Nestled in the Matanuska Valley just north of Palmer, Alaska, you’ll find a sprawling, 75-acre Musk Ox Farm – a project steeped in uniqueness and intrigue. A nonprofit organization, it was founded in the 1950s by John Teal Jr., an anthropologist and arctic explorer. Teal’s vision to domesticate musk oxen within the regions they were indigenous was not only an attempt to demonstrate that farming a geographically appropriate animal was a more sustainable agricultural practice, but could also boost local economies by providing Alaskan artisans the materials necessary to make knitted goods through harvesting the animals’ [qiviut] underwool.
The qiviut we offer here is handknitted into scarves and caps by the Eskimo women of the Oomingmak Musk Ox Producers’ Co-operative in Alaska.
We have added two items this year that will bring you warmth for this fall and winter.
The lambswool scarf is woven in a number of traditional Scottish tartans. The scarf is 10 inches wide by 70 inches in length with a three inch fringe at each end. It is made of 100% Merino lambswool.
The scarf is made in Yorkshire, by the Highland Tweeds Mill that was established in 1837. At its height in the 19th Century Yorkshire was the world’s leading manufacturer of woolen textiles, helped by the secret ingredient of soft Pennine water. The invention of synthetic yarn in the 20th Century led to a decline in the woolen industry and only the mills supplying the highest quality woolen cloth have survived.
The Highland Tweeds Mill is one of Great Britain’s last remaining vertical woolen mills. Each floor contains a separate part of the manufacturing process, allowing quality control of every stage of production, from raw wool to finished product. This includes dyeing, blending, carding, spinning, warping, weaving and finishing.
The next item is our Dash Fingerless Mittens. These Fingerless Mittens, like our Fingerless Gloves, are designed to keep your fingers available for working while keeping the rest of your hands toasty warm. 40% possum fur, 50% Merino wool and 10% nylon. One size fits most.
With the ongoing pandemic, we wish to share with you how we are faring, and what we continue to do to minimize the impact on our customers.
Holiday Shopping: We encourage you to shop early for your holiday gifts. Delivery times have been extended by the USPS and UPS. Although most of products are well stocked, some vendors continue to see pandemic-related delays. Those who shop early will have the best selection, without the worry of delayed last-minute deliveries.
Please note that our guarantee of satisfaction allows returns and exchanges for 90 days after purchase for items in unused condition with all tags. You can purchase holiday gifts now, with confidence as the recipient will be able to return or exchange gifts through January, if needed. This is the same guarantee we’ve stood by for more than 50 years.
Extended Hours: We will be working Saturdays in November and December until Christmas, ensuring your orders are processed as quickly as possible.
Retail Store: Unfortunately, the pandemic still precludes opening our retail store at this time. We will re-open as soon as we are confident we can do so safely.
Curbside Order Pick-up: We are now offering curbside order pick-up for our customers living in the greater Seattle area. Please call us at 425-485-2132 or check our Retail Store page for further information.
Fall Favorites: Our Lambswool Scarf is selling well this fall, along with our woolen sweaters and accessories by Devold and Lothlorian.
Thank you for your patience and for your ongoing support of our small family-owned business during these extraordinary times.
Why is the fabric in our Frost River bags so strong? There are several reasons. Frost River gets their fabric from Fairfield Textile, a US company in Bridgeton, NJ. The fabric is imported from India, but the remaining work is done in the USA. The cotton is mercerized, a process that makes the fabric very tough. Mercerized cotton also allows excellent dye penetration and breatheability.
Then Fairfield hands over the fabric to the Martin Corporation for finishing. Martin Corp prepares and dyes the fabric, applies the water repellent treatment or Martexin Original Wax finish, and finally inspects and packs the rolls for final sale and shipment. All aspects of dyeing and finishing are handled in house, in Bridgeton NJ. The Martin family has been involved in the dyeing and finishing of textiles in the United States since 1838. The current owners are the 7th generation to run the company. In the 1930s, they patented Martexin. The Martexin formula consists of food and pharmaceutical grade waxes, and is completely non-hazardous.
Martin Corp does not provide this finish to any other customers, and Fairfield does not have any other stocking distributors of Martexin Original Wax. Fairfield Textile does not purchase and re-sell any pre-dyed, imported fabrics.
Martexin Original Wax is a highly specialized textile that precludes normal cleaning. Just as you wouldn’t wash a leather product such as shoes, gloves, or jackets, you won’t be able to wash or dry clean your Martexin Original Wax. Wax fabrics have been successfully used for many years without washing. A periodic cleaning with a hose, damp cloth is all that is needed. Bare areas can be refinished with our Martexin Original Wax refinishing compound which can help restore the wax finish. This is all you need to keep your bag resistant to inclement weather.
Over time, you’ll find the fabric gets a patina that complements the bag. Just like leather, you’ll grow more proud of your bag over time, and you’ll find that the person you pass it down to will be just as happy. You’ll find the bag lasts for generations.
David Morgan is pleased to partner with Cavin Richie in offering the Conservancy in Bronze jewelry — jewelry specifically designed to benefit organizations dedicated to preserving and creating habitat for threatened and endangered wildlife. With Cavin’s retirement from production work, he is now able to pursue this passion, using his artistic skills to benefit the wildlife he loves.
