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Blog 2023 - Part Two

WeatherWool news and topics of interest.
BLOG entries by Ralph unless otherwise noted. Feedback welcome!
If there is anything you'd like addressed here, please let me know.
-- / 973-943-3110 (mobile)



2023-12-31 ... That's It For 2023 ... Vacation to Start 2024!
Debby and I are heading for the airport shortly.  We'll be about 10 days in Phoenix with younger son Zack and his family.  Alex will join us in Phoenix for the first weekend in January, and WeatherWool won't be shipping anything from about the 4th until the 10, when Alex gets back in the office (with a whole lot of catching up to do!!)

Debby and I will leave Phoenix on the 10th, headed to Denver for the American Sheep Industry Association Annual Meeting.  It will be a kick to spend time with people that are so committed to wool and sheep!  I will be speaking briefly to about 150 people on the Board of Directors.   In Phoenix I'll continue to work up some thoughts for the talk.  I started the ASI Convention Talk page a few weeks ago, and any input would be much appreciated.  Thanks!!

HUGE THANKS to everyone who has been helping us this past year and all along!  We hope 2024 will be the best year ever for our Partners (includes customers!).  And I suppose that means I'm wishing everyone the energy, health and time to do some serious work!

2023-12-29 ... Sitting Out Another Show Season
Next week starts the "Show Season" for people offering outdoors-oriented goods and services.  We've done quite a few of these trade shows, but none since 2017.  I kind of enjoy the shows themselves, and it's nice to spend a few days in Vegas or Dallas or Nashville, etc.  BUT the shows are very time-consuming, very expensive and very disruptive.  And we've always lost money, too!  People tell me meeting others in the industry is the main reason to do the shows.

What ultimately killed the shows for me, tho, was the sales tax.  To do a show in Vegas I had to sign forms promising to collect sales tax not only on business transacted at the show, but also on sales that were deferred until later.  And of course there was additional paperwork.  Texas wanted me to file sales tax forms quarterly.  The last time we did a show in Dallas, the sales tax people sent me an estimated bill.

The biggest shows we worked attracted maybe 80,000 people.  Many of those people never even walked past our booth.  And of those that did, most had no interest in wool.  People in Houston aren't that interested in wool, particularly in May or June.

The web is a huge reason NOT to do shows. Social media and search engines have recently made it so much easier for anyone interested in woolens or outdoor apparel to find us.  And the public has become more and more accustomed to buying clothing over the web.  Compared to the reach of the web, even an 80,000-person show is nothing.

2023-12-28 ... Tech Problem with Lending Library
Please note that there is a serious technical problem with the Lending Library page.  Shopify (the platform that supports this site) technicians are working to correct it.  But the gist is that updates to the Library page are being deleted or overwritten.  This has been going on since about the 20th of December, and things have gotten a little ragged.  The problem is limited to the Lending Library.  And Shopify tells me they are ON IT ... Sorry!!!

The Library is pretty popular and we make a bunch of entries there each day.  If things don't look right regarding any item with which you are involved, please let us know! --- THANKS!

2023-12-27 ... WOW
A few days ago, a man who'd bought a Hooded Jacket from us needed to exchange for a different size.  When I told him it would be months before we would make exactly what he wanted, he opted for a refund.  But he really wanted some wool, so he went to a retail store operated by a famous old woolen brand.  He tried on some garments, then phoned me.  He was amused and surprised and laughingly explained that he was actually calling from the premises of this other company.  He stated colorfully and emphatically, in language not suitable for polite society (but fine by me!), that after having a sense of what we offer, he was very unhappy with Big Wool, and there was no way he was going to wear anything he'd handled in that store.  So instead of a refund, he switched to something we have in stock.

We have had a great many calls like this, although I think this is the first time such a call was placed from the retail floor of Big Wool.  I am comfortable saying we make the best we can figure out.  I leave it to others to decide whether or not our products are better than those of any other given company.  But I also say that if you find something better, please let me know what it is!

2023-12-26 ... "Filter By Fabric"
Woolmark is the marketing and education arm of the Australian Wool Industry.  (Right now, Woolmark's website landing page says WEAR WOOL, NOT FOSSIL FUEL, and shows a woman emerging from what seems to be a pool of petroleum!  They aim to hit hard!) Woolmark puts out a lot of great information and WeatherWool gratefully acknowledges their work on behalf of everyone who loves wool.  We frequently link material from Woolmark.

Woolmark recently announced the FILTER BY FABRIC challenge … an attempt to motivate everyone in the garment industry to enable consumers to filter a company’s offerings by the type of fabric from which their garments are made.  WeatherWool loves this idea!!  From the Woolmark site:

Every synthetic garment ever made still exists in some form…

Choosing natural fabrics should be easier. Why should the fabrics that touch our skin every single day remain a mystery, hidden behind vague adjectives like silky, mesh, or fleece? They cloak the truth, leaving the consumer in the dark about the actual fabric that makes up their clothing. Demand truthful product descriptions so we can filter by fabric.

Individuals can sign this pledge:

I believe in the power of informed choices to create real change. I urge all brands and retailers to step up to adopt a Filter by Fabric option and add honest fabric descriptions to all apparel product names.

By signing this pledge, I consent to sharing my name and email with policy-makers and other stakeholders for the purpose of advocating for the inclusion of clear fabric descriptions in product names by brands and retailers.


And for companies:


We commit to offering a "Filter by Fabric" option and including clear fabric descriptions in product names. Together, we can drive positive change, help consumers make more informed choices and reduce the fashion industry's environmental impact.

By signing this pledge, I consent to sharing my name, email, and company name with policy-makers and other stakeholders for the purpose of advocating for the inclusion of clear fabric descriptions in product names by brands and retailers.


I signed as individual and company.  But as WeatherWool, we don't intend to actually offer any filter because we are 100% wool.
It would be awfully nice if retailers did not obscure what they are actually selling by use of terms like FLEECE, MICROFLEECE,  MICROFIBER, TECHNICAL FABRIC,  FAUX WOOL.

2023-12-23 ... Visitors
This was supposed to be yesterday's Blog, but the day got away from me.  We've been busier than ever ...  One cool thing from Friday was that we picked up the first batch of ShirtJacs from Better Team.  We'll probably be able to ship some of them Tuesday.  These are all Batch 8, in FullWeight Drab Green.

But good stuff on Thursday.  We had a few guests.  We were invited to visit with the families of our guests in Ireland and Hawaii, where our guest/customers had grown up.  Anyone who loves wool (and whiskey?!) naturally wants to visit Ireland!

Relatives of our Hawaiian guest are involved in Hawaiian tourism ... and prepared to help us enjoy wild foods of all sorts ... fruits, shellfish, fish, deer, hogs! 

One of our guests was a retired New York City Fireman.  He gave us a Patch from the famous 19th Battalion "Animal House", in the South Bronx, which still is one of the busiest fire stations in the world ... responding to an amazing 15,000 calls per year.  In the summer 1977, the year before the Animal House movie was released, I was in that area a number of times, and can understand why the Fire House came to be known as Animal House.  That area was (and is) active and extreme.  Yankee Stadium is there, and the Yankees won it all that year.  Summer of '77 also saw the "Son of Sam", serial shooter/killer of young couples, active in South Bronx, and apprehended to huge public relief.  No wonder the name Animal House!

Another guest on Thursday handles Security at Seton Hall University, which is just around the corner from us ... and he gave us a Challenge Coin!

More than anything else, Seton Hall University puts South Orange, New Jersey, on the map.  Seton Hall is just a short walk from WeatherWool Headquarters in South Orange.   A Fireman who retired after 22 years in New York City’s 19th Battalion “Animal House” gave WeatherWool a Patch from the famous Fire House.

THANKS to our guests/customers for this Patch and Challenge Coin!!


2023-12-21 ... WeatherWool Spied by Family in NYC!
Yesterday, for only the second time, one of my immediate Family spotted WeatherWool in public!

WeatherWool Lynx Pattern Anorak spotted on the streets of New York, Rockefeller Center, midtown Manhattan, 20 December 2023

The photo was taken in Manhattan, at Rockefeller Center, near the famous Christmas Tree.  It looks to me like this person was wearing the Lynx Pattern Anorak for style more than warmth.  Yesterday was warm enough that the black hoodie worn under the Anorak would not have been needed at all.  But it does make a nice contrast with the Lynx.  The side zips have been left open, and the waist-cinch is tightened a little.  It seems our mystery customer has been doing some Christmas shopping (B&H Photo is huge and famous).  I wrote in this space a couple of days ago that this week is THE WEEK to visit NYC.  And it is!  A little snow would be right-on, but it's not going to happen.  Still, the Big Apple has its nicest blush of the year right now.

Still looking forward to seeing WeatherWool in public myself for the first time, but absolutely childishly thrilled that two of my kids have now seen our wool out and about.  The other sighting was also Lynx Pattern, near Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Also childishly thrilled to have family-visual-confirmation of what I've been hearing and writing for a long time ... that people wear on City Streets the same garments worn by hundreds of Military in the most extreme settings.  It's even possible this person is in both those groups.

2023-12-20 ... Information on this Website
Is everything written here correct?  I hope so and I think so.  But the info here is kind of like WeatherWool itself.  It's the best we (mostly me) can figure out. 

And what/who are reliable sources of information?  Anyone who has done much research knows that a lot of "research" is nothing more than a rewrite of someone else's "research" ... and on and on.  It's a whole lot easier to read a few sources, then pull together and rewrite what you read, than it is to actually run some experiments.  There have been occasions when my "research" on the web turned up stuff that I had written.  That's kind of amazing to me, but actually, I'm not sure it's inappropriate.  The search engines just serve up what they find.  I'm trying to enlist professional (University Lab Scientists) help to do some serious lab- and real-world-based research.  The people I've spoken with like the idea, but they are slammed with work already ... but also, where does the funding come from?

Debby tells me there is too much detail on this site, and that it's sometimes repetitive and boring.  No doubt she is right -- I've heard it from others -- at least in some instances (defensive reaction!).  But sometimes I feel the detail is necessary for precision.  And sometimes I even feel like I've omitted details.

For example, we mostly refer to our "Merino Jacquard Fabric".  But in a few months we'll be offering Denim garments, and our Denim is woven on a Dobby Loom, not a Jacquard Loom.  Soon I'm going to have to add some (boring!?) detail to make this clear.

Similarly, in places on this site I qualify the use of the word "Merino".  We've thought about saying "Merino-Class", which would certainly be accurate and somewhat more informative than just writing "Merino", but then "Merino-Class Fabric" doesn't work, and we'd have to do another layer of re-wording things.

All, or almost all, of the sheep growing the fiber from which our garments are made have Merino bloodlines.  But most people would be surprised to learn that Merino fiber is not necessarily fine (thin) enough for our purposes, or even fine enough for general comfort on bare skin.  Our purchases of fiber are dependent upon the characteristics of the fiber, and not breed of sheep.  I don't think it's appropriate to go all the way into the weeds (sorry!) with this except when someone is really interested in the details. The Ranchers we work with are all developing their own bloodlines, bringing in desired genetics.  The Jones Ranch has a recognized breed, the Debouillet. 

I often cite Wikipedia for general information, such as the links to the Dobby and Jacquard looms, above.  Wikipedia gets a lot of criticism for being left-wing political.  But I try to avoid politics here and I think the Wikipedia citations on this website are clean.  I don't think there is a political spin on the wool and weaving topics.  Maybe if I was a weaving expert I would think differently.  Here is what Wikipedia has to say about Wikipedia.

2023-12-19 ... Versatility
People mostly associate woolens with cold weather.  And they tend to think the more serious a company is about their wool, the more they are focused on colder weather.  I like to think we are very serious about our wool, and we do focus on cold weather, but Versatility is our focus.

One of our customers used to live on shores of Hudson Bay in Northern Canada, and the FullWeight Anorak served him well in that severe environment.  But then he did an amazing about-face of sorts, and moved with his family to a sailboat in the Caribbean!!  Not a place where I ever expected our wool to be daily wear, but it is!  WeatherWool is on the water quite a bit, in many places, but seeing Lynx Pattern in "The Islands" was a great surprise for me!
The hallmark of WeatherWool is versatility.  WeatherWool Hardcore Luxury means Hardcore Performance in a Luxury Package … comfortable in all kinds of weather in all kinds of settings, from wilderness to city. One of our customers wears his wool daily while sailing the Caribbean
He wrote me just before Christmas in 2023: I was off the boat the other day on a balmy evening eating dinner in a restaurant overlooking the ocean.  A stranger walked up to me and rubbed the anorak between his fingers.  And then he says to me, “you must be a sailor”. Also ... "I opted for the full weight version [purchased when he was in Northern Quebec] and it’s still good in this climate .  I think if I had MidWeight I would have worn it every evening, all summer long. My boat has air conditioning, which has been the main source of disagreement between my wife and me since moving aboard.  She wants to run it all day long and I can’t stand it.  The Anorak is now known in our family as the "marriage saver".

We have just been notified of our acceptance for inclusion in the MADE IN THE USA SOURCING & PRODUCTS DIRECTORY.  Our listing will be live by the end of the week.

Because we use only American-made "notions" (components such as zippers, thread, buttons, fasteners ...) this sort of directory could be extremely helpful to us.  So far, I did not find anything we could use.  But maybe I didn't search correctly.  And I think this is a fairly new effort.  While we are definitely happy with the notions we use and the Partners that supply them, we are constantly seeking to improve our products ... so we'd love to examine some new possibilities.  Here's hoping.

