Reviews.
2022-01-09 ... It's Trade Show Season (but not for us)
People often ask if we attend any trade shows. We don't. We did quite a few shows between 2012 and 2017, but none since. I actually enjoyed the shows, and miss them. It's a pleasure meeting so many people, old friends and new friends and checking out all the other booths. But the shows are very expensive, very time-consuming and disruptive to our normal business. And every show was a financial loss. Probably the ultimate kicker was the sales tax authorities in the various venues became very aggressive, to the point even of demanding we file regular reports and billing us based on their estimate of what our sales should have been.
Dropping off MidWeight Lynx Fabric at Factory8 in NYC's Garment District. More Anoraks coming up!
As we all know well, the US Textile and Garment Industries are much smaller than in the 1990s, let alone the 1950s. A big reason for this decline is the cost of labor in the USA versus many other countries where this type of work can be done. Relatively high American labor costs have led to difficulties for us getting our warp (worsted) yarn spun in the Carolinas.
2022-01-06 ... Ralph's Rapid Transport
We have some Natural-color (cream color) Neck Gaiters that Debby wasn't fully satisfied with. We just decided to offer these on our Specials page at $55 instead of the usual $85.
Our friend Mose over at APROE sent me some photos of Brass Slot Button prototypes. With luck, Dutchware Gear will be able to make the Brass and the Titanium Slots (Blog of 2021-12-27).
Mose O’Griffin of APROE has been helping WeatherWool with the fabrication of Brass Slot Buttons
We are always looking to improve our products in any way we can. And the little widgets that we use for adjustment of hoods and waist cinches have been a sore spot for me since Day 1. They work well, but they are plastic, kind of clunky, and just don't float my boat. There is a huge variety of these clips, but they are all quite a bit alike, and all sold in the same way ... fifteen or twenty cents apiece with a minimum order of 1000 for the small selection made in the USA. (There are tons more made overseas.) We have thousands of these things lying around. Let me know if you need any!