Katy Elliott

A daily design journal about new england life, home decorating resources, and renovating a 257-year-old house in Marblehead, MA.

Mill Tour of Brahms Mount in Maine

Posted on | August 24, 2011 | 20 Comments

Sample closet of herringbone blankets and throws.

Maine has a long textile history dating back to the 1800’s, “when almost every family spun fine yarns from local flax and wool”. In the mid-1800’s textile mills popped up along the Saco, Androscoggin and Kennebec rivers. As I kid I can remember buying fabric with my Mom at the Cascade Woolen Mill outlet in Oakland. The mill was built in the 1880s and closed in the 1990s. Countless other mills in Maine have shared the same fate.

Brahms Mount has long captured my attention. Back in 2009 I wrote a short piece about the redesign of their website, the next day I got an e-mail from David Kaufman asking if he could call to thank me. We chatted for a few minutes as he explained he recently purchased the company and was working with the former owners to continue the tradition of creating heirloom quality blankets. I was completely blown away by his enthusiasm.

27-years-ago Claudia Brahms and Noel Mount purchased and renovated two historic buildings overlooking the Kennebec river in Hallowell, Maine. They came in search of open air and a large workspace to “make a mess”. “Antique shuttle looms, the backbone of Maine’s textile tradition, were readily available to equip the mill.” The couple trained artisans and designed a collection of heirloom quality linen and cotton blankets. Since the purchase in 2009, Claudia has continued on as the lead designer and Noel manages the manufacturing aspect of the business.

In late July, my mom and I headed up to Hallowell for a mill tour. Greeted by the charismatic David in flip flops and shorts (he was leaving for vacation in an hour), he introduced us to Claudia Brahms (founder and lead designer) working in her studio. We headed just a few steps from their offices to the mill. Antique shuttle looms banged moving up and down while hundreds of white fiber strands neatly found their way into the warper. Amidst this chaos David whirled us in and around the antique shuttle looms explaining the process and allowing me to snap as many photos as I liked.

We headed upstairs to watch artisans twisting fridge on their signature cotton herringbone throws. We followed David who has the energy of 20-year-old stopping every few steps to touch little bits of fiber. It’s hard not notice his passion. It’s not a pitch. Everything about this man is a pleasure. He’ll talk fiber construction with as much ease as his plans to grow the company and expand product lines. An infectious passion fills the mill as I absorb how each process meticulously handled by “artisans more than fifty times” becomes a beautiful blanket.

Maine has a long tradition of making things. Brahms Mount has built upon this creating simple and familiar textures adapted from classic designs. Brahms Mount is the only weaver of linen blankets in North America. They use the best linen and get their cotton out the Carolinas. Once you actually touch a Brahms Mount piece, you’ll be captivated. The hand and drape is out this world. The colors and design, timeless.

I believe in supporting American-based companies and artisans who continue local traditions. To me it makes a difference to know artisans who love their craft made the blankets that I will cover my family with every night. To me that is worth investing in and spending a bit more for. Below photos from my mill visit. To learn more about Brahms Mount visit brahmsmount.com.

Brahms Mount
19 Central Street
Hallowell, Maine

A sample of the Herringbone blanket I ordered in white/misty blue.

Herringbone and ticking stripe blankets.

A Creel that holds up to 600 combs to make the weft. Learn more about this process and view a video on their blog.

All 600 combs are hand thread into the warper. The warp is the vertical fiber in a textile. Watch a video from the Brahms Mount team explaining this process.

The warper with the creel in the background.

Brahms Mount team working on the warp.

Bobbins being thread.

John Smith “Master Weaver” oversees the antique shuttle looms.

100% cotton herringbone throw in melon on the loom. Are you drooling? Gorgeous, right?

Bobbins for weft.

The warp threaded on the loom.

100% cotton rib weave in white on loom. One of my favorites!

A detail of the weft on the loom.

David showing me a cotton herringbone throw with their signature fringe.

I ordered a 50% cotton and 50% linen ombre day blanket.

I picked up two 100% linen body towels in a ticking stripe.

Brahms Mount from Maine Office of Tourism on Vimeo.

Related Posts:
Snug Harbor Farm in Kennebunk, Maine
Handmade Products from Maine at Common Ground
Making Wildflower Bouquets

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20 Responses to “Mill Tour of Brahms Mount in Maine”

  1. Jane Flanagan
    August 24th, 2011 @ 12:18 pm



  2. The Neighbor's Kid
    August 24th, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

    Katy bought me an Alpaca Throw. Its simply gorgeous. Beautiful, lifetime investment.
    David and everyone working at the mill were so gracious to us. As David showed us around the mill the energy of all of the employees was infectious. They all love what they do and put that love into their products.

    Thank you for showing us around the mill and for sharing with us “Your little part of Maine”.

    Katy’s Mom


  3. Susan
    August 24th, 2011 @ 12:31 pm

    Yes, this does excite me…how lucky you got a private tour! Their products are so beautiful…on my wish list!


  4. Katy Elliott
    August 24th, 2011 @ 12:44 pm

    Everyone can go for a mill visit! See here: http://www.brahmsmount.com/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?display=contact


  5. Heather
    August 24th, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

    Great post! I’m a big believer in supporting american artisans as well, how great that they’re continuing the tradition of this mill. The textiles are just beautiful!~


  6. Katherine M.
    August 24th, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

    I’ve lived in Maine all my life and love learning the history of crafts in this lovely state. How wonderful it is that Brahms Mount uses so much of the original equipment. Their creations look both beautiful and quality.

    Thanks for sharing all the great behind-the-scenes info and photos!


  7. mary
    August 24th, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

    Love every bit of this. I must make a visit! In the meantime…adding just about everything on their site to my wish list.


  8. lynne
    August 24th, 2011 @ 2:31 pm

    really good post katy, thanks!


  9. Julia
    August 24th, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

    Beautiful blankets! And happy to learn about a new place and its history in the state I live in! Thanks for a great post.


  10. Donna Seger
    August 24th, 2011 @ 5:08 pm

    Great post, Katie!


  11. Katy Elliott
    August 24th, 2011 @ 5:28 pm

    Thanks guys! I hope everyone likes the longer format and mill tour. I had an amazing time and was so excited to share with all of you!


  12. Liz
    August 24th, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

    thanks for the tour, these are splendid and i love the antique artisan process. how do you afford things like this, though?! i can only wish. :) enjoy enjoy enjoy!


  13. Krista Nye Schwartz
    August 24th, 2011 @ 9:17 pm

    Katy – I loved, loved this post! Thank you for giving us all a glimpse at what goes into making these beautiful textiles.


  14. Herringbone
    August 25th, 2011 @ 9:47 am

    Very jealous of your purchase! Great choice.
    As a blanket-junkie, I firmly believe you cannot have too many blankets, but my husband would disagree;)
    Hope they ship to Europe.


  15. Patsy
    August 25th, 2011 @ 11:44 am

    Just gorgeous!!! Off to shop :-)

    Thank you!


  16. Jenny
    August 25th, 2011 @ 4:18 pm

    Brahms Mount is just steps from your door! I just bought a gorgeous throw at MacKimmie Co. on Washington Street. Check out their selection if you haven’t yet. Happy end of summer!


  17. Katy Elliott
    August 25th, 2011 @ 5:13 pm


    Doris from MacKimmie Co. and I were chatting about beautiful textiles today. :)


  18. Louisa
    August 25th, 2011 @ 7:38 pm

    Great post! I have three Brahms Mount throw blankets and they are so incredibly soft. Fantastic company!


  19. Cynthia Treen
    August 29th, 2011 @ 9:22 am

    Wonderful!! What a fun field trip :)


  20. The Vintique Object
    August 31st, 2011 @ 12:11 am

    Steve, of an Urban Cottage sent me a link to your blog and I’m enjoying every post. This one in particular. I’m afraid to go to the website because I may just have to have one of everything.


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