And maybe someone looking for woolens or wool fabric will find us!

2023-12-16 ... Apologies ... Women's Blanket Coats
First, my sincere apologies to all who are waiting for us to process orders.  We are going as fast as we can but we have not experienced this level of attention before!  THANK YOU VERY MUCH!!!  (And we are looking for help.)  Not sure how much we can get done this weekend because we have (WeatherWool!) house guests due shortly, and an Open House tomorrow.

This morning I made an early run into NYC to pick up Women's / Ladies' Blanket Coats.  Advisor JR Morrissey, whose Factory8 oversaw design and production, is very happy with these, and so are we!! LONG TIME COMING!!  JR and I t took a bunch of photos and I even did a little video of the Garment District street scene, but I forgot Alex hasn't completed the setup of my new phone ... until then, the photos stay on the phone, I guess.

While loading the truck, the owner of the shop that sews our Anoraks, under JR's direction, pulled up in a cab, and we had a nice talk about what we've been able to do and what's coming next.  I love these accidental street-meetings!  Makes me feel like I'm still "a New Yorker".  But more importantly, it's great to spend some time getting to know the people who are on the team. 

JR mentioned to me this morning that WeatherWool standard practice (Thanks to my Dad for that habit) of paying invoices immediately via ACH (Automated Clearing House) overnight cash transfer has helped build our reputation among the people he works with.  And actually, a big reason I wanted to work for Morgan Stanley was that, back in 1978 when I was doing my own little thing, MS paid my bill in a week.  It is amazing that the Post Office turned around a bill and a check within a week.  MS must have cut the check within hours.

BTW, the week leading up to Christmas is probably the best week of the year to visit NYC.  The City is never as alive or as cheery as it will be in these next days.

2023-12-15 ... Music Licensing!
WeatherWool has led to things I would have never anticipated!  We (really, me) have decided to avoid advertising in the traditional sense.  That is, I'm not comfortable paying someone (magazine or website or social media) to place something about WeatherWool in the face of people who did not seek it.  Nothing against advertisers or against those who run the ads.  But at least for now, I'm not comfortable with it.

BUT we still need to "get known", get publicity.  One of the interesting things about social media is that they actually WILL advertise for you, because they need to present interesting content in order to keep their user base.  The social media companies very closely monitor and analyze viewership.  And if you offer "content" that people save, or share, or view for prolonged periods, the media companies will promote it for you ... that is, they will offer it to others.  They will promote (advertise!) your content for you.  Advisor Cody Bokshowan is explaining this stuff to me ...

Rather than advertise, we are trying to create interesting content.  Cody is doing almost all the work for us in this area.  Right now, on the website Landing Page, we have linked to a video made by Cody about an Adirondack Park "Wild Foods" outing undertaken by Cody and Advisor David Alexander.

And the thing I would never have anticipated is that we recently licensed the Music Library of Epidemic Sound ... so Cody can add background music to his videos.  I definitely agree the video is better with the music than it would be without any sound.

But I am shaking my head to think we are licensing music ...

2023-12-14 ... Made in USA Sourcing and Products Directory
Surprise email this morning from the US Federal Government:

Ralph, good morning. I got your name and contact information from ATA. I am with the Office of Textile and Apparel. We are trying to reconstruct supply chains that have been broken over the last few decades to support our mission of bringing manufacturing back to the USA. To do this, the U.S. Department of Commerce, Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA), maintains a Made in USA Sourcing and Products Directory as a tool to assist domestic and foreign buyers sourcing U.S.-made fiber, yarn, fabric, apparel, footwear, travel goods, PPE, advanced and smart textiles or other textile associated products and services. The Directory is a listing of over 670 U.S. manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and producers and receives over 5000 web visits per month. We invite you to register your company on the Directory – it’s FREE!  To register - go to the link: Made in the USA Directory ( or and select Register as a U.S. Company. Establish your sign in credentials (see NOTE below) and fill out the information that you want posted as your listing. You can go back and update your listing by selecting Update Company Profile whenever needed. You can also search the listings for products and services you may need by selecting Search for U.S. Companies using many filters provided.

To qualify, a vendor must be a company established in the United States with at least one manufacturing plant, assembly plant, or distribution center that manufactures, assembles, or distributes U.S.-made fiber, yarn, fabric, apparel, footwear, travel goods or other textile associated products and services.

NOTE: Please use a valid company email address (info, sales, etc.) and company phone number so that potential clients can easily contact you. If the occasion arises that you change job functions, please provide information on your successor by updating your Directory listing and sharing the passcode. This will assure continuous coverage and contact information for your company.

We wish you success with your business.

If you have any questions, please contact XXXXXXXX

I did not reproduce here the contact details, but the website and email return address show the ".gov" domain, which is Uncle Sam.

Can't say what "ATA" (where they found out about us) is ...

When filling in standardized forms (such as for income tax purposes) requesting a description of company activities, I've never found a code or menu choices (in this case) that adequately describe what WeatherWool does. So the WeatherWool entry does describe us very well.  (And we are not the only people who make raw wool into clothing.)

It will be interesting to see if anyone contacts us as a result of this federal registry!

2023-12-13 ... Tech Adventures (not about Wool!) ... Lending Library
Yesterday, I got a text from a local customer.  Over lunch, he mentioned my phone had gone straight to voicemail.  This customer is now also enough of a friend-of-the-family that he was OK with giving me some grief about the phone.  He said something like "You've been whining about that phone for eight months, get it fixed!".  At first, I thought NO WAY EIGHT MONTHS! but then I realized he was right.  So I asked Alex to immediately go to the Verizon store (we need to look into Verizon alternatives, too), and switch me from iPhone back to Android.

Alex likes gadgets ... so instead of getting me a new Android, he'd scooped up a used phone somewhere (maybe there is a cell-phone version of our Lending Library) and brought THAT to the Verizon store.  Alex is our first-line tech support, so I just let him do what he wants.  So, now I have a new phone to get acquainted with.  HEY, I used to do tech-support as a job, so I ought to be able to handle a phone.  Last night, the new/used phone said it was time to update software, so I clicked OK, and eventually the phone told me the update was successful.  But about 11AM, I realized I'd not gotten a phone call nor a text message since yesterday.  Checking the phone, it said it was not connected to any network!  Alex did something with the SIM card and the phone seems to be working again.  We shall see.

At my desk, my PC, running Microsoft, tells me it needs new software, and one of my screens is off-line.  OK ... after I finish this blog we'll see about that.  I run four large screens and truly wish I had much more real estate to work with.

Last night I got a phone call from a customer with a lot of our wool who has lately lost 60 pounds, and has dropped from size XLarge to Medium.  We'll buy some of his wool back for the Lending Library.  Also last night I got a nice mail from a customer who hadn't seen our stuff until he checked a piece out of the Lending:

So you are not getting that Anorak back.  I wore it in the house for 30 min at 70 degrees. Unzipped the arm vents [I guess he meant side zips] and unbuttoned it. Was warm, but not hot. So I wore it outside at ~35 degrees, very warm. I don't know how many people had it before me so I double checked all the buttons and went over the fabric. Aside from some hair, everything was in great shape. Honestly I think I can pass this down. It's built like a tank. I was wearing this with a white T-shirt too, and it doesn't itch. Needless to say I'm very impressed. Let me know how you want to settle up. 

... Two great examples of why we have the Lending!  The email also gives a sense of how we handle the Lending. We just cannot spend as much time preparing the Lending pieces as we do the new pieces. Maybe, eventually, we will. But then we'll have to increase the Lending prices.  And we want to keep the Lending as just a break-even operation that facilitates customers. So ... Lending pieces don't get nearly the TLC that is normally lavished on our new pieces (the ones packed by Alex or Debby, anyway).

2023-12-12 ... A Little Followup from Yesterday
Padula always has more to say ... here is message he sent after reading yesterday's blog entry:

I just saw [the blog]!  Looks good.  Ironically, the very first lamb born at the PM Ranch was black!!!!  We had a few colored lambs back at my parents one year, but have not had any since 1998, exceptions being a small spot or two. 

Oh, I hear you (and agree with you) on the natural colored being a consumer hit and trend in the making.  It would be great to do it!  But reality is that production/quantity is limited and it is highly variable in diameter, length, variability and color.  I tried to help get that off the ground in the 1990s - and hit a stone wall.  I could not even get warehouses to think about sorting it for diameter/length because it was such a small amount.   Tried to get growers to bag it separately and donate it - and no one wanted to touch it.  The attitudes were worse than the problems…..

I do own a natural colored sport coat, made from this effort in the 1990s.  One of like 4 or 5 made…. Had to ship the raw wool to England to be made into fabric, no one would do it here.

I agree that it is part of the natural beauty of the wool and the sheep themselves produce colored fibers (brown & tan can be from urine/manure stained wool) - so this is part of being natural.

And there is a way to bleach wool to make it “whiter”….  That was another project program done to combat colored fiber contamination back in the 1990s. 

Keep up the good work. 

2023-12-11 ... Natural White, Natural Colored, and Contaminants
We recently began offering Natural White Fabric in Full- and MidWeight.  This Fabric is not dyed at all ... the natural color of the sheep, which is more of an off-white, Cream color, than true white.  We like this Fabric a great deal.  And while it is true that this Fabric is the Natural Color of the sheep, that's only because this is the wool of sheep that have been selectively-bred for certain characteristics, including "white" fleece.

People have been raising sheep for wool, meat and milk for thousands of years, and there are now hundreds of recognized breeds.

WeatherWool obviously is concerned with wool sheep and we don't pay much attention to hair sheep (raised only for meat, or maybe milk and meat), except that some wool ranchers feel any hair sheep within miles is a problem.

We also don't pay much attention to dairy sheep, except that sheep cheeses (feta, manchego, pecorino, ricotta, roquefort) are often on the table here.

WeatherWool fiber comes from sheep with various mixed backgrounds of Merino, Rambouillet, Debouillet (developed on the Jones Ranch!) and Targhee.  But we focus on the characteristics of the fiber, rather than the breed of sheep.

All of the ranchers with whom we work have spent a lot of years (generations!!!) developing their bloodlines.  Until lately, I haven't really thought much about color.  We focused on white sheep ... and we still do!  But we like the idea of wool that is not dyed.  And so, we are happy to offer the "Natural White".

But everyone has heard about Black Sheep ... and sheep grow wool in many other colors, too.  New Jersey's Annual Sheep Show features tremendously beautiful fleeces in a wide variety of colors and even mixes of colors.  We would love to eventually make Naturally Colored Black, Brown, Grey, Red-Brown.

Advisor Bob Padula, who has guided our selection of fiber since before we made anything at all, has been listening to me yammer about Naturally Colored and Undyed, and over the weekend sent me some background information and photos of our Natural White Fabric that gave me a bit of grounding in harsh reality ... !!


Colored fibers

FYI - your wool top test results are suitable for pastel and white, but thought you’d like to see what colored fibers look like in fabric.  In the colored fabric versions - these fibers are not an issue or concern.  But as you progress to the white/natural colors, I thought I’d show you what it looks like.  Colored fibers show up as a “smudge”…..

In natural light fabric laying on a table, or a garment on someone, it will likely not be noticeable, but hold the fabric up and illuminate it from behind and there are a few dark smudges randomly found.  Not enough to be a problem, but they are there. 

If you look closely, you can actually see  random dark colored fiber.  Once you see it, you can’t unsee it.  And it shows up differently on both sides too.

The Lynx “pattern” is visible in the illuminated fabric and it is easier to find a colored fiber in the mid-weight, than full weight fabric.  Which makes sense when you consider how few of these fibers are actually in the fabric and the “density” or population of fibers in the different fabrics.

This is why people should not have colored wool sheep with their white sheep.  One single fiber shows up as a smudge….

From a processing standpoint, this is why people do not want to process colored wool if they make pastel or white fabric.  The cross contamination risk is so high. 

Most US wool is not suitable for white/pastel.  If you have one black sheep in your flock, it rubs up against the others and transfers colored fibers.  One black spot - the size of a hockey puck will contaminate 20,000 lbs of wool.  Even the shearing area is “contaminated” because you can never get all the colored fibers swept up…

WeatherWool is delighted to offer Natural White (Cream) Undyed Fabric.  And we hope to eventually offer Naturally Colored Fabric in Black, Brown, Grey, etc.  But there are great challenges to overcome on the road to Naturally Colored Fabric!


WeatherWool is delighted to offer Natural White (Cream) Undyed Fabric.  And we hope to eventually offer Naturally Colored Fabric in Black, Brown, Grey, etc.  But there are great challenges to overcome on the road to Naturally Colored Fabric!


WeatherWool is delighted to offer Natural White (Cream) Undyed Fabric.  And we hope to eventually offer Naturally Colored Fabric in Black, Brown, Grey, etc.  But there are great challenges to overcome on the road to Naturally Colored Fabric!


WeatherWool is delighted to offer Natural White (Cream) Undyed Fabric.  And we hope to eventually offer Naturally Colored Fabric in Black, Brown, Grey, etc.  But there are great challenges to overcome on the road to Naturally Colored Fabric!

All four photos above, plus italicized narrative, THANKS to Padula

We had noticed those tiny dark marks, but had no idea the cause.  So, I learn yet again ... It's always more complicated ...