A substantial portion of the proceeds from each Conservancy in Bronze sale will be donated to the designated organization.
Swinging Chimp Jewelry:
Swinging Chimp Pendant. Bronze. Designed by Cavin Richie, made in USA.
A substantial portion (40%) of the proceeds from the sale of this swinging chimpanzee will be donated to the Jane Goodall Institute (JGI). The Jane Goodall Institute is a global nonprofit organization focused on inspiring individual action to improve the understanding, welfare and conservation of great apes and to safeguard the planet we all share. To learn more please visit her site.
Cavin has been enamored with the exploits of Jane Goodall his entire life. She started his path to species and habitat conservation and her life long dedication to the great apes has really made a difference.
Honey Bee Jewelry:
Honey Bee Pendant, Bronze. Designed by Cavin Richie, made in USA
A substantial portion of the proceeds from the sale of this Honey Bee Pendant will be donated to Friends of the Earth. Friends of the Earth was selected by Cavin to receive the proceeds because of their tireless efforts to support honey bees and other polinators. To learn more please visit their site.
Peace Globe Pendant, Bronze. Designed by Cavin Richie, made in USA
A substantial portion of the proceeds from the sale of this Peace Globe Pendant will be donated to Earthjustice. Earthjustice is dedicated to litigating environmental issues “because the earth needs a good lawyer”. Earthjustice is the largest nonprofit environmental organization and is the legal backbone that unites many environmental groups free of charge. In a country with strong environmental laws, Earthjustice holds those who break our nations laws accountable for their actions. To learn more please visit their site.
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected Akubra’s manufacturing in Australia. In order to ensure a successful path forward once this challenge has passed, Akubra is reducing the number of styles offered until further notice. Our lead time in obtaining Akubras is around five to six months, and these changes will affect our fall and winter hat selection.
Two of the styles we are unlikely to be able to stock fully for our fall and winter season are the Sydney and the Hampton. We are offering our remaining stock of these two styles at a great price.
The Sydney is the first Akubra city hat we offered. This open crown hat is made from a slightly softer felt than our other Akubras, and is easily shaped. The most common bash for this style is a Fedora bash. If you’ve been contemplating buying an open crown hat, now is an excellent opportunity to do so. We provide instructions on bashing your open crown hat in our hat manual (included with each Akubra) and online. For those who desire more help, we do offer a Custom Bash service.
Sydney Hat by Akubra, Fedora Bash
The Hampton is another city hat, pre-creased with a center dent. This hat is the narrowest brim Akubra we offer, measuring just 1-3/4 inches, and is an easy choice for people who like to wear a hat in and out of a car. Both the Sydney and Hampton are fully lined.
Our Spring/Summer 2020 catalog is now available as a pdf. You can download or view the catalog here.
Normally, you’d be receiving a printed copy of the catalog in your mailbox about this time. The COVID-19 disruptions started just as we were finalizing our spring catalog. Without knowing how the disruptions would affect us, we chose not to print. At the same time, we chose to hold all pricing in our Fall and Winter 2019/2020 catalog through the summer. Although our retail store is temporarily closed, we are able to take orders online or by phone. Most items are in stock, although our spring shipment of Darwin Panamas and Panama Fedoras has been delayed and some sizes are back ordered. Other summer hats such as the Hemp Balmoral are in good supply.
Balmoral Hemp Hat by Akubra
Our catalog, which we publish just twice a year, also gives us the opportunity to alert our customers to changes. This spring brings a bittersweet change, with Judie Gumm retiring. We have carried Judie Gumm’s Alaskan jewelry for more than 30 years. We are sad to lose this collection but wish Judie and her husband Richard a wonderful retirement. Our remaining Judie Gumm lost wax castings, made in Alaska, are available here until sold out.
With the current COVID-19 disruptions, we are operating with minimal staffing but still able to process and ship most online, phone and mail orders within one to two business days. We follow CDC and Washington state suggested best practices, and are fortunate to have a work environment that is easily cleaned with good social distancing. Our retail store in Bothell, Washington is closed until Washington state allows us to re-open.
The worldwide pandemic has affected our ability to keep some products in stock. This past week we finally received a large shipment of Akubra hats, some of which were originally expected back in January. Delayed by global shipping disruptions, we were very pleased to have these hats! We still have a few outages, awaiting our next shipments, but most styles are well stocked, including the Kiandra.
Spring is here, and with it Panama hat season. Unfortunately our spring order has been delayed by the COVID-19 closures and we are out of stock of some sizes, in particular of our Darwin Panama, a customer favorite. We hope to receive these hats mid-May. Orders can be placed now – we will keep you updated if further delays occur and won’t charge your credit card until we ship. If you have immediate need of a Panama or straw hat, please consider our Gambler Panama, the Vented Panama and Featherweight Panama by Mayser, and Akubra’s Hemp Balmoral.
We thank our vendors, many like us small, family-owned businesses, for adapting to these unprecedented times. And we thank you, our customers, for your patience and understanding. We hope life gets back to normal soon.