Thursday, October 18, 2007

Unusual Towel Exchange, Woven Labels and Loom Trouble

There is this big wind storm going on outside. Hopefully I won't lose power. The beautiful towel I received from Maureen McGuinness acts as the backdrop for my part of the exchange. Several months ago Maureen (long before the towel exchange) asked me if I had any of my wrapped silk brooches for sale. Alas, I had stopped making them because they were just too labor intense (and I am on this new kick to stop cranking out "stuff"). When Maureen sent me this lovely towel, I asked her if she would rather have a brooch in exchange. She examined some pictures on my website and gave me an idea of the size and colors she liked. I will ship it off today. Maureen is going to send me another towel sometime in the future so that I will also send her a towel.
My only requirement for the towel is some sort of label, so I can remember whose towel I am using. When I first decided (back in the 80's) I needed some sort of label, I hand printed them. I do not have any examples of that label. I began searching for a label company that would produce a custom woven label in reasonable small quantities. I went to the library and searched through the Thomas Registry (now available on line). At that time I found only 6 companies and wrote to them all. Of the 6, only the Minnewawa Label Company in Knoxville Tennessee produced a label that met my requirements. The top label was my first 1000 labels. They lasted me about 10 years. I had a friend redesign the label and ordered another 1000. (the middle label) They took me through the 90's. When I went to order another 1000, I discovered the Minnewawa Label Company was no longer there. I went on line and began another search and found ITC Labels(bottom label) I wish the label was more satiny, but the great part about this company is you can order as few or as many labels as you wish. Plus they send you a sample and you sign off on it before they make the labels.

If there are others out there who have a good label source, I would be interested in passing that along.
So I'm weaving along on my 10 year old Fireside Loom last night thinking how wonderful the piece is coming along---no problems. This morning when I went to start weaving, I noticed the slack tension. I went to give the toggle a little twist (as I have to do from time to time) and noticed THIS!
Words like GAK! ZOT! (a new word sent to me by a weaving friend, Russ) and others too terrible to mention, sprung from my lips.

Well, then I had to chuckle because I have often said there are an infinite number of mistakes to be made in weaving, and this was indeed a first. As you may or may not know, Fireside Looms is now located in Pennsylvania with new owners Larry and Michelle Lesniak(no longer in Washington state in easy driving distance from me). I started to write a pathetic whining email to Michelle, but I decided a phone call would be in order. She was most helpful and a new rope and assembly directions are being FedEx'd to me as I write.

I use my Fireside more heavily than most, so I'm not faulting the rope device for wearing out in 10 years. In fact, the tensioning system was one of the main selling features (along with the worm-drive and the removable breast bar) I didn't see a picture of the removable breast bar, but it is a thing of beauty. Anyone wishing me to take a picture of it and post it, let me know.

So "Gary", the loom has to take a little rest. Fortunately my ikat towel experiment is up and running on Grace, so my practice of weaving every day doesn't have to stop.


Anonymous said...


I got labels and hang tags (which I like because they make it easy to include care instructions) from They have low minimums (I got only 500 of each) and they will send out samples so you can see what the label fabrics feel like.

Hope this helps.


Valerie said...

Oh so sorry for your sick loom. Hope Gary gets well soon!

Thanks for the label info, but the ITC link seems to be broken.

The pin and towel make a lovely photo.

Bonnie said...

Hi Valerie,
I fixed the link.
Thanks for letting me know.

Ann, I checked out (and bookmarked) the label site you mentioned. It looks great! They have a 250 label minimum which is quite reasonable. Once I run out of the 1000 from ITC, I will give clothinglabels4u a try.

Christine said...

Oh, poor Gary! You were working him hard.

Peg in South Carolina said...

Well, now I see why I "must" have a second loom...........sob....... Thanks for the label site. They also make hang tags.

Melissa said...

The reports of our demise are greatly exaggerated! Minnewawa is still in Knoxville, Tennessee and still weaving labels. Damask labels, Taffeta labels, Satin labels, Twill labels, Double-sided (Tube) labels, also decorative ribbons, printed labels, and hang tags. Jacquard designers onsite with 48 years combined experience.

We still have the original point paper designs used to generate the cards for your labels.

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Anonymous said...

I found it very interesting reading all of the different comments. In particular those dealing with the labels. I am one of the owners of Minnewawa, Inc. and we still produce millions of labels here in Knoxville, Tennessee. We are one of the final remaining woven label companies in the country that is 100% domestically owned. The chances that the labels you are purchasing are coming from off-shore companies or a label company located in the USA that is owned by a foreign company is vey high. Visit us at or please feel free to read about us on