These tiny smudges are kind of like imperfections in wood or leather.  A reminder of a Natural Product.

But the practical impact is that "White-Wool people" don't want anything but White Wool anywhere near their wool or their equipment.  So getting Black or Brown or Grey turned into Fabric is going to be a heavy lift!  Not only that, but there just aren't big numbers of Non-White (Naturally Colored) Sheep.

Still, I think consumer demand is going to grow for Naturally Colored, and the demand will be strong enough to make changes happen.

Right now, the Brown, Black and Grey goes into the hobby market, which tends to cater to home-knitters buying one or two pounds at a time.

Rancher and Advisor Andy McMurry raises some spectacularly beautiful Black and Brown Merinos ... "so near and yet so far"!!!

Photos above and below courtesy Andy McMurry.  THANK YOU!

WeatherWool Advisor and Rancher Andy McMurry is extremely focused on the welfare of his sheep and his land, and the quality of his fiber. Andy is a researcher and an ardent practitioner of Permaculture. The McMurry family’s Genopalette Ranch is a primary supplier of raw wool to WeatherWool.


2023-12-10 ... WarriorWool Request
Yesterday we received a surprising request for WarriorWool from a gent who works security for a huge medical-hospital-health company in a once-peaceful American city.  His team wears body armor and carries tasers but not firearms.  Recently, one of the team was killed.  This is shocking to me.  Never thought about it, but even if I had I don't think I would have imagined working security for a health-care company could be anything like the combat situation this man sometimes experiences.  I told him we would provide WarriorWool if his employer refuses to buy.  He is sure they'll turn him down.

I try to avoid politics in the Blog and just stick to the wool biz.  But, here we are.  For multiple reasons, this man's notes were distressing.

2023-12-09 --- Just for the Record ...
Debby didn't like yesterday's post, and wanted me to take it down.  But she didn't insist.

2023-12-08 ... Don't be a Jackhole
When #2 son Zack was about 14 (year 2000), he referred to someone as a JACKHOLE.  Great high-school lingo, and jackhole deserves much wider use than it gets.

I was reminded of this because someone wanted to swap out a new garment for a different size.  The person returned the first garment very quickly, no problem there, but the returned piece had quite a bit of pet hair on it.  So I sent an email (I should have phoned) asking her to be more careful if she wasn't going to keep the replacement wool that was already on the way to her.  She became indignant, and quoted our return policy, which didn't state that pets should be kept away from exchanges, and she therefore didn't want to work with us/me at all.  Fine.

It strikes me as preposterous that our Customer Service/Returns policy should actually state something like NO PET HAIR.  There is obviously a long list of things that are inappropriate, and I very much do NOT want to be a fine-print company.  Maybe I should just say NO JACKHOLES.

As companies grow they have to deal with more and more jackholes and the laws and lawyers jackholes employ to harass them.  I recently renewed our US government SAM (System for Award Management ... to bid on federal contracts) registration.  Fine Print?  At the end of the registration process is a long list of PDFs that you must acknowledge having read.  Sorry ... but I checked the box and didn't even read all the names, let alone read and understand all the documents.  Just can't do it.  Anyone who thinks a software user-license agreement or a credit card customer agreement is a load of fine print ought to see what Uncle Sam dishes out.  I don't have a solution, but I have read that in Japan it's considered a great personal embarrassment to be involved in an adversarial legal proceeding.

Sir William Gladstone remains a guiding light for me!  I bet he'd love the jackhole portmanteau.

2023-12-05 ... Assistant Needed Now in South Orange, NJ
Getting garments shipped is surprisingly time-consuming.  Alex has primary responsibility for this, with Debby and I helping as needed.  But right now we are struggling to keep up -- we're actually several days behind -- and it's time to get some more help.  This Blog seems the obvious first place to post what amounts to a Help Wanted ad.  Should have thought of this sooner ... another one on the "WELL, DUH!" list.

The work:

  • Inspect garment according to garment-specific checklist
  • Note any failures and put aside if fails found
  • If no failures, all bits of lint and loose thread must be removed
  • Fold garment in specific manner ... each garment somewhat different
  • Wrap
  • Select appropriate box
  • Generate paperwork including shipping labels
  • Box garment and paperwork, affix shipping label

There could eventually be a lot of other things to get involved in.  Ideally, the candidate would be interested in a rag trade career!  Could be full or part-time.  Could be very long-term.

2023-12-04 ... Slammed!
Better Team has just finished work on the latest CPOs ... MidWeight Drab Green (Batch 8), MidWeight Lynx Pattern (the last of Batch 6) and MidWeight Natural White (Batch 9).  Also Blankets.  We're very busy filling the ASAP (reserved) backorders, plus the new orders, plus ... December is a busy month anyway.  So we are taking longer than usual to get wool shipped out.  Sorry and THANKS for your interest and your patience!!

2023-12-03 ... Unload the Trailer ... Seeking Input for Convention Talk
Old-guy sleep patterns aren't all bad.  Wide awake at 3:00 AM after about three hours sleep, it was drizzling rain, with real rain forecast shortly and expected to persist all day.  So I decided to unload the trailer and get all the CPOs and Blankets into the house.  Alex picked them up at Better Team on Friday, and I mostly left them in the trailer while we cleared the decks for a bunch of shipping.  We'll be boxing up a lot of SHIP ASAP orders today, and I didn't want to unload the trailer in real rain. Glad I got that done, because it was coming down serious by 4:30!

As mentioned yesterday, on 13 January I will be giving my thoughts to the Board of Directors of the American Sheep Industry Association.  And maybe the best thing I can do is give them YOUR thoughts.  So I started ASI Convention Talk, yet another new page on this website, and I would love to have your input!  Thanks!!

2023-12-02 ... WarriorWool Buyer-Donor ... Invited Speaker
Yesterday, I was invited to speak for a few minutes at next month's Annual Convention of the American Sheep Industry Association.  Debby and I spoke to this group in 2015.  WOW ... a lot has changed since then.  ASI would like to hear about the problems we have faced with WeatherWool.  That's really easy to sum up:

  • America's overall garment production is down something like 97% from the peak, and woolens are not excepted from the decline.  There is not much production capacity left in the USA
  • Americans (and people in general) don't wear nearly as much wool as in decades past
  • People have little idea what wool can do.  And most people, without serious consideration, think they actually do know wool.  We need to find a way to educate/demonstrate what wool can do.  But the educational material needs to be entertaining!!

A few minutes ago, a young soldier serving in US Army Psychological Operations phoned us.  He bought himself a WarriorWool Anorak about 10 weeks ago.  Today, he purchased another piece of WarriorWool as a Christmas gift for another guy in Psy Ops, and he stayed on the phone to make sure I updated the Donations page correctly.  We have some tremendous people serving in uniform!

2023-12-01 ... SWEET EMAIL ... CPOs ... Price Hikes
Price of our standard Slot Buttons just went up 100%.   Overall, this doesn't have much of an impact on us because a jump from 7 cents to 14 still doesn't add up to much money.  But it's indicative.  And actually, the big factor with Slots is that they are much more labor intensive for the sewing pros who turn our Fabric into garments.  There are tailor shops -- highly regarded ones -- who simply refuse to work with Slot Buttons.  Too difficult, too time-consuming ... and they don't want to know about them.

Thread is also up 100%.

But our biggest expenses are making Fabric and making garments.  And these costs have jumped as well.  I need to go over all our prices.  So far we have made only a few small increases.

CPOs should be coming today from Better Team.  We anticipate spending the weekend and into next week shipping the ASAP CPOs.

Yesterday saw some nasty mail come in (yesterday's Blog).  Some of the correspondence we receive has bits of philosophy incorporated in the signature block.  And last night, a really nice one came in:

“The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts.”
~Marcus Aurelius

One of my favorite quotes!  A more-modern version, which I don't hear much these days, would be "The power of positive thought."  The two lines are a little different, but very complementary.  THANKS for this, Lisa!!

2023-11-30 ... More Crazy
Some more email craziness from the "I WANT MY FREE STUFF" crowd:

You just made a big mistake and I didn't ask you to cancel my order I will post this all over social media and you will be hearing from my lawyer soon, thank you have a good day

I didn't ask or request a cancelation for this order show me an email or pull any phone call I made with this request.

I place an order for items that are listed for free at No cost to me DONT NOT CANCEL MY ORDER I WILL HE FORWARDING THIS MY LAWYER AND CONSUMER OFFICE. I will be monitoring availability and I will he also making social media aware of how you take care of customers 

Maybe we'll fulfill $0 backorders upon payment of $900 for shipping.

2023-11-28 ... Letters
We are privileged to receive the most wonderful letters, daily, from people wearing our wool.  We're grateful for so much kindness!

As we grow, though, sometimes things get weird.  I didn't expect this sort of thing at our tiny size.  Way back in the 70s and 80s, working at IBM and Bell Labs and "Ma Bell" (if you're old enough, you remember!), I was impressed by the extent to which these companies would go to anticipate and prepare for reactions and events that seemed to me extremely, extremely unlikely.

Our prices are prominent on the website, as is our policy to accept backorders at 0 for items not in stock.  In the last couple of days, I've gotten backorders from several people in Quebec for about a dozen All-Around Jackets.  And another for a Peacoat from an individual in California.  As usual, I follow up with a note describing the production timeline and reminding them of the actual purchase price of the garment.

Must be some new kind of scam because these people are now sending me insistent, somewhat-threatening notes demanding free garments.  For example:  "I order was at no charge. I have several screen shots and have reviewed purchase with consumers office, I would be waiting on my order and will be monitoring availability."

I guess this kind of craziness is a backwards sort of good news!

2023-11-27 ... Chicken Bones, No Extra Charge!
Today I received a note from a woman who was justifiably unhappy because her box of selvedge contained some chicken bones wadded up in a paper towel!  Last week we had our whole family back home for Thanksgiving.  Our grandson Kong (his parents call him Carter) is 16 months old.  He LOVES to move things around.  He'll grab most anything, and his favorite tactic is to place the purloined prize inside something else.  He regularly raids the garbage.  Evidently at some point last week, he escaped everyone's vigilance, grabbed a little bit of horrible from the trash and stuffed it into an open box of selvedge.  Maybe he thought he was helping us.  Fortunately the customer has raised children and now grandchildren of her own, and was quite understanding.

2023-11-26 ... Chemical Testing
I've been getting interested in the chemicals used in making fabrics and garments.  There can be a great many of them, and some are nasty.  For us, with our Fabrics always 100% wool, there are relatively fewer chemicals involved, but there are still chemicals involved.  I'm going to need to create a separate page on the chemicals we use (yeah, another page ...) because it's a large and important subject.

A couple of things have gotten me thinking about this.  A few years ago I was meeting with some guys in the Army, and they told me they absolutely hated the T-Shirts the Military issued.  Someone took me to the PX so I could get a pack of T-Shirts to try myself.  As soon as I put that thing on, my skin was telling me TAKE IT OFF NOW!!!!!!!!  I believe when your body reacts that way, you should listen. And just lately I've been reading some of the work of Alden Wicker, who writes about clothes and chemicals ... mostly not good, and some very bad.  A web-search will find a great many references to her.

So I was wondering about chemicals that might be found in our Fabrics.  One of the great things about working with American Woolen Company is that they've already done or thought about a lot of what crosses my mind.  When I asked them about chemicals, they'd already done some testing of other fabrics they make, and have an established relationship with a testing lab.  So they sent off a sample of our FullWeight Lynx Pattern Fabric to be tested for "Azo Colourants" and "Free and Hydrolised Formaldehyde".  Our Lynx Pattern is a mixture of dyed and undyed (natural color) yarns.  Last night, Arthur Lam, one of the main guys at AWC, sent me the test results.

The Azo levels are tested/measured by 22 different methods of extraction.  Acceptable results are <= 30 milligrams per kilogram.  For all the extractions, our Fabrics showed <5.

The formaldehyde extraction showed <10 mg/kg, where 75 is acceptable.

So, I think these are very good results, but I will need to do some research to find out more.  I also need to find out what other tests could be run.


AND ... Any input welcome!

2023-11-25 ... Stone Tool Gifts
Slightly to Debby's dismay, the WeatherWool office is a museum for many of my oddball favorite things.  Some of the smallest of these items are kept within arm's reach of my desk, and I'll often handle them when talking or maybe watching a ball game with a visitor.  Among these favorites are the pieces in the photo:

 The smaller pieces were knapped by our friend and WeatherWool Advisor Bill McConnell.  Bill runs PAST Skills Wilderness School.  In 2020, when Debby and I drove a loop through Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, we spent a couple of days with Bill, who teaches flintknapping among many other "primitive" skills.  Debby did a little filming of Bill while he completed work on the arrowhead and began work on another.

The smaller pieces were knapped by our friend and WeatherWool Advisor Bill McConnell.  Bill runs PAST Skills Wilderness School, where he teaches many "primitive" skills, including flintknapping.  In 2020, when Debby and I looped through Wyoming, Idaho and Montana, we spent a couple of days with Bill.  Debby did a little filming of Bill while he completed work on the arrowhead and began work on another, which is the unfinished piece on the right.

