Posted on | July 30, 2009 | 6 Comments
Just up the road from Windsor Chairmakers is Swans Island Blankets in Northport. On a rainy Thursday morning we were warmly greeted to tour their new gallery space and studio. I’ve read about Swans Island blankets a hundred times. When I saw the price tag I would gasp. Truthfully, once you see the quality and care that goes into each and every piece you realize it’s well worth every penny.
Each blanket is handmade by a talented weaver using only natural dyes. My mom and I found the indigo fascinating. “The dye, called Indican, is produced as the leaves of the plant are fermented, exuding a rich paste which turns blue when exposed to air.” Fascinating. The wool is harvested from super soft sheep raised in Maine. A cute photo of a few cuddled up in the rain above.
Blankets and throws are available in summer and winter weights. The check style available in a winter weight—a weave of two layers of wool for warmth—was my favorite. Natural grey throws are woven from the fleece of Corriedale sheep.
Wander back into the studio to see yarn being dyed in large buckets and blankets being woven by hand on large looms. When I first went away to college I studied textile design with a concentration in weaving. I can tell you from experience setting up a loom is a total bitch. I was horrible at it. All the yarns have to be hand pulled one at a time through each tiny needle. So painful and time consuming.
Check out Swans Island’s website for more info on the weaving process and history. The lighting on a rainy day made shooting in the gallery a bit difficult. Take a hop over to their site for detailed photographs of their stunning blankets, swansislandblankets.com.
p.s. martha went to Swans Island Blankets just a few days before me and blogged about her visit today too!
Swans Island Blankets
Windsor Chairmakers in Lincolnville, Maine