Happy New Year
We hope you all had a lovely Christmas break and wish you a Happy New Year from MFWY HQ!
Thank you to all our customers for your continued support during 2018. We have had a busy year with new stock arriving, welcoming customers old and new to the website, our home or when we have been out and about.
As well as being an official agent for Ashford looms and accessories for some years now, we were delighted and excited to be appointed dealers for Toika looms and equipment from Finland earlier this year. Toika celebrated 120 years in business in 2018 being the first company in Finland to manufacture metal reeds. Now in the hands of the 5th generation of the same family we are hoping to get the brand better known in the UK, as well as offering the same level of service and support customers have come to expect from MFWY. I took a training trip to Finland in September where I learnt lots about the products but have been weaving on a Toika computer loom for some time now. Over the last 20 years or so I have used many makes and designs of loom, trying to become a better weaver in the process but I’m still learning, so I will always give you an honest opinion or answer based on what I know from experience as well as the pros and cons and different of brands and types of looms that I am familiar with.
We have a floor, table and electronic floor loom available here for you to try without obligation here in Lutterworth, (5mins from J20 M1) and as well as the Toika range we can happily show you the range of rigid heddle, table looms, and accessories from Ashford. Although we don't have space for another floor loom at present you can expect the same unbiased information and advice from a weaver who uses these products. Ashford products will be joining Toika in the loom web shop just as soon as I can get them added, but do ring or email if you would like further information when we can also give you accurate details on stock availability and lead times. We don't have a shop but this means we can usually accommodate visits at weekends as well as during the week and outside of our normal opening times by mutual agreement but please do not travel without making an appointment to visit first as we may not be here.
Pop Up Shop and Website
We decided last year that it was no longer practical to attend the major fibre shows, instead concentrating on Guild visits and events with our pop up yarn shop. However because we want to show off Toika looms, and equipment we have made an exception this year by applying for space at the Association of Weavers Spinners and Dyers Summer School in August with Toika and Ashford equipment only. We can bring prepaid yarn orders for collection, but there won't be a yarn shop. Our current confirmed calendar for 2019 is at the end of this newsletter. This also includes our planned holidays and breaks booked so far as well as confirmed events. If we are both going a banner at the top of the website will advise that we are closed and when orders will be processed.
We have had new yarns, looms and equipment delivered and made a start on the My Fine Weaving Looms website, but due to various domestic commitments and interruptions we haven't been able to get as much of this done as we had hoped but work continues to get it up and running with Ashford Looms and equipment included too. You can always phone or email us, we are always pleased to hear from you.
Another diversion for MFWY has been to look into stocking a very small range of books I think they are excellent additions to any weaver’s library.
Firstly Warping on a Shoestring and other speed warping techniques by Nadine Sanders aka the Singing Weaver. Nadine is the Guardian of this technique and travels across the USA teaching this method of warping your loom. Her book and DVD give very clear instructions on the technique, which certainly speed up the process. As you need a pair of shoelaces for each inch of warp width I realised that this would be an expensive outlay for purchasers of the book, as they are far more expensive than I had realised! Looking into the possibility of purchasing wholesale I discovered a small family firm in Leicester only 12 miles from here where I was able to visit and arrange to have the 'shoestrings' custom made. It was fascinating to see the array of over 250 braiding and weaving machines in action making shoelaces of course but other items such as the red emergency pull cords used in public loos, elastics, bungees and many other braids and ribbons they produce as well as support a small UK family business. Once I have the book and DVD ready for the web shop there will be an option to purchase sets of shoelaces at the same time. Nadine supports herself through her weaving and teaching so I feel it is only fair to offer the shoelace sets to purchasers of the DVD or book only. Nadine also specialises in the Theo Moorman technique and has written an excellent book on the topic. This also includes very clear instruction, pictures and diagrams. If this is a technique you have wanted to try I would recommend the book as an excellent source of information.
Our second additions to the bookshelf are two books written by Joanne Hall an American Weaver and Teacher with a special interest in Swedish weaving. We have in stock both of her titles.
Learning to Warp your Loom and Tying up the Countermarch Loom. Both have excellent written instructions and lots of explanatory diagrams. I only wish I had access to these books when I bought my first floor loom, which I now realise, was incorrectly tied up! If you have struggled with your tie-ups these books will help you get your loom properly set up and continue to be a useful reference.
The last addition for the time being is a super little book, 18 Towels on Four Warps, One Tie-up by Carol Berry. The book gives threading and colour suggestions to make 18 different towels using just the one tie up. It's a great primer for setting out to weave with a little bit of instruction but at the same time encouraging you to try out different colour and threading combinations. Turned twill is a classic design that can look much more complex than it is to weave and will lend itself to far more than just towels. To make the towels you will need an 8 shaft loom with a minimum weaving width of 24" (60cm).
Toika reeds have arrived in a small range of lengths and setts and will be in the shop soon. They will fit most makes of floor and table loom but also can be supplied to order in specific sizes in either metric or imperial dent setts too. Competitively priced we are stocking stainless steel reeds as standard but plain carbon steel and full metal profile reeds can be supplied to order if required.
As well as looms, equipment, reeds and books we have added some new yarns to our ranges this year. As well as continuing to stock your well loved favourites, speaking of which we have some lovely super wash space dyed wool from Jaggerspun which, along with coordinating solid shades is next up to land in the shop, just as soon as I finish this newsletter!
The range of mercerised cotton and more recently cottolin from Claes Hedstrom's Garnhuset in Sweden has been very popular and we will continue to increase the cottolin colour range from this company this year too. We have sourced beautiful linen, 8/4 mercerised cotton, rug and mop cotton from other companies in Sweden and Finland too. As well as offering superb quality and excellent value for money it feels better to be sourcing yarns from closer to home whenever we can and reducing some of the air miles that some of our products require to meet our weaving wishes. We will continue to explore possible new additions from these companies and others and will let you know when we find something new.
We are expecting delivery in the new year of some lovely wool spun at new Lanark Mill in Scotland. Blended and spun on restored heritage textile machinery at the UNESCO World Heritage site at New Lanark from British wool. There will be more information on sett, finishing etc on the website once it arrives and is available in the web shop.
There will be some price rises across the range in February. We have done our best to keep prices as low as we can but manufacturer price increases, rises in shipping costs as well as the continuing volatility of the pound against both the Euro and the Dollar really impact on our small business. We don't expect things to change much in the coming months but hope that things will begin to settle down after March. We will only apply price increases where they have been passed on to us and will always do our best to be as competitive as possible. If our yarns are showing as in stock, they are in stock, here, and ready to be despatched often on the same day as you order and rarely later than next working day if that hasn't been possible. We will always notify you with a banner at the top of each page of the website if we are closed and when to expect despatch of orders.
Wishing you all our best wishes for a happy and healthy 2019 full of weaving pleasures!
Helen and John
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