I've always admired stone tools, and I keep Bill's handiwork next to my keyboard.  I usually also keep a boxcutter there ... boxcutters get a lot of use around here.  But no matter how many we have, the boxcutter next to my keyboard travels.  A few days ago, I looked for the boxcutter.  Nope.  But then I saw the stone tools from Bill!  And now these are my favorite boxcutters.  The unfinished (just started, really) one works better because it only has an edge on one side, so it's a lot easier to use.  THANK YOU BILL!

A stone boxcutter knapped by WeatherWool Advisor Bill McConnell, who runs PAST Skills School

The large piece in the top photo is (I could be completely wrong!) a Magdalenian Hand Axe, made about 15,000 years ago. My understanding is such tools were valued, and not lightly discarded.  This Hand Axe might have been used for decades or generations, with the use gradually changing as the tool dulled. The Hand Axe was given to me by lifelong friend Joe Linzalone, owner/founder of Wolfshead Gallery, dealers of Ancient and Medieval coins and Archaeological objects since 1977. I haven't found a WeatherWool use for the Hand Axe yet, but that would be nice. THANKS JOE!!!

2023-11-24 ... BLACK FRIDAY
It's kind of amazing to me what a "thing" Black Friday has become.  I'm sure I received over 100 emails about Black Friday sales.  Some of them fairly spectacular ... such as 40% off sitewide!  There is such an avalanche of these sales I don't even remember which company offered the comprehensive 40%.

I'm happy with our decision to not do this sort of thing at all.  And today is a busy day anyhow.  So hopefully this means people don't resent our decision.

Sorry that we are behind in our correspondence and even sorrier we are a few days behind in (some of!) our shipping.  We will get caught up.  But it is rare that Debby and I have the whole family here ... might even be the last such gathering in our home of 39 years because we are trying to find a ranch in Pennsylvania.

2023-11-22 ... Denim Approved
We got another sample of Denim Fabric today, and we have approved it for production, possibly pending formal laboratory test results.

In September of 2023, WeatherWool began to experiment with 100% American, 100% Merino-Class Wool Denim. We are excited to learn the possibilities!!

2023-11-21 AGAIN ... Sighting
We really like hearing from anyone that sees WeatherWool anywhere. A US Coast Guardsman stationed in Massachusetts just bought WarriorWool for himself.  He'd been thinking about getting some of our wool for about 3 years.  Just lately, he was in a supermarket and noticed a guy wearing WeatherWool.  So he asked about it and got a very hearty reco!

2023-11-21 ... Trying to keep up!
This is a busy time of year for everyone, and definitely so for people offering woolens.  This week, all my family is back here in the family home ... WeatherWool headquarters.  It's the best!  BUT, I am having trouble keeping up with everything and right now, for example, I'm probably 500 emails behind.  I'll get caught up.  Sorry for being slow and THANKS ALL for your interest and your patience!!

Wishing a great Thanksgiving Week to everyone!!! 

2023-11-19 ... "Faux Wool"
Debby pointed out an ad for faux wool from a company named THRESHOLD.  I've been hearing about faux fur for a long time, but never before faux wool.  It seems Threshold specializes in faux stuff, available at many major retailers.

According to (with THANKS!):



: not real or genuine: such as
a: made to look like something else that is usually more valuable : imitation, fake
faux leather/fur
a string of faux pearls
faux is the French word for fake, but it's a very chic fake. Faux marble, for example, is found in the best of homes.

Sylvia Sachs

OK ... so, I had thought FAUX meant FAKE.  There are many ads for faux wool products on the web, but what is fake wool? 

THANKS to GK Fashion Fabrics:

What is faux wool fabric?
Faux Wool is moisture absorbing and known for its warmth. It is a comfortable and versatile fabric that is warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Sew chic suits, scarves, jackets, slacks, coats, vintage inspired skirts, and fashion accessories. Composition: 55% Polyester 45% Viscose. Weight approx.: 480 g/m.

 AND ... what is VISCOSE? .... THANKS to

Rayon, also called viscose[1] and commercialised in some countries as sabra silk or cactus silk,[2] is a semi-synthetic fiber,[3] made from natural sources of regenerated cellulose, such as wood and related agricultural products.[4] It has the same molecular structure as cellulose. Many types and grades of viscose fibers and films exist. Some imitate the feel and texture of natural fibers such as silk, wool, cotton, and linen. The types that resemble silk are often called artificial silk. It is used to make textiles for clothing and other purposes.[5]

Rayon production involves solubilizing cellulose to allow turning the fibers into required form. Three common solubilization methods are:

(Usually, I don't leave external links within copied text, but in this case I did.)

So, faux wool is half-polyester and half-rayon (which is plant-derived).  It seems faux wool could have been more straightforwardly named rayon-polyester ... Unless/until I actually test this stuff, I can't comment on whether faux-wool deserves its name.

It seems a real compliment to wool that products containing half wool (or less) would be marketed as INSERT-TRADE-NAME WOOL.  And maybe a bigger compliment that people are selling faux wool.

2023-11-18 ... Poncho
We picked up three Ponchos today at Factory8.  We made some changes in response to customer input.  Will get more info and better photos shortly.  Advisor JR Morrissey advanced production because we need to get these Ponchos to the US Army (!!) now.  Really hope we get some feedback from them.

WeatherWool is proud to offer a 100% Merino Jacquard Wool Fabric Poncho that is 100% American. The Poncho offers a Hood and two pouches (one zippered) and can be used as a Blanket as well as a Poncho.


2023-11-17 ... Open House ... Inflation ... WAR
Mostly dismal today.  Sorry.

We're fortunate to speak frequently with Military people ... Active Duty, Retired, and Contractors.  The contractors and the retired speak more candidly than those still in uniform.  There is a growing consensus that World War III has already started. 

We rely on goods and services from many Partners.  And they are raising prices.  We have seen prices of some components jump 100% recently.  I've previously written here that we'd be raising prices, but we have hardly done so.  I'm not sure when, or by how much, but probably we will hold off until January.  I guess I am supposed to write that we'll be "adjusting" prices.  But  none of the "adjustments" will be downward.  We're going to have to raise prices. People with SHIP ASAP backorders will be protected from price increase.

On the bright side, we're coming into Thanksgiving Week, and we have an Open House Sunday (the 19th).  A wonderful time of year!!

2023-11-16 ... CPOs soon ... American Fighters in Ukraine
Because of our WarriorWool program, I've heard lately from several Americans who are aiding the Ukrainian cause.  Some Americans in places like Poland, training Ukrainians.  But some American vets, no longer on active duty for the USA, are in Ukraine, directly engaging Russian troops. 

In the next few days, we will start Quality Control and shipping on CPOs.  But my kids are coming home from Wisconsin and Wyoming this weekend, so we'll be very distracted until after Thanksgiving.

2023-11-14 ... "Down the Rabbit Hole"
People tell us frequently that a visit to this website led them "down the rabbit hole".  From Wikipedia:

"Down the rabbit hole" is an English-language idiom or trope which refers to getting deep into something, or ending up somewhere strange. Lewis Carroll introduced the phrase as the title for chapter one of his 1865 novel Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, after which the term slowly entered the English vernacular. The term is usually used as a metaphor for distraction.  In the 21st century the term has come to describe a person who gets lost in research or loses track of time while using the internet.

We view this as a very large compliment.  We hope the website is informative and interesting and even entertaining.  We think the more people understand about wool in general and what we do with it, the more likely they will appreciate woolens and the many people involved in the industry.

How much we write about any given topic is usually a balancing act.  We don't want to include too much detail for fear of boring readers.  But we also want to provide complete information, and sometimes that means a lot of detail.

An internal debate we are having now concerns our "product pages" ... the pages from which orders are placed.  Most companies don't offer very much information on their product pages.  And there seems almost to be an unwritten rule that there should not be many links to other pages.  Certainly I like the idea of a clean, uncluttered offering.  But I dislike lack of information more than I like a page with lots of white space. We are considering having a MAIN product page that is clean and neat without much to say, with a link to an additional page with a lot more information.  But I don't really like this approach either.

Most people will deliberate quite a while before placing an order for a garment that costs $500 or more.  Very often people will tell me they've been visiting our website for years before making a purchase.  I think we should provide a lot of detail!

2023-11-12 ... Lost in France
Today, we had a really nice visit from Giorgio, a Frenchman who spends a lot of time in the USA.  Several years ago, Giorgio and a few guys from his hunting club were in the mountains outside Marseille.  They came across a pair of pants, a backpack and an All-Around Jacket in Drab Green.  They searched the area, and checked for any reports of a lost or missing person.  Nothing. For almost a year, they kept the items cased, thinking that maybe they would hear something.  The AAJ was too small for Giorgio, but one of the guys in the club started wearing it.  And he wears it all the time, in all sorts of weather.   In particular, Giorgio remembered a freezing, rainy day when everyone was cold and wet -- except the guy in the AAJ, and they all took note.

For some reason, Giorgio had the idea the AAJ was made in the UK.  But he remembered the name on the label, and last night decided to try to find out about the jacket.  He found our website, spent about three hours reading (he has great English skills), and was very surprised to learn he was only a short drive from our place!

We're always interested in how people first hear about us.  A jacket lost in the mountains of France has to be the weirdest yet!

As for the guy who lost his kit ... ????????

2023-11-11 ... Veterans Day
Usually I don't remark on important holidays, but the proportion of WeatherWool customers who are US Military Veterans is far in excess of the 6% (according to Pew Research) of American adults who have served.  I've never tried to keep track, but I'd say about one-third of our customers are US Vets.  The great majority of people who contact us are men, and I think that would increase the portion who are Vets.

When I was a little guy in the early 1960s, the grownups would frequently say "The Military will turn a boy into a man."  This was generally accepted "common knowledge".  People don't say that anymore, near as I can tell.  But it seems still true.

Compared to the general population -- meaning the people I encounter in daily life -- our Military customers, both Vets and Active, are definitely a cut above, at least based on personal traits I admire.  The Military people are unquestionably more respectful, courteous, cheerful, optimistic and patriotic than the rest of us. (I'm not a Vet.)  Our Veterans are an important and wonderful influence on the USA.

2023-11-09 ... Good and Bad (BAD!)
First, the BAD.  Luckily, we didn't really get caught.  But I learned a lesson I should have learned a year ago.  WeatherWool owed a vendor a relatively small amount of money for several months.  I've gotten to know the guy pretty well, and he was in no hurry to send me an invoice, even though he'd done the work in May or June.  He emailed an invoice in October, and I responded, again by email, asking for bank info so I could do an ACH transfer instead of paper check.  He responded with wire instructions because ACH doesn't work with his type of financial institution.  So I sent a wire, and then got a couple of excited emails saying the payment hadn't been received, and to check with my bank because there was urgent need on his side.  I offered to pay in other ways ... PayPal, Venmo, Zelle ... and got a reply to send via Zelle to (no reason to protect the identity of the fraudsters!).  The urgency was weird, tho, because the guy waited a few months to invoice me in the first place.  So I phoned my buddy/vendor, and got no answer, nor any response to my text message.  That's not unusual because he spends a lot of time in places with no comms.  I wrote back that we'd have to talk ... the scamster said he was REAL BUSY and would call me later, but SEND MONEY NOW!  So, I backed off.  The real guy phoned me the next day, and none of the latest back-and-forth had actually come from him.  Happily, the fraudster's bank reversed the wire payment without any explanation.  So, they must have noticed something amiss.  I wound up sending an old-fashioned paper check to my buddy.

I had a similar situation about a year ago, with another vendor, for what was, to me, a very significant amount of money.  This vendor sent an invoice, and then shortly thereafter sent an email saying they needed me to pay to a new bank account.  The email surprised me because it came from the woman who manages shipping, not from the woman who handles billing.  So, I asked about the change and ... the vendor had not changed bank accounts.

It seems that the email-thieves will hack into commercial email accounts, and then monitor the messages.  When a payment is due, they jump in and change the pay-to account info.  Anytime any pay-to account info is new to me, I know now to make certain via phone call that the instruction is not fraudulent.  My banker very strongly emphasized the verbal verification.

And now the GOOD!  In the space of a few minutes this morning, I got wonderful WHATSAPP messages/calls from Spain, the Netherlands and the USA.  Two of the messages included photos.  This photo, used here with permission, needs no explanation!

WeatherWool loves customer input!  This photo of Gary P in our Anorak needs no explanation!!  Thanks, Gary!!!

This photo (Thanks, Gary!!!) is worth a thousand words!
Thanks also to Julito in Spain for the photo (I didn't ask permission to use) and to Enoch for calling from The Netherlands!!

2023-11-08 ... Yield Increased
I may have written this here some time back, but it popped up again yesterday.  Is there another field of endeavor in which an INCREASED YIELD is bad?  In the rag trade, if the yield increases, that means you need more fabric to do the same garment.  The first time I heard THE YIELD INCREASED, I thought it was good news.  But, this is the way garment folks talk.

2023-11-07 ... Utility Fabric
We have enough of our new Utility Fabric to do some testing in garments. And American Woolen, who made the Fabric for us, sent some of this Fabric to an outside testing laboratory.  These are the highlights of the results:

Highlights of the test results for WeatherWool Utility Fabric.  This Fabric is 100% Wool.  100% American Wool.  100% Virgin Wool.

I don't fully understand these data yet.  Arthur Lam, Fabric Engineer at American Woolen, tells me these results indicate that Utility Fabric will make excellent pockets and similar.  Very good news!  Thanks, Arthur and AWC!

