Originally Posted by banis
Yes, they do. They sent to me a whole bunch of samples.
If I'm not mistaken their London phone number is 0207 437 6226. You can also send e-mail to Sean or David at the smithwoollens.co.uk
They may be not very fast with reply, but will definetely reply.
Before you had replied, Google got me to Isles Textiles, Smith's U.S. distributors. I emailed them and got a call back the next day and a promise to send some swatches. The following day brought another call announcing that Isles would send me their own sample book if I would get it back to them quickly. Of course, I happily agreed and thanked them for the wonderful service. Two separate books arrived today. One is the Finmeresco book. There are two different weights, the 11/12 oz and the 9/10oz. According to the book, the 9/10 oz is 3 ply instead of 4. There's a grey at the beginning which is very close in color to the Minnis 511 and a blue that is very close to the 520. There's not as much variegation as the Minnis, but the fabrics have a much smoother hand. For all those who don't like Fresco, these could be a very good substitute--except there are only 9 or 10 fabrics in this lighter weight.
The first third of this book is actually made up of a group called Abacus, described as "fully balanced plain weave material made from conventional 2 ply worsted yarn. The fabrics are very crisp and springy. They are slightly porous. Held up to the sun, a bit of light shines through. The colors are nice but not special. The patterns are uninspiring. I imagine this is an analogue for the Frontier book.
The second book Isles sent is the Blue Riband, 310 to 330 grams, 10/11 oz. The book describes the fabric as a "first rate worsted fabric, expensively constructed at 10/11oz." Obviously, I'm no kind of fabric expert, but this book looks really nice to me. The colors and patterns are beautiful. Crumpled in the hand, the fabrics spring back without any mark. The finish is smooth, but not as hard as the Lesser's 10 oz fabrics that I have. In that way, they look more luxurious. I'd love to hear what experts think of this book. I did a search and can find only a very few mentions of it either here on on LL.
I will try to take some pictures over the weekend if I can figure out how to capture the look of the fabrics.
I also meant to mention that Harrison's have been very helpful, and, for a small charge, have agreed to send me the Frontier and Lesser's 13 oz books--though I think the latter is probably too heavy for San Diego.
Minnis, which in the past has always been helpful, has not responded to requests for swatches. I'm not sure it matters as I like this Blue Riband book more than the Classic and Crown Classic fabrics I've seen.