Absolutely Nothing To Buy : Blankets and Throws by Samantha TaylorPosted: October 10, 2011
It’s that time of year again. The slightly weird and topsy-turvy time when retail collides with climate. At the time of writing, the UK has recently enjoyed something of an Indian summer (though I hear snow isn’t far behind) and here in Hong Kong it’s still pretty warm which means I’m still open-toed and bare sleeved, but, to be honest, I’m just a little bit over the Summer. Call me cuckoo, but when your Summer consists of 4 -6 months of fairly blistering heat and oppressive humidity, by the time Autumn officially rolls around and the shops are newly stocked with Autumn/ Winter loveliness, it is infuriating to concede that, except for a very few short weeks some time around January/February, most of what’s in store will just not work for this climate, but it doesn’t stop me wanting a piece of the action.
And so begins my annual yearning for knitwear and wool and all things snuggly. I’m clearly not the only person around here that feels this way because at the merest hint of a temperature drop, people can be seen fully Ugg’d and Moncler’d up as if in preparation for a huge snowfall, but when, in actual fact, it’s probably about 23 degrees Celsius. I applaud this blatant disregard for one’s own comfort, when form has won over function. But I know from bitter, personal experience that sticking to woollies whilst failing to layer adequately will result in the kind of ‘glow’ usually only seen on footballers at the end of a very long game, after extra time and penalties.
But this has never deterred me, it merely encourages me to seek other outlets for my woolly fixation and this year I am all about blankets and throws. For the record, a blanket officially differs from a throw on account of its size (usually just a tad larger than the mattress in order to cover a bed) and in that it usually consists of a single layer, and is usually woven. A throw is, technically, smaller, comes in a variety of knits or weaves and is more for individual snuggling. But you probably knew that already. Either way, to my mind, a blanket (or throw) is one of those purchases you probably make only occasionally – a bit like investment dressing – and therefore should last for generations and have an heirloom quality to it. It’s also a very good reason to help the economy, which also makes it the perfect gift and an entirely justifiable purchase for your own pleasure.
Here are a few that I am drooling over:
The ultimate investment piece, this fine Piece of Scottish craftsmanship ticks all the blanket boxes: Tweedy, traditional and tasseled, all that’s required is a roaring log fire and you’re good to go.
Johnstons of Elgin Lambswool Reversible Tweed Throw in ‘Spey’ 190cm x 140cm £130
The Swedes know a thing or two about keeping warm in the winter, and this lovely Blanket was inspired by Swedish folk art.
Primrose & Plum lambswool grey Bird Blanket 180cm x 130cm £130
Another Scandinavian warmer, this time from Finland. The Asteri wool blanket would work well in a modern scheme but hasn’t forgotten it’s blankety traditions with edging in blanket stitch. And what a great price.
Asteri Finnish Wool Blanket 130cm x 180cm £65
Sometimes all you need is a really great plain throw to add texture or an accent to a scheme and what’s fascinating about Laura’s gorgeous handwoven throws is that each comes with the kind of provenance that really celebrates everything that is brilliant and thriving about British craft. Made in Yorkshire, the wool is all sourced locally, sorted by Laura in her own garden to remove the “daggy bits” and is then cleaned, spun and dyed locally using only environmentally-friendly processes. Transport miles are kept to a minimum and local business are supported. The ultimate feel-good purchase in every way.
Laura’s Loom Howgill Collection Herringbone Throw 160cm x 200cm £125
I’m a huge fan of Donna Wilson’s quirky textiles but this stunning blanket, designed in conjunction with SCP, is something of a departure style-wise, but I am all over it, erm, like a blanket. The wool is all spun and dyed in England and Woven in Wales by a traditional mill that has been in the same family for years. It has the feel of a traditional Welsh Carthenni but with a more modern, geometric feel and is probably at the top of my blanket wish list.
Donna Wilson Nos Da Blanket 230cm x 200cm £299.99
Melin Tregwynt have been quietly revolutionising the aesthetics of traditional blanket weaving for years. Originators of the popular spotted motifs that can be seen everywhere now, this Welsh mill combines traditional methods with contemporary designs that are sure to convert even the most die-hard blanket haters.
Melin Tregwynt Luna Throw 150cm x 180cm £125
If you are looking for the ultimate baby gift then Woodchild’s exquisite vintage inspired fairisle knitted blankets must surely be the perfect solution? Practically perfect in every way, I am completely obsessed with this, and, as the Mother of two boys that is continually disappointed with boy-centric homewares and gifts, it satisfies my inner girly whims too.
Woodchild ‘Connor’ Baby Blanket 75cm x 100cm £89
Another great baby gift, these soft brushed cotton baby blankets eschew the twee and make a refreshing, modern change from pastels, and the red colourway works brilliantly for both sexes.
Cologne & Cotton Papoose Blanket 65cm x 110cm £15
This supersoft Shetland blanket is fun and would add a great pop of colour to a scheme- particularly a child’s bedroom- but for me it’s mostly about the green fairisle; a little bit vintage, I just can’t get enough of this type of pattern.
Atlantic Blanket Company Celtic Fringe Blanket 143cm x173cm £250
Welsh Carthenni blankets just feel so ‘right’ at the moment thanks to recent trends towards Ikats and folksy geometrics. I’ve been coveting them for years as they seem to bridge the gap between traditional and contemporary so brilliantly. This rather lovely candy pink example from Blodwen is undeniably girly but utterly beautiful and I could happily redesign an entire room scheme just to incorporate it somehow.
Blodwen ‘New Traditional Welsh Carthenni’ Blanket 171cm x 264cm £300
One for the baby girls. The Matryoshka trend keeps running and running but I confess I am still charmed by these folksy little dolls. This Adorable luxurious baby blanket from the completely brilliant Studio Roam comes in a Cyclamen/Satin Pink colourway as standard but can be customised to a colour of your choice, at no extra cost, which makes for a really unique keepsake for a little one.
Studio Roam Baboushka Cashmere Blanket 80cm x 120cm £159.20