2023-11-05 ... Most Likely to Need Rescue
Scrolling Instagram (it's work for me!) I noticed a post from Survival_Expert stating that the people most likely to get in trouble are "day users" ... people who intended to be out for a part of a day.  They may have been hiking, rafting, climbing, hunting, fishing, etc., and did not expect to be spending a night out, did not expect to be in a serious situation.

Pop always told me it's the unexpected that gets you.

We make Hardcore Luxury All-Purpose Outerwear in part because we hope people wear our wool because they like it, and wear it even when they expect not to need it.  We've heard a couple of times from people who thought they might not have survived without the wool.  I remember one note from an Australian who spent an unexpected wet, cold night out in New Zealand.  He credited the wool with saving his life.  I regret not specifically saving that note.

I took a quick look at the clothing list linked from Survival Expert's website.  There is a recommendation for some wool base layers, but it did not appear to reco any wool outerwear.

A few minutes ago, I sent them a note asking their thoughts on wool, and mentioning this blog.

2023-11-04 ... Website Issues?
A customer from the Boston, Massachusetts area reports that he cannot get into our website.  It's working fine for others.  If you have had any troubles with access, please LMK! -- THANK YOU

Problem solved ... my fault for breaking my own rules. I try to always test any link that is new or changed.  But it turns out I changed some links without realizing I'd changed them.  A new thing to watch out for ... And another reminder not to break my own rules....

2023-11-03 ... Cody's Article and Video on Jim Abbott and Brook Trout
Sometimes when people phone me, I can tell right away that they have a wealth of outdoor knowledge acquired through long experience. Jim Abbott is one of those guys.  Jim has spent his 66 years learning New York's Adirondack Mountains, which is more-or-less synonymous with Adirondack State Park.  At 6.1 million acres (2.5 million hectares), Adirondack Park is crazy-big, particularly given that it is only a three or four hour drive from New York City.

Although half of Adirondack Park is privately owned, it is still a very wild and relatively untrammeled place.  Some of the numbers are kind of crazy ... 10,000 lakes, 30,000 miles (48,000 km) of waterways, 200,000 acres (80,000 hectares) of old-growth forest. 

Many people have heard of Adirondack Park, but don't understand how large and wild it actually is. Adirondack Park is larger than Yellowstone, Yosemite, Grand Teton, Grand Canyon and Glacier National Parks COMBINED.

That such a place could be within a morning's drive from NYC doesn't quite compute with most people's perspective of New York State.  My guess is the severe winters and summer black flies served as guardians until the establishment of the Park in 1892.  The winters have not changed and neither have the black flies ... still not many people.

When I heard that Advisors David Alexander and Cody Bokshowan had plans for an October fishing trip in the Adirondacks, I cadged Jim, David and Cody into meeting.  Cody made a video and wrote an article about their day fishing together.  Jim is a rare gem.  And actually the same can be said of David and Cody.  We'll have more from all of them on our website and other media.

2023-11-02 ... Free "Blooging" (Comic Relief)
We try to be very transparent and never deceptive.  Almost every page on this website bears the name (and date) of the person who most recently worked on it.  But a lot of people operate differently.  We get multiple solicitations daily from people who want to help us with the website.  It's remarkable to me that people offering tech support will use a gmail account, but it's typical.

We get a lot of offers from people who want to guest-blog, but I think this is the first mail I've gotten from someone offering software that will blog and post automatically.  Maybe having an AI-generated blog is no different than having an assistant or speechwriter.  But if someone else does one of these blogs, as has been the case a few times, that person has a byline.  And I can't picture I'd ever want a "This is an AI-generated blog" byline.

Anyhow, here's their pitch.  Evidently, their AI does not extend to grammar or spell-check.  Even the name of the company and the word BLOG are misspelled!  Maybe this material was written by someone whose original language is not English.  But such arrogance would make it even worse.  I added BOLDFACE for the mistakes ...

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2023-11-01 ... Mountain Men Alaska
History Channel's long-running Mountain Men series has a new spinoff, Mountain Men Alaska, premiering Thursday, 9 November.  Two of the stars, Ivy O'Guinn and husband Brett Bohn, wore our wool during filming.  We don't know what footage the editors will choose for the show ... we'll find out along with everyone else next week.

WeatherWool offers a 100% American Wool CPO Shirt made in the traditional 100-year-old CPO design from the US Navy.

Ivy O'Guinn, of History Channel's Mountain Men Alaska, in her CPO, with a rainbow

Our friend/Advisor Brad Veis did the filming, and we provided some (more) wool to Brad along with wool for Bret and Ivy.  People who will be on shows like Alone and Mountain Men can get whatever clothes they'd like for free.  And so it is a big kick for us that they wanted WeatherWool ... in Lynx Pattern.  Ivy and Brett spoke highly enough of the wool that Ivy's Grandmom bought some wool for Ivy's Grandfather.

The filming was done in January and February in interior Alaska.  It was cold.  It turned out that Brad and Bret are the same size, so Bret, at times, wore Brad's Mouton Jacket.

Last week, one of the main guys at MTL, where our Fabric is woven, tuned into Mountain Men and was surprised to see garments in Lynx Pattern, which of course he recognized immediately.  It's kind of interesting that because all our FullWeight and MidWeight Fabrics are woven in Lynx Pattern, regardless of the color of the yarn, MTL refers to our Fabrics as Lynx-Black, Lynx-Natural ... and Lynx-Lynx. For the weavers, it's all about the weaving, and the color of the yarn is an incidental.

2023-10-29 ... Back at Work ... Open House/Lights Out!
It made a big impression on me when I read that Monday is the favorite day of the week for Mike Bloomberg, the titan of Wall Street market data. He said he loves what he does, and therefore Monday is the best day because he has the whole work-week in front of him. Last week, I had a "Vermont Moose Tag", meaning that I had the great privilege of hunting moose in Vermont. These tags are distributed by lottery, and the odds are long.  But, I lucked out.  We dearly love moose meat here, and we haven't had a moose tag since 2010.  (We've been crazy-lucky drawing moose tags!)  Much to my amazement tho, I couldn't focus on the hunt.  I came home three days early, empty, because WeatherWool was so much on my mind.  In past years, I've mostly used my vacation days from work for hunting, fishing and clamming.  But there I was, tucked into some gorgeous country, moose sign (beds, trails, droppings, browsings, wallows, thrashings, tracks) everywhere, and what I really wanted was to get back to the office!!

I made a slight detour on my way home to stop off at American Woolen in Northern Connecticut. Jacob Long, owner, and Arthur Lam, Fabric Engineer, helped me load (actually, I let them mostly do it!) my trailer with some MidWeight Drab Green Fabric, the last pieces of Batch 8.  I also took home a couple of pieces of Batch 9 Natural White Utility Fabric.  So far, we are very happy with the Utility Fabric.  We had anticipated using it to make pockets, primarily, but Advisor JR Morrissey, who oversees our production in Manhattan's Garment District, thinks we can make some fantastic shirts and other pieces with this Fabric.  We'll continue to explore possibilities, but we are convinced it will, at least, make great pockets.

We had a nice Open House today, and our guests stayed several hours.  But it was a dark, rainy day and when the neighborhood lost power at 4PM, that brought things to an end, as it was somewhat dark inside!  Being short of sleep, as usual, the power outage seemed a perfect reason to catch some Zs.  I woke up just before the power came back at 7 ...

The next Open House is Sunday, 19 November, which is the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

During a break in the rain, Alex snapped this photo of Isaac from Pennsylvania.  Isaac is wearing the first piece of WeatherWool DENIM! We are still experimenting with Denim -- I don't think we'll go into production with this exact formula. So this is a test piece, but it looks really good and Isaac liked it.  We need to see how it performs in the weather. Advisor JR Morrissey did a great job on this Chore Coat.  JR also made a Hooded Jacket in the denim.

Isaac from Pennsylvania.  Isaac is wearing the first piece of WeatherWool DENIM! We are still experimenting with Denim

2023-10-20 … On the Road
Sorry for radio silence these last few days.  I am on the road with Advisor Cody Bokshowan in Vermont’s oh-so-beautiful Northeast Kingdom, along the borders with New Hampshire and Quebec.  We are here for moose season, which opens tomorrow.

We are renting Green’s Lakeside Cabin, which is ideal for our purposes.  Mrs Green gifted us a book of hunting stories, WIDE RACKS AND TALL TALES, written/collected by her Uncle Del.  Mrs Green knew we had driven to her place from the Adirondacks, but she did not know we had come directly from the home of Jim Abbott, who is featured in the book!!  Our Instagram account featured Jim in his canoe a couple of days ago.  And I just learned that Jim’s son is a friend of a guy who has a WarriorWool Anorak.

Sometimes goofs have happy endings!

The Utility Fabric sent to us last week by American Woolen was much too thick and heavy for our purposes. Our immediate rejection of the Fabric surprised them, as did my request for something about half the weight. They said they couldn't do something that lightweight, and this confused us, because we'd already shown Giuseppe and Arthur samples of what we were trying to replace.

But a few days ago, AWC realized they sent us the wrong sample!  The new, correct Utility Fabric Sample is very much to our liking!

We still need to do some testing, but at this point it looks like all the Fabric in our garments will be made by us, from wool sourced by us, We had only ever used small amounts of the "combination" fabric anyway (such as for pockets), but that did nag me, and I'm delighted to believe this is coming to an end.

Pendleton, the big wool mill and retailer from the Pac Northwest, just sent out an email warning about fraud:

WeatherWool admires much of what Pendleton has done, and this warning about fraud is great advice. But it’s undercut by Pendleton’s own offerings of a 100% polyester, MADE IN CHINA, $25 blanket.

But Pendleton undercuts their own warning by offering, through Costco, a 100% polyester, made in China, $25 blanket.  I would love to know how Pendleton decided this would be a good idea.

2023-10-13 ... Nat White Gets Noticed
We've shipped only three garments (Anoraks) in Natural White ... the only pieces completed thus far by our tailors. Despite the warm weather, a customer from Connecticut has been out and about in his Nat White. He wrote me last night that he was approached by a stranger who was very interested in the wool. We've heard similar tales many times before, mostly from people wearing Lynx Pattern.  I wonder how much attention Nat White is going to attract?

For a long time, I've been telling people that Lynx Pattern will attract attention in public ... a little bit like driving a convertible ... and that people who do not want to be noticed might want to wear one of our solid colors.  Maybe I will have to revise that advice ...

2023-10-12 ... Basic Vests in FullWeight Drab Green
Alex just returned from Factory8 in NYC. We were almost completely out of Basic Vests in FullWeight Drab Green, but now we have them back in stock in all nine sizes from XXSmall through 4XLarge.

We plan to make the Basic Vest in all our Fabrics:

  1. FullWeight True Black
  2. FullWeight Classic Brown
  3. FullWeight Drab Green
  4. MidWeight Drab Green
  5. FullWeight Lynx Pattern
  6. MidWeight Lynx Pattern
  7. FullWeight Natural White/Cream
  8. MidWeight Natural White/Cream

And we anticipate offering the Basic Vest in Denim as well.

Nine sizes and eight Fabrics means 72 possibilities. The logistics are a stretch for us! But we'll grow ...

2023-10-11 ... Response to Criticism
We are rarely criticized online, except for our pricing. I respond directly to all criticism I do see. Criticism may help us to improve, and it gives us a chance to engage.

We don't delete criticism. It's really gratifying that most of the time I do find negative comments, someone else will have already defended us.

Yesterday on Instagram, Filson posted a reel about their tin cloth, which is not at all comparable to anything we make. Nevertheless, @graham0011, whom I do not know and who does not have any WeatherWool as far as I know (he canceled an order two years ago), mentioned us in a comment:

It was a great coat til they started importing it. Make clothing in America again. @weatherwool is better.

Filson quickly deleted his comment.  If someone made an analogous comment on one of our posts, I would have asked how Filson is better.  I feel good about what we are doing, and we always do the best we can figure out.  If someone tells me we can do something better, or someone else is doing something better, I want to know more.  Maybe we can improve.

Some guesses as to why Filson would delete such a comment?

  • Maybe Filson doesn't want anyone focusing on their non-American operations
  • Filson has a far larger following than us. We have under 13,000 followers on Instagram, whereas Filson has 561,000 followers.  So maybe they'd feel we are too small to dignify with a response.
  • Maybe Filson didn't want to their forum to bring attention to anyone else that might be of interest to their followers
  • Maybe Filson wants to avoid comparison to us, or to anyone else
  • Or?

If people like other stuff better than ours, I want to know about it and I want to know why, and will happily engage in a public forum.

2023-10-10 ... UTILITY Too Thick, Too Heavy
The first sample of our hoped-for Utility Fabric is too thick and heavy for the intended purposes. There are places where our FullWeight and MidWeight Fabrics are thicker/heavier than we want, such as for the construction of "pouch pockets" (pockets made from a pouch of fabric). So we have used a commercial fabric that is 1/3 to 1/2 wool (remainder polyester) for such instances. We would love to use exclusively our own pure wool everywhere, so we will try again. American Woolen will make another, lighter, sample of potential Utility Fabric this week.

2023-10-07 ... Woolmark Video of Wool Fiber Structure

This 49-second video from the great Woolmark offers a microscopic-level tour of the structure of a wool fiber.

