Wool, glorious wool—the sheepier it is, the better we like it.

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45 Comments
  • Aren’t those labels fabulous! Very entertaining post, Clara – thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Thank you for this lovely post! Just this week I found two green wool blankets that belonged to my husband’s brother with his name tag hand-sewn on the forest green/black stripe blanket. My husband said the blankets went to summer camp 65 years ago! Wow! Not moth eaten and intact! I will admit that after washing and air drying they smelled a bit of some type of repellant. We used them both last night to watch a bit of a movie and keep cozy in our turned-down-the-heat room! Love all the labels.

  • Thanks for mentioning Minnesota’s Faribault Woolen Mill. I have bought several of their wonderful woolen blankets and just this winter have one to my nephew who lives in his parents basement. I received the nicest thank you text for the warmth I gave him!!! Great story

    • I add my enthusiasm for Faribault blankets. A staple at our house, along with Grandma’s quilts, those “Faribo” blankets are still in my collection. I am so pleased that the factory has started up again and is producing gorgeous double woven blankets. They are the original heavy blanket to soothe your soul. Had to buy one!

      • That is such a perfect descriptor! When I wake up in the middle of the night and my mind starts to wander down that dark avenue of regrets, I double up my Faribault and tuck beneath it and fall right back to sleep. Every time.

    • If you’re on a college tour, Faribault is just down the road from Carleton and St Olaf in Northfield! There is a woman there who makes the most beautiful custom coats from the blankets- Annie Belle Creations. And she leaves the original label in the coat – I will post a picture in the lounge!

      • The tailor has very special Faribault blankets for you to choose from, and then a few months later, a custom, cozy Woolen coat. I wear mine all the time.

      • When I was a broke college student at Carleton I saved for a while and invested in a Faribault Mills wool blanket. Kept me warm and sane through those Minnesota winters, and 20 years later it is still one of my most treasured possessions. Looks like new, of course.

  • Great story and wonderful labels! But I confess that wool blankets make me sneeze.

  • My favourite wool blanket of all time was made by my mother-in-law’s mother. Hand knit in three sections in sport weight undyed wool, it generously covers a queen size bed. As it is basket stitch it is an easy calculation to determine how many stitches it contains: 250,000 !!! I am amazed that before she owned a washer and dryer, while maintaining a large garden and making bread in quantity every morning, my grand-mother-in-law managed to stitch such a treasure not just for my mom-in-law, but also for each of her 15 siblings.

  • Wow, wonderful story! And next years Xmas gift for my kids! (Except maybe the LA baby)

    • You could do a 50/50 wool/cotton blanket for the LA baby!

  • Very much enjoyed this post!!! Thank you.

  • Such wonderful nostalgia, I bet this topic brings out many memories for knitters.
    There is one old wool green blanket slowly getting edged with tatters somewhere in my little home, I rarely use it but cannot get rid of it. I’ll give up the story to The Lounge, as soon as I find it.

    • I’m so touched to see my family blanket featured in this lovely tribute. My enduring memory was snuggling under it in the way-back of our Chevy station wagon on long road trips.

  • Very interesting post — thanks!

  • I don’t have a label, but I have blankets my grandmother had made from their sheep, circa 1950.

  • They are not just blankets are they; passed down or newly bought, they have stories. I treasure the yellow and white blanket woven from wool of the sheep on my Mother-in-laws family farm. Her parents came from Norway to WI in the 1880’s and raised 10 children there.

  • When i separates from my first husband I was happy for him to take his family’s China (beautiful Lamouges) and crystal and silver, etc. But I do admit to hanging on to a wool blanket that I am currently using on a camping trip. I love that blanket.

  • O M G. Best stories ever. (And best news item: Faribault is still/again making blankets!)

  • I only live about an hour away from Faribault so I am going to go take a tour of their mill in early February. I don’t have a blanket from them but I snagged a reversible ruana/wrap at a deep discount from their post-holiday sale just a couple of weeks ago.

    These beautiful labels! I want to start a collection. Living in MN, I think that is a perfectly reasonable thing to do. 🙂

  • Unfortunately, some of my family members are allergic to animal fibers. So I will have to enjoy these in pictures only. Thanks for the label education!!!

  • Living in MN, I have two Fairibault blankets, one from before the factory closed, one from after it reopened. In the days “before” the factory store was a wonderful place selling bothe new perfect blankets, as well as deeply discounted seconds. But even better, they also sold overruns of the locally spun wool, on cones, blanket binding to renew your old blankets, and all manner of weaving and spinning accessories. I used to give the afghan size blankets as wedding gifts.

    But also treasured is an icelandic wool blanket that was a gift from my mom, and a traditional wool blanket that I bought in Wales last year from the government supported business called Meilin Trygwynt. Being of Welsh ancestry and having sheeps blood running in my veins, visiting the National Wool Museum, and buying this blanket made my heart sing

  • Loving the beautiful labels! Bring back woven labels! Textile Museum in Tilburg, NL has a fantastic display of the ribbons and related equipment used to make such multi-colored lovelies. (There is a horrific story there as well, but I encourage you to go see it for yourself.)

  • MacAusland blankets for every wedding gift. I phone them up, they tell me what colours are in stock, and then I decide. It is always a lovely interaction. Every couple needs a wool blanket, whether or not they knew it…

  • Beautiful blankets that leave fond memories

  • What a fantastic post!

  • Wonderful post Clara! Can’t wait to read the new book.

  • When my twins grew out of the crib quilts and small blankets, and it was too hot for the wool duvet? We ordered two gorgeous wool blankets from MacAusland’s! They are absolutely perfect for Canadian summer nights, and I love that my little Canadians are sleeping under some serious woollen history.

  • I need to pull out some of my vintage wool blankets to check out the labels. Love these so much.

  • Personally…I cannot wear wool..regardless of how very luxurious and rich it may be…BUT, I have a good friend who is a knitter and creates much from the many wool lovelies which I have saved and harvested for her use ……….I feel it with my eyes and they never let me down…many are from Ireland, Hudson Bay, New Zealand, Holland and do on. thank you for this charming information………..

  • Love this! Thank you!

  • I remember being given a Hudson Bay blanket at a certain age (12 perhaps?) and feeling so grown up at being trusted to have a very good, very expensive blanket of my very own. I think my twin and her daughters now have my red Hudson Bay with the big, black stripe. And then our family always had Kenwood. I may still have one. The label brings back so many memories of my grandmother as well as my mother. Sounding like an oldie, which I am, “they don’t make blankets as they used to.” Dry cleaners and other folk who know about wool blankets will tell you that.

  • I love the wool blankets. I am a weaver and noticed that those very old blankets were all woven. It was a fun research time as I am pumped to weave a wool blanket!

  • A few years ago I wandered into a local antiques shop and found a ladder displaying 7 or 8 Pendleton throