Saturday, July 31, 2010

Ashford Dealer's Day with Richard Ashford

On Thursday Robin and I were in Vancouver for an Ashford Dealers' meeting with Richard Ashford and Kate from New Zealand.  It was a day to learn of the new products that Ashford has developed over the last couple of years, see their benefits and learn how to take full advantage of them in our craft work. 

Richard Ashford, Chris and Robin Dalziel of Joybilee Farm and Marc of Harmonique
One of the exciting new developments is the Ashford Wild Carder.  It is narrower than their regular drum carder, holds about 1 1/2 oz. of fiber,  and has longer teeth to hold exciting things like feathers, fabric scraps, glitter, besides the usual wool, mohair and um, quiviut.  (Yes, they carded quiviut in this blend).  The fiber comes off already in a roving and ready to spin into a wild yarn.
Kate from Ashford New Zealand with Cara of Birkland Bros Wool and Robin Dalziel of Joybilee Farm

The Wild Carder is the perfect accessory for the new "Freedom Flyer" that is a jumbo flyer with hoops instead of hooks to spin wild novelty yarns.  Its now available for the Joy wheel (that would be my favorite Ashford wheel).  I'll have my own soon.

Kate demonstrating how to thread the double heddle kit for the Ashford Knitter's Loom
The Ashford Knitters Loom now has a double heddle kit that allows for double weave, or just finer yarns threaded at a higher density.  Kate showed us an easy way to thread up the double heddle, to get us weaving faster.  The loom was warped in less than 20 minutes. 

Richard gave us a demonstration of wheel fixing and maintenance so that we can keep our customers tuned up and spinning on their wheels (whether they have Ashford wheels or another variety of spinning wheel). 

I find the Ashfords are generous and positive even about their competition in the fiber arts world.  They are a joy to work with.  Plus they stand behind their products.  While we were in the middle of our dealer's seminar Richard took a few phone calls from people who were having some problems with their older Ashford wheels.  He coached them over the phone to fix the problem.  What an amazing company!  And they make amazing spinning wheels, looms, and craft supplies.

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