Woolmark is the marketing and education arm of the Australian Wool Industry.  They put out a lot of great information and WeatherWool gratefully acknowledges their work on behalf of everyone who loves wool.  This website has a lot of links to material from Woolmark.

2023-10-05 ... CPR!
This morning, Advisor JR Morrissey came upon a guy dying of overdose on the streets of New York City.  JR administered CPR until the medics arrived. The EMTs dosed the stricken man with NARCAN and continued CPR until he revived.  If there are things better than saving a life, it's a very very short list.  JR!!!!  EMTs!!!

2023-10-04 ... Natural White Anoraks
WOOHOO! ... Alex today picked up the first Natural White Anoraks at Factory8 in the NYC Garment District. Here's a quick cellphone photo.


WeatherWool is proud to offer our 100% American, 100% wool Anorak, made with our own exclusive Merino Jacquard Fabric sourced directly from leading US Sheep Ranchers. WeatherWool’s Anorak is sought by many of the world’s most-demanding, hardcore users, including Military personnel, who can purchase the Anorak through WeatherWool’s WarriorWool Program.

A first look at a Nat White MidWeight Anorak

I really love this Natural White (cream-color) Fabric. This is Undyed, wool .. the color from the sheep.

As the first Fabric made from Batch 9, we rushed through just a little bit of Nat White Fabric in both FullWeight and MidWeight. We'll be making a lot more of the Nat White, hopefully by the end of the year.

Factory8 is making a small number of Anoraks from the Nat White, both FullWeight and MidWeight, and these should be shipping this month. A few of them are still available.

Better Team is making a handful of Nat White (MidWeight) CPOs, and a few are available.

We look forward to making many more Natural White garments.

2023-10-02 ... Rain Gear? ... and a Rain Gear Story
"Windproof, Waterproof, Breathable" is the Holy Grail (Golden Fleece for us wool-folk!) of outerwear makers. And many companies do claim their garments are WWB. I won't disagree because I have not personally tested any of the WWB stuff since about 2008.  I will say the ones I did test were nowhere near breathable enough to keep me from stewing in sweat inside the garment. Windproof and Waterproof are easy.  But Breathable too?

I had a funny and instructive experience in 2017, the last time we had a booth at an outdoors-related show-convention.  A customer was in our booth, and he asked something about WWB.  Exactly as I responded "I've never found any garments that were truly windproof, waterproof and breathable", someone behind me, unseen, said "That's because it doesn't exist!"  I turned to see a mentor-friend who is a wheel in the outdoors industry.  Not wanting to "out" my friend in front of the customer, I said something like "What about all those magazine ads touting Windproof, Waterproof and Breathable?"

My friend then told us what he'd seen at a laboratory of a major clothing maker. They have a mannequin in a room where they control and measure the temperature and humidity and maybe (I don't remember) wind. Not only can they control the temperature of the mannequin, but they can also control the amount and pressure of water vapor produced by the mannequin, in order to simulate human perspiration. To test/demonstrate WWB, they dress the mannequin in their outerwear, and set the mannequin to sweat. Instruments measure there is, in fact, moisture coming off the mannequin and through the clothing, even in high ambient humidity.

This, my friend explained, is absolute, lab-based, carefully measured, LEGAL evidence that the garments are WWB. BUT, BUT, BUT!!!  The WWB is demonstrated when the mannequin generates vapor pressure far in excess of what any human would ever produce. For actual human application, the garments are Windproof and Waterproof but NOT Breathable.

Demonstrate to me a fabric that is truly WWB under real field conditions and I will recant and publish and apologize.

I bring up this old story now because last week I heard from three people about their frustrations with rain gear.  Same as me ... not breathable enough. Of course, I also bring it up because they have decided, same as me, that wool works really well as rain gear, insane as that may sound to some.

I have added the following new material to the end of the Rain page, which is otherwise several years old.


At the end of September of 2023, three people called/wrote me about wearing their WeatherWool in the rain.

One of them is a landscaper working on the Western side of the Cascades in Oregon and Washington, where it usually doesn't get very cold, but it is very wet. He told me what I've heard from many others ... that traditional rain gear doesn't breathe, so even if the rain doesn't get in, he's all wet anyway. So now he just wears the wool.

The second is Advisor Jesse Manuta, who spends a great deal of time working and recreating outdoors, sometimes extremely vigorously.

I wanted to write you with a new experiment with WeatherWool I've been conducting: what if WeatherWool was all that was needed as rain gear? This past summer I was working on a farm in the mountains of North Carolina. I have a waxed canvas anorak that I use for rain while working, but my opinion has steadily changed over the course of the summer. First of all, the waxed canvas does not breathe all that well (still better than Gore-Tex), but there was always this persistent discomfort, even if the temps were in the 60's or low 70's. The second component is that the wax slowly wears off over time (I use a beeswax based wax), and there was a rainy day this past summer where we got 5 inches in one day. Within a couple hours of working my shirt (hemp) beneath the anorak was beginning to get wet. That was the day I decided it was time to just wear the [WeatherWool] MidWeight wool in warmer weather while it was raining. I will never look back! Each rainy day since I have only worn the MidWeight wool against my skin. Not only do I find the wool barely feels wet, but my skin is completely dry. I know you already know this, as I thoroughly read your article about wool and rain/water. The other benefit of wearing the MidWeight in the rain is that even when it does begin to absorb the water, the fabric never feels heavy or sags against the frame of my body, like how cotton does when it is soaked through. My body temperature feels so much more comfortable wearing the MidWeight in the rain, what a miraculous discovery! I also find that if I keep the MidWeight shirt on after working, that it will naturally dry with my body heat. I figured you would find this experiment amusing and I know you feel the same way.

This experiment gave me the idea for WeatherWool bib overalls with a double yoke of fabric over the thighs, to wear in cold rain. Since the overalls are held up by your shoulders, the bibs could be made of the FullWeight fabric without being too heavy. That is my only critique of using the FullWeight fabric for pants, they are so heavy that they don't stay up as well as I would like. That is why we made our new pants out of the MidWeight. By the way, I will be testing these new MidWeight pants all autumn/winter/spring from now on and will update you on their performance. These new MidWeight pants are also my new rain pants : )

The third is customer Tim L, who has homes in North Carolina and in Montana.

There is a soccer game tonight for the high school girls of one of my subcontractors and it has started to rain. So I'm trying to decide which of my WeatherWool jackets I will be wearing. WeatherWool has become my "go to" rain coat now. :>)).

In response to Tim's note, I sent him excerpts from Jesse's email, and Tim responded:

As you know, we have property in the mountains of NC and I experimented years ago with waxed canvas [Outback dusters]. One difference between Mr. Manuta and us is that we have seen rains of 15 inches in a 24 hour period. In fact, one year it rained 13 inches one day, 15 inches the next day, and then 12 inches the next day. That last day was the day the water came up over the one major highway into town and every other road leading into town too. I drove through a low spot where the water was in the process of flooding the road by aiming for the corner of a barn across the low spot. By the time I reached the other side water inside my car was up to my knees! But I had three kids at home and I was determined to get to them. I did get home to the kids, but my wife was later in heading home and had to spend the next three days with friends in town who were on higher ground!

Anyway......I too came to the conclusion that waxed canvas was not "the cat's meow", so to speak. However........HOWEVER! Your wool that I have experimented with for the past three years is now my "go to" rain gear. Period. And as an aside I have just about every type of rain gear you might mention. I used to buy rain gear from a fishing supply store in NJ.....Somers Point? I can't remember exactly and I don't need to remember anymore because your wool has eliminated every other choice! From a nice rain this morning in MT to being up on a ladder in a downpour fixing a gutter drain in NC, WeatherWool is "the cat's meow"!!!

So......Mr. Manuta is on the right track! He won't go back to any other rain gear.
Thanks for sharing,

And Part Three of Tim's emailed thoughts:

Since you liked my email I will provide the following additional data: Rain gear I have used in years past and which is hanging in my closets: Gore-Tex, Carhartt, Outback, Helly Hansen, and Grunden's. There are a few others which have gone out of business such as Willis and Geiger.

In my opinion, and after enough testing to satisfy myself, your wool beats all of the above.

Having written that I will allow that I have not tried your gear on a fishing trawler where one is getting drenched in spray and maybe dunked by waves. In those situations I have heard from sailor friends of years past that either you are going to get wet through your rain gear or you will sweat so much inside your rain gear [Helly Hansen, and especially Grunden's] that you will be drenched.....and therefore those sailors would wear....wait for it!.......wool sweaters under their rain gear. Yes! Wool such as the Wooley Pulley sweaters underneath the Grunden's!!! Aha! There is that amazing wool again!!


And now that I think about it, I should add the show-story to the Rain page ...

2023-09-30 ... Labor Costs
All the components of our garments are made in the USA. All the labor of turning these components in finished garments -- tailoring, essentially -- happens in the USA, and is the most expensive step in our entire process. As far as we know -- and we have asked -- everyone who works for us, whether directly or indirectly, is legal. But actually, in the open-borders USA of today, "legal" seems arbitrary.

In comparison with many of the jurisdictions in which garments are made, the USA is extremely expensive. As of a couple years ago (according to Statista, and ShengluFashion), monthly wages of garment workers in US dollars:

  • Guatemala, 357
  • Thailand, 310
  • El Salvador, 299
  • Honduras, 297
  • Peru, 279
  • Colombia, 275
  • Brazil, 246
  • Dominican Republic, 243
  • Indonesia, 243
  • China, 217
  • Cambodia, 190
  • Myanmar, 157
  • Vietnam, 151
  • India, 145
  • Mexico, 127
  • Sri Lanka, 105
  • Pakistan, 104
  • Bangladesh, 95

The minimum hourly wages in New Jersey ($14.13) and New York City ($15.00) come to about $2500 monthly. And I know a lot of the people who make our garments are paid substantially more than minimum wage. Plus, I am guessing Jersey and NYC have much higher overhead costs (rent, workers comp insurance, health insurance, business insurance, environmental regulations, sanitary requirements, social security and medicare taxes ...) than is usual for these other jurisdictions.

From this corner, it seems US manufacturers must compete on quality and service rather than price. That's definitely what we try to do.

2023-09-29 ... Denim Palette
We have now a few yards of our own Denim (part of Batch 9) to work with. We'll make a few garments for testing, but we are also going to press ahead and have American Woolen make a significant quantity of denim as soon as possible ... but we need to choose the colors!

The potential color palette for WeatherWool 100% Wool Denim is large!

 Color Palette courtesy Arthur Lam of American Woolen

2023-09-28 ... Another One in the "Well, Duh" Column
The WarriorWool Program (reduced price Anoraks) has been part of WeatherWool since day one. But it wasn't until 4 years ago that I thought of adding to this site a Donations page that lists some of the activity. Until May of 2022, I didn't include instances of people purchasing the wool for their own use, although that is by far the bulk of the activity. Yesterday, I got the obvious idea (DUH!!) that it would be good to have a sentence or two from buyers/recipients about their plans for the wool.

The first such entry on the Donations page, from yesterday:
I’m a USAF special warfare officer and I intend on using the Anorak both in the field and in town across the northern Pacific Rim and Europe. We’re going to see how well it can pull double duty! It’s going to have to work just as well under body armor as it does over a T-shirt and jeans. I have no doubt it’ll live up to its reputation.

2023-09-27 ... Utility Fabric
We have always tried to minimize the use of anything but wool in our garments. There are certain small situations (the underside of pocket flaps, for example), where we seemed compelled to use fabric (not of our own manufacture) that was part-wool and part-synthetic. But now we are working on Utility Fabric (yet another new page on this website) that, if successful, will enable us to replace those small bits of part-synthetic fabric with 100% wool Utility Fabric of our own manufacture. We will see the first Utility Fabric sample in a couple of weeks.

2023-09-26 ... Denim Update
We have small sample pieces of our new denim and we really love it so far!

More (updated) info on the WeatherWool Denim page.

In September of 2023, WeatherWool began to experiment with 100% American, 100% Merino-Class Wool Denim. We are excited to learn the possibilities!!

From right to left: True Black Denim (front and back); Classic Brown Denim (front and back); for comparison, a Lynx Pattern Blanket with Classic Brown border. One of the marks of denim is that the weft yarns are usually undyed. And because denim is a warp-face twill, the face of the denim barely shows the undyed weft, but the backside is the opposite, and shows mostly the undyed weft.

2023-09-25 ... Food That Grows on Water
We have just posted to Instagram and YouTube Food That Grows on Water, a film about harvesting, preparing and consuming Menoomin (Wild Rice). The film, featuring Caleb Musgrave (CanadianBushcraft.CA), was conceived, shot and edited by Advisor Cody Bokshowan (@TrustinTimber).

Instagram has a short version and YouTube has the full 13 minutes.

We do have a page Wild Rice Gathering with Caleb Musgrave here on our own website, and eventually this page will host the video.  But Cody tells me that every view on these large platforms will tickle the algorithms to offer the material to more and more people. I don't have any knowledge in this area, and this kind of advice is one of the many reasons we are working regularly with Cody now.

In under 24 hours, the RICING video is already the most popular material we've ever released. This footage has garnered more likes, more views, more views from non-followers, more follows, more saves and more shares (sorry for the Instagram lingo!) than anything else we've produced.

Because we don't advertise in the conventional sense, this sort of exposure on social media is hugely important to us, so we'll be making more and more serious efforts in this area. ALSO ... this is just really great material, very engaging. (If you don't mind me saying!)

