We have replenished our inventory of wool blankets from MacAusland’s of Prince Edward Island.To compliment our current colorways (red, olive and navy tweed), we’ve added two new,natural, undyed colors – dark gray and brown. Light gray (above) is the other natural straight-from-the-sheep color. We now also carry a queen size blanket. Paired with crisp white cotton sheets, the 100% pure new wool MacAusland’s blanket is the perfect bed dressing for warmer climes.
Here in Oregon, temperatures have dipped back into the 30s and the rain is incessant. What better to ward off the damp chill than a MacAusland’s wool throw?
We love woolen garments and accessories.We obsess over pure new wool.We prefer wool over almost any other fabric because of its warmth and durability and because it retains its natural beauty over its long life.We believe, and can testify from experience, that an investment in wool pays off generously. Wool blankets are essential this time of year. As temperatures drop and you start feeling the chill, add a blanket layer to your bed or pull a blanket over your lap while you’re sitting on the couch or in the car. Wrap blankets around your kids (or your parents). A personal sized wool blanket or throw is a lasting gift. It makes a great picnic blanket (for those of you in temperate climes). Kids can take a magic carpet ride on a wool throw, or pitch a cozy tent in the living room. Pets also enjoy sleeping on wool. The favorite spot of a certain cat we know is the folded blanket at the end of the bed. (The dog would be on the blanket too, if only the cat would let him.)
LL Bean Fall 1942 – for auto, hammock or stadium seat (Oregon green & gold n/a)
Bean Blanket circa Fall 1953 (imported fiber!)
The price of the Pendleton motor robe in the 1967 Eddie Bauer catalog above is $14.95.The 2010 price, adjusted for inflation is $98.By comparison, the Pendleton Lambswool Throw (the modern day equivalent of the motor robe) currently sells for $78.That’s less than its adjusted 1967 cost. Wool does not cost more than it did in the past.Blankets made of synthetics are cheap, so we perceive wool as expensive.
Wool was the long-standing fabric of choice for airplane blankets, outdoor blankets and bedding. United Airlines blankets, for example, were milled by Faribault, a company that recently went out of business.(Look for Faribault blankets on eBay.)Some woolen mills that are still in operation are: Amana Woolen Mills (IA), Bemidji Woolen Mills (MN) and Johnson Woolen Mills (VT). All of them make excellent wool blankets.
We added MacAusland’s wool throws to our store this fall. MacAusland’s Woolen Mills on Prince Edward Island in Canada has been making blankets since 1932. We love the diagonal striping (tweed) on these throws, the variety of colors, and the softness of the wool.
MacAusland’s still makes all of its blankets “from scratch”. The wool is sourced locally from the Atlantic Provinces. It is cleaned, carded and spun into yarn onsite. MacAusland’s is the only remaining Woolen Mill in Atlantic Canada that makes its own blankets. The business is family-owned and a pleasure to work with. MacAuslands also makes bed blankets that can be ordered through us or directly from the manufacturer. They take only about 3 weeks to make.
Blankets coming off the loom at MacAusland’s Woolen Mills
Remember that you can repurpose vintage woolens from EBAY or ETSY, provided they have been well cared for. Here’s a few that I ordered recently. Keywords: wool, blanket, vintage, throw (lap blanket). Look for offering from heritage brands such as Faribo (or Faribault), Amana, Pendleton, Strathdown, Lagoda, Hudson Bay and others to find the best quality blankets. If you don’t currently have one in your car, or at home this is a great way to stock up without making a big investment.
When people think of wool, images of sweaters, socks and toques come to mind. But wool isn’t just for clothing. Here are a few of my favorite woolen items.
Wool filled pillows for your bed
One of my grade school teachers told us to invest in satin sheets since we spend so much of our lives sleeping. That’s why I have a wool-filled pillow. Virgin wool is a great filler for pillows since the lanolin provides a natural deterrent to dust mites. It will also shape to your head better than synthetic fillers.
You could purchase a ready-made wool pillow or make your own by procuring a woolen batt from somewhere like Beaverslide Dry Goods – an amazing ranch in Montana that makes beautiful yarn from their own flock.
Domestically milled wool blankets are another favorite woolen good that’s a wonderful addition to any home. MacAusland’s Woolen Mills (actually in Canada) is one of my favorite sources for milled wool blankets. I visited them last Spring. Here are some images from my tour:
Other recommended sources for milled wool blankets include Amana Woolen Mills (since 1857!), Faribault, Bemidji Woolen Mills and of course, home state favorite, Pendleton (we like the National Park blanket series).
Sheepskins from a real farm
We’re not talking about a mass-produced product from Ikea or Costco, but rather, a real sheepskin from a working farm. There are resources on the web to help you locate a sheep farm in your region. In Oregon, contact Oregon Wool. Tanneries that handle small-scale processing are becoming scarce, so support your local shepherd or shepherdess by buying a sheepskin for a chair or couch in your home. I have a Wensleydale sheepskin from Dayspring Farm. Not all sheepskins are white – the variety of colors and curls of different types of sheep means that you can get one that suits your style. If you’ve never touched the real thing, you’re in for a treat.