Tremendous work by Cody and Caleb. Remarkably, tho, this is basically just what they do ... for them, not exceptional at all.

THANKS Caleb and Cody!!

2023-09-23 ... Summer/Winter End ... OK to stop by, but please call first
We had a monthly Open House scheduled for tomorrow, but we've had to back off that plan, partly, because of some fairly normal but urgent maintenance work. There are people coming tomorrow. If you'd like to join us, that would be AOK. But please phone me so we know when you are coming.

Summer and Winter end today, depending where you are. Interesting time of year here in New Jersey ... some of the best of summertime activities still going ... but at the same time, the Fall is in the air!!

is 2023-09-22 ... Seen in FOUR Places
Today, two guys placed WarriorWool orders for their own kit. One of them told me he has seen WeatherWool in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Kuwait ... and Texas. I don't know how many pieces of WarriorWool are "out there", but I think it's at least a couple of hundred.

2023-09-21 ... September Open House Semi-Canceled
Due to minor-emergency unscheduled maintenance work, we have to cancel the Open House of Sunday, 24 September.  If you already have plans to come, just give me a call and we can still make it work!

Next Open House is 29 October, just before Halloween.

2023-09-20 ... Anoraks ... and Test Denim Coming!
We now have in stock some FullWeight Drab Green Anoraks tailored by Factory8. Alex picked them up yesterday. Sizes XXSmall up to Medium. Also XLarge. Large sold out in advance, but we have more Drab Green Anoraks coming soon (tailors have been working for a long time!), both FullWeight and MidWeight, all sizes. Any other Fabric is a few months away, although we are (always!) trying to make things happen as fast as we can.

Arthur Lam, Fabric Designer at American Woolen, just gave me a casual look (photo) at the first test pieces of WeatherWool Denim! We'll have about 40 yards (36 meters) here next week.

In September of 2023, WeatherWool began to experiment with 100% American, 100% Merino-Class Wool Denim. We are excited to learn the possibilities!!First look at WeatherWool 100% Wool Denim!

In the photo is Black Denim.

There will be more info on the Denim page. I'll try to get something useful there in the next couple of days. If we are happy with the denim, and we go into production, WOW, I am going to have to do a lot of writing and rewriting!!!

2023-09-19 ... Big Bellies and Great Timing
Yesterday, I heard from two women that the Anorak is great maternity wear!

Here is a photo I posted last summer just before my daughter-in-law, Carla, delivered her son Carter:

The side zips on Al’s Anorak from WeatherWool is a favorite for those who “concealed carry”.  But the side zips also provide extra room for another kind of concealed carry!

Carter was born in late summer, so Carla didn't wear the Anorak when she really needed the extra room.  So I joked about "concealed carry" when I posted this photo on the blog of 2022-07-21. But the women who wrote about (one even posted on Instagram!) the Anorak yesterday will be carrying into the cold weather and plan to wear the Anorak daily!  I guess we can also call it a "MamaRak".  The Instagram post was a "story", and I hope Cody or Denali will show me how I can link a story from here.

This morning I spoke with a "big belly" that I can identify with. Chris C called to tell me the XLarge Basic Vest he'd ordered was too small. But he is unwilling to go up to a 2X, so he is returning the Vest and instructed me to donate a WarriorWool Anorak to SEAL Team 8 instead of refunding him.  I got through to my contact in Team 8 immediately (surprise!) and we will send him an Anorak from today's pickup at Factory8! Great timing! As soon as we ship the Anorak, I'll update the Donations page.

2023-09-18 ... Production Timeline
Over the past couple of weeks I have had a bad miscommunication regarding delivery schedule of the Anoraks currently in production.  I thought they would be completed this week.  But now it seems I will be getting only a handful of them.  I apologize for misleading people regarding the delivery schedule.  If people want to cancel or change orders, just let me know.  We have not accepted advance payments except in a very few cases.  Although we appreciate and understand that many people would like to pay in advance, production timetables are too long and too shaky, and our policy of not accepting advance payments must remain. The only exceptions will be in cases where advance payment strongly facilitates our customer, such as when a receipt is needed for an insurance payment.

I have revised our Start-to-Finish timeline. We are running about 18 months from the purchase of raw wool until we can begin to offer the first finished garments from a Batch of Fabric. With such an extended timeline, we can't promise delivery dates until we have ready-to-ship pieces in our possession. I can only say we will continue to go as fast as we can, regardless of the calendar, and that we will look for ways to go faster.

2023-09-17 ... October Open House Reschedule ... FTC Rules
The October Open House has been rescheduled to October 29th because Alex and I will be in Vermont for the previously scheduled day. I guess we'll have some Halloween Candy on hand.

Occasionally someone will ask me about our compliance with FTC (America's Federal Trade Commission) rules for labeling our garments. It's relatively easy for us, near as I can tell, because our Fabric is always 100% wool. But, WOW! ... I'm looking over the FTC GUIDE --Threading Your Way Through the Labeling Requirements Under the Textile and Wool Acts -- and even that is complicated. The actual rules ... YIKES.

And this is completely separate from the TARIFFs that are applicable for importers. We don't import anything, so we don't need to worry about tariffs from that side, but we have customers in many countries, and they are seriously impacted by tariffs -- meaning the tariffs add a lot of extra cost. We have a little bit of info on this website, but the tariffs are, from my point of view, crazy complicated.

2023-09-16 ... Advisors Groo, Lawing and Olson
As mentioned in the previous entry, it had been a long time since I was in touch with Advisors Melissa Groo and Dane Lawing, both of whom do some serious Nature photo and video work.  I got through to them by text yesterday.  Dane sent his best wishes without telling me what he is up to.  Sometimes he is working on projects that his clients was to keep under wraps until release.  Melissa is currently "deep in the bush in Kenya".  Yesterday she was getting video of cheetahs and lions. Melissa will be within driving distance again before long, tho, and we will hopefully see her this year.  Dane is moving into my sister's neighborhood in a few months, so we should be able to sit down for a bit.

Yesterday, Advisor Jim Olson phoned me.  I hadn't spoken to Jim for two or three years.  So it was good to catch up!  Jim is now retired and has a lot more time for his outdoor pursuits.  We talked quite a while.  Jim likes his wool more than ever. (And he has quite a basis for comparison, as can be seen on his Advisor page.)  Jim sent me a couple of photos of his old WeatherWool. They've never seemed to get dirty, so Jim has never laundered them.. He merely puts them out in the fresh air once a year.

Advisor Jim Olson sent us a couple of photos in 2023 to show his 8-year old CPO that has been worn hundreds of times and his 5-year old All-Around Jacket that has been in rough field conditions about 100 times.  Unless inspected closely, neither shows any wear.  Also, Jim has never seen a need to clean them. He just airs them out every fall.

Above and below ... Advisor Jim Olson just sent a couple of photos of his 8-year old CPO that has been worn hundreds of times and his 5-year old All-Around Jacket that has been in rough field conditions about 100 times.  Unless inspected closely, neither shows any wear.  Also, Jim has never seen a need to clean them. He just airs them out every fall.  Jim particularly likes the Double Hood (not in photo). Jim just ordered another AAJ and Double Hood, this time in Drab Green.

Advisor Jim Olson sent us a couple of photos in 2023 to show his 8-year old CPO that has been worn hundreds of times and his 5-year old All-Around Jacket that has been in rough field conditions about 100 times.  Unless inspected closely, neither shows any wear.  Also, Jim has never seen a need to clean them. He just airs them out every fall. 

2023-09-14 ... Puma, Sheep, Dogs
Shepherds have been defending their sheep against predators for thousands of years. Predators are the biggest problem faced by the Ranchers with whom we work. Listed alphabetically ... bears, bobcats, cougars, coyotes, crows, eagles, vultures, wolves. Crows and vultures were quite a surprise to me. And I didn't expect Golden Eagles to be a serious problem either, but they are the worst threat in some parts of Wyoming.

Here is a link to some remarkable footage of guard dogs in Patagonia chasing off a cougar. The footage, taken at night with thermal imaging, is so perfect it makes me suspicious. But National Geographic is known for THE BEST photography ... THANKS to Nat Geo and Live Science, the excerpting service that sent the link to my inbox this morning.

And a great bit of dialogue ... It's a winter scene, cold. One of the photographers remarks that he wishes his coat were as warm as that worn by the sheep and the dogs!!

We love that two of our Advisors, Melissa Groo and Dane Lawing, do a lot of photography/videography for Nat Geo! This reminds me I haven't spoken with either of them in much too long ... If I remember correctly, Nat Geo has sent Melissa to Patagonia to photograph cougars ...

2023-09-13 ... Spinning
One of the steps in making our Fabric is the spinning of yarn. Actually, TWO STEPS, given that we use both woolen (I know, crazy terminology because we are ALL wool) and worsted yarns.

I've just updated the page on Spinning with some intro info, and a link to a great video. There is a library's worth of info on spinning easily available on the web, so our spinning page has only a little intro material and a little bit of info that is particular to WeatherWool. The main thing unusual about our spinning is that even our woolen-spun yarns have always used fiber that would normally be used only for worsted spinning.

2023-09-12 ... WOOL PRIMER
BIG THANKS to Customer Rick Pierson, who sent us this great booklet yesterday!!

WeatherWool really appreciates the old WOOL PRIMER published in 1948 by Botany Mills of Passaic, New Jersey, a town only a short drive from WeatherWool Headquarters.

 A WOOL PRIMER was published in 1948 (75 years ago!) by Botany Mills of Passaic, New Jersey.  Passaic is about 10 miles (16 km) from here, so … pretty-much in our back yard.

Botany states the establishment of their company in 1889 transformed Passaic from an agricultural area into the center of America’s fine woolens industry. Driving through Passaic now, the old industry is evident, particularly along the Passaic River. The agriculture is long gone, but that’s typical of the parts of New Jersey that are near to NYC or Philadelphia.

The Botany label is the signature which we place proudly on all Botany fabrics.  It is a guarantee of our integrity in dealing with our customers, the American public. A couple of quotes:

We make fabrics which are necessary to the health, the comfort and the appearance of 90 per cent of the people of the country throughout the year.


In the selection of all our materials and equipment, we give preference to products of American origin because we regard it as our duty to support our American economy to the utmost by spending in our own markets the money the people entrust to us.  There is a further, very practical, reason.  Knowledge and experience have taught us that except for a few specialties, peculiar to their countries of origin, American product have no peer anywhere in the world.

Because wool is so vitally important to the health and comfort of every man, woman, and child in the country, we have prepared this Primer in the hope that it will be read with interest by people of all ages, but especially by children and students.

Some interesting statements from The Primer:

  • Worldwide wool production was about 3 billion pounds (1.34 billion kg) in 1948 and, according to IWTO, about 4.3 billion pounds (1.95 billion kg) now.      World population was about 2.5 billion in 1951, and about 8 billion now.  So, world population has more than tripled, with wool production is up less than 50%.  From my point of view (wishing people used more wool), this is dismal, but not nearly as dismal as I’d expected based on what I see people wearing here in the USA.
  • In medieval times, it was an offense punishable by death to export a sheep from the British Isles.  Spain famously prohibited export of Merino sheep until (various stories exist) the breed became established elsewhere.
  • In 1948, the USA was the 3rd largest wool producer.  Now, the top ten are (depending on source) China, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, UK, Morocco, Iran, Russia, South Africa, India.  Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Argentina and Uzbekistan also product more wool than the USA.
  • The USA was the largest consumer (per capita) of fine wool for apparel.
  • All the sources claim that wool can absorb water up to 30% of its weight without feeling wet, and so does the Primer.  But it also states wool can absorb 50% of its weight before it is saturated. This “30%” number is so often quoted that I’ve become suspicious of it and I hope/plan to test it myself.  I would guess the number to be higher, at least if starting with truly dry wool.
  • Lack of good wool clothing resulted in more World War II German casualties in the Russian campaign than did bullets or bombs.

In 1954, controlling interest in Botany was sold, and by 1955 Botany was no longer involved in wool, fabric or apparel.

2023-09-10 ... “Saw it in Afghanistan” … “They Want to Touch Lynx”
A little while ago we got an order from a guy who said he first became familiar with WeatherWool in Afghanistan. There are hundreds of people wearing WarriorWool now, and so we've heard from many people who became familiar with us as a result of Military service. But it still amazes me!

The "Our Colors" page on this website describes our colors (duh!). It felt both necessary and a little strange to update the Lynx Pattern info with what almost amounts to a warning … I think at least 10 guys have told me they have been approached by strangers – usually women – because they are wearing Lynx Pattern.  The strangers want to know about the Fabric, and they want to touch it.  Before we went into full production with Lynx, we’d tested it enough in places like shopping malls to know that it was well-accepted in public.  But still, we are surprised, amused, pleased by some of the reports:

  • One guy told me he was approached – in one day! -- by three separate women (all of them complete strangers)
  • Another customer had been wanting to wear his Lynx someplace swanky, but was concerned it wouldn’t be accepted. He initially thought his fears were confirmed when the host stared at him and immediately approached. But the host said something like NICE JACKET!
  • Brad Veis, world-traveling video pro, tells me the only problem with Lynx is that strangers keep asking to touch it. I've heard this from others, too
  • A caller was interested in Lynx, but had some reservations about public acceptance. I told him the only problem would be that he'd be noticed. He said he's a preacher, and that he's used to attention. He called again months later, ordered some more wool, and affirmed that his Lynx had attracted a lot of positive attention, completely consistent with being a preacher. I should find out if he wears Lynx in the pulpit.
  • Way back in about 2015, an outdoorsman wanted to get a Lynx All-Around Jacket, but was reluctant because he also wanted to wear the wool as his winter coat going to and from work as a lawyer in DC and NYC. He said his colleagues and clients would DISLIKE anything that suggested guns, hunting, Military ... I told him "social acceptance testing" is an important part of overall testing, and that any of our garments that fails testing should be returned for a full refund. He called back a couple of months later, saying the Lynx was admired and accepted everywhere. He even said he'd been on a corporate cruise on a wintry Chesapeake Bay, and not only been among the few who were comfortable in the weather, but women on the cruise asked who designed the Jacket! (The Other Ralph!)
  • Advisor Ron Spomer and Mrs Betsy were in a supermarket. While they were briefly separated, an unknown woman approached Ron, chatting up the AAJ. Betsy's return put a sudden end to the conversation.

2023-09-09 Again ... Garden State Sheep Show
New Jersey has a long agricultural tradition, and I have always assumed that's why our license plates say "The Garden State". Winters are relatively mild, summers are warm and somewhat wet. Jersey has plenty of water. We really never have a drought.

There are quite a few people with sheep here, but I think all the flocks are on the small side, at least in comparison with the ranches from which we source.

But there is a Garden State Sheep Breeders Association, and their annual Sheep Show and Fiber Festival began today and continues tomorrow. We normally visit for a couple of hours and it's always a pleasure to see so many people -- particularly the youngsters -- and their animals. And there is some truly beautiful fleece, but all of it pointed toward the hobby trade.

WeatherWool attends the New Jersey Sheep and Fiber Festival annually, presented by the Garden State Sheep Breeders. We love seeing the youngsters and their animals, and we are continually impressed by the beauty of the fleeces presented, particularly the Natural Colored!



2023-09-09 ... @RoughAndStumble is On The Trail!
(Following from the entry of 2 August.)

And they're off!! The journey has begun! Tom, Sascha and Angel will be posting updates to @RoughAndStumble, their Instagram account. The first photo on the page is "pinned", which means (Denali just told me) that photo will stay where it is, and the second photo will be the newest.

About two months ago we were contacted by a gent who is undertaking a fundraising adventure on behalf of Australia's Riding for the Disabled Association. Tom Mullinar, his wife, Sascha Yeomans, and Sascha's son, Angel Cropley, intend to complete, on horseback, Australia's National Trail. Australian TV created a video, linked from the family's @roughandstumble Instagram account, describing their plan. The National Trail is 5330 km (3313 miles) long. Nature will present a great many obstacles! This will definitely be the biggest adventure for anything from the Lending Library, and probably the longest single outing ever undertaken in WeatherWool!

 In late 2023, Tom Mullinar, Sascha Yeomans and Angel Cropley will begin a horseback trip with the goal of completing Australia’s 5330 kilometer (3313 miles).  With them will be some WeatherWool. They will document their trip on their Instagram account. Tom, Sascha and Angel are riding to raise money for Australia’s Riding for the Disabled Association.



2023-09-08 ... "I Don't Care" and 'Wool White'
Not long ago I posted a photo of a customer and myself on the front porch. I liked the photo, but I knew I was asking for trouble because the photo showed some wood-rot at the edge of the porch. Debby knew about the wood-rot, she doesn't miss anything like that. BUT, seeing it on the website put a bee in her bonnet. And while the porch is getting a little facelift, it only makes sense to paint the showroom ... (Debby's perspective!)

Debby loves TV Shows about home improvement, re-design, painting, decorating ... there are dozens of them.  It's kind of amazing to me.  I think there is actually a dedicated channel ... One of those shows portrayed the usual setup ... wife and husband remodeling their home.  But the husband is a guy I used to work with! The home-improvement guy, the host of the show, is discussing all sorts of stuff with Mrs Clifford. And he wants input from Cliff, but Mrs Clifford explains ... "He doesn't care."

Debby CARES! There is no detail that she does not care about! And she knows that I'm in Cliff's camp. I can't really imagine Debby would do something that would bother me enough to object. But of course, she asked me if I had any preference for the paint color of the showroom.

Back on TV with Cliff, the host of the show and Mrs Clifford really want Cliff to choose something. They decide Cliff should choose the gravel that will go under the trash cans inside the trash-can enclosure (fencing surrounded by bushes!) next to the driveway. Mrs Clifford figures she can live with whatever Cliff comes up with, and he will have played a part. So Cliff goes off to the stoneyard, and Mrs Clifford predicts "He's just going to pick the first thing he sees." Sure enough, Cliff looks around for a couple of seconds ..."That stuff's good" ... and that was it for Cliff.

Cliff was more involved than me. Debby asked if I thought she should select a paint color that "went with" our wool. Sure ... it's the showroom (once known as our living room). Debby goes to the paint store with a sample of our Natural White Undyed Fabric!! I thought that was a little weird. HA! ... Debby came home with some Behr "Wool White" paint!

2023-09-07 ... Tonight's Mountain Men on History Channel ... Work Vehicle
A few  years ago, Debby decided my beloved 2003 Chevy Avalanche was too far gone to keep around. I really didn't care about all the body-rot. Blackie was still running great, with tremendous power. But, My Girl doesn't INSIST all that often, so ...  Not long before Blackie was sent off to a premature junkyard, Alex had purchased a used Nissan Titan. I think it had around 114,000 miles (around 182,000 km) on it. That truck has really performed so far ... now with about 180,000 miles (288,000 km). Blackie had about 270,000 (432,000). We try to buy American, but I hear that's become -- with autos anyway -- almost impossible/meaningless these days ... that parts are made everywhere, and that the most-American motor vehicles are made by Japanese companies operating in the USA.

This morning, we needed to get a few hundred yards of FullWeight Drab Green Batch 8 Fabric to Factory8 in NYC (making Basic Vests, Mouton Jackets, Mouton Vests, Mouton Hoods, SkiJacs, North Maine Double Coats). We also need to bring a bunch of other items necessary to make the garments, plus about 15 large corrugated boxes. The truck handled all of it without straining capacity at all. The back half of the cab, with seats raised, can hold about 200 yards (180 meters) of FullWeight Fabric. So we can ignore bad weather in many cases. Rain was not an issue today ... HEAT! Maybe the hottest day of the summer. A good morning to be up with the sun, and loading. Even at 7:30 AM, the sun was strong. But with the Fabric loaded, we finished the load with odds and ends while the truck was parked in the shade. And I let Alex handle the midtown Manhattan delivery and pickup. We now have in stock Basic Vests in MidWeight Drab Green Fabric. This is the first time we've made the Basic Vests in MidWeight.

 Alex about to deliver a load of Fabric and Notions to Factory8 in the Garment District of New York City

Alex will usually frown when I want him to smile!

This afternoon History Channel sent out their mail-list update, and it was nice to see WeatherWool front and center! If you click over to the Mountain Men page, there is info about how we ("organically" is the term-of-art) came to be on TV.

Multiple outdoor professionals involved with History Channel's hit series MOUNTAIN MEN choose WeatherWool

The episode featured in today's email will air tonight.
(Wish it was not opposite the season-opener of NFL Football.)

2023-09-06 ... Keeping US Wool at Home
About 87% of wool grown in the USA is exported. And some of it comes back to us as finished clothing. But many of us who are involved in US wool are trying to process more American wool in America. (WeatherWool is always 100% USA.) To that end, yesterday we had a nice first talk with Whit and Lindsay Stewart from the Wyoming Wool Initiative. We spoke about the same subject yesterday with Jacob Long, proprietor of American Woolen, our primary mill. Jacob and Whit have seen a bunch of Wyoming together this summer. Coincidentally, Ben Hostetler of Mountain Meadow Wool in Buffalo, Wyoming sent us a nice note yesterday. Debby and I visited Ben a few years ago while in Wyoming to see our son, Zack, who lives in Casper.

Keeping substantially more of our wool at home is going to be an uphill battle. But there don't seem to be many "downhill battles". Interestingly, our customers in Australia tell me almost none of their wool is processed in Australia. Prices of American wool are based on the price of similar-class wool in Australia. And the Australian price is mostly based on what China, the biggest buyer, is paying.

2023-09-05 ... Again
At the end of today's original Blog is a link to an Instagram post from the International Wool Trade Organization. They publish a lot of information about wool, and we really appreciate that. I guess we are too small to join, or maybe they did not see my email. But their efforts on behalf of wool are great, and it was that Instagram post that made me aware of wool denim. THANKS! As for the rest of that IWTO post, I'll just say "To each his own" ...

2023-09-05 ... Season Reckonings ... Basic Vests in Drab Green (& Denim?)
In most of the USA, and in New Jersey, for sure, Labor Day (first Monday in September) marks the psychological end of Summer and the start of Autumn. And not so long ago I learned that meteorologists also reckon the seasons a little differently than the astronomers. In the Northern Hemisphere, the meteorologists go with:

  • Winter:  December, January, February
  • Spring:  March, April, May
  • Summer:  June, July, August
  • Autumn:  September, October, November

There are many other seasonal perspectives ... lambing season, shearing season, construction seasons, painting seasons, planting seasons, racing seasons ...

Again, speaking from the Northern Hemisphere perspective, we have wool-clothing seasons ... Summer, however delineated, sees the least interest in woolens. People start thinking about wool in late August, and interest picks up steadily through year-end. Interest will slowly drop off from January through March, leading to the summer lows.

It's a little different with WeatherWool, though, because our production cycle is so long and we have so many backorders. We tend to make garments as quickly as we can, and, in terms of filling orders, our busy-times are whenever the tailors finish work on a production run.

This week, Factory8 is scheduled to complete our first run of MidWeight Drab Green Basic Vests. This is the first time we've made the Basic Vest in a MidWeight Fabric. We'll make this Vest in all our Fabrics, as Fabric becomes available.
I hope to also offer the Basic Vest in 100% Wool WeatherWool Denim. We expect the first small amounts of test Denim this month. The test Denim is being made from the same Batch 9 fiber we're using for our FullWeight and MidWeight Fabrics. . If the Denim passes testing, we'll make more ... and I'll be adding info on Denim to this website.
Incidentally, I had thought (without actually thinking about it!!) that DENIM is a heavy cotton fabric. And it usually is. But DENIM IS ACTUALLY A WEAVE, and denim can be made from any fiber, although the name has become so strongly associated with cotton that some sources will define it that way. Our Denim will be 100% wool, or there will not be any WeatherWool Denim.

2023-09-04 ... Blog 2023, Part Two ... Fabric Weights Again
As of today, the 2023 Blog exceeds the single-page size-limit imposed by Shopify, the platform upon which this site rests. So ... Blog 2023, Part Two is necessary.

On 28 August, I wrote about the confusing ways in which the weights of woolens are quoted. I've been corresponding with a gent who has been asking various makers of woolen clothing to explain exactly what is meant by their quoted fabric weights. The most amusing response he got was "That's proprietary." My correspondent has kindly permitted me (THANK YOU!!) to quote an exchange he had with one maker. I've XXXXed out names to avoid potential antipathy.

Hi Ralph

This is a part of the response I received from a nice young lady I asked about how they determined the weight of their merino wool pants—which they advertised as 21oz wool:

“Our merino wool is calculated in LINEAR yard, which is 21 oz per yard (Fabric roll width x yard, in this case 61’’ x 36’’), which makes it approximately 12.4 oz per square yard. I find it unlikely that a woolen product would weigh 26 to 28 oz per square yard because it would be uncomfortably heavy. We produce coveralls that are extremely heavy duty, and heavy to…”

I found several points quite interesting. Firstly, she acknowledges, perhaps unwittingly, that XXXX’s advertised weight of 21oz is highly, and likely intentionally misleading, in that the actual weight, when figured in oz/sq yd is 12.4. She rationalizes this by saying a heavier weight pant would be uncomfortably heavy to wear-though it is still perfectly fine for the consumer to think they are getting a heavier wool.

Finally, again honestly, but again probably unintentionally, she exposes the North American industry wide—with a few notable exceptions— “scandal” of intentionally misleading the public about their products. She seems quite unaware when commenting on YYYY's 24 and 26 oz weight “ZZZZZ” wool, that her company is engaging in a similar practice. It is also instructive to know that their standard weight of 12.4 oz is only a little over half of their advertised weight of 21 oz. Makes me wonder how much lighter the YYYY ZZZZZ 26 oz wool would be in oz/sq yd…maybe 14-15 oz? No wonder they consider that proprietary information. There is no doubt the 19 oz/sq yd WeatherWool would feel considerably heavier and warmer.

Just for fun, I hope to stop in at YYYY's flagship store in [American City] when there for the wedding and chat with them about their products. Certainly, I would like to see and handle their ZZZZZ wool in person.

Bent your ear quite a bit but I thought a direct admission of how, at least this one company, knowingly provides misleading product information might be interesting in light of our discussion.

YES! ... Definitely interesting ... and this confusing, misleading information (dis-information) style has been standard practice in the USA for decades, at least.

We try to present clear information here. Debby tells me I get too far into the weeds, and it's boring. But she said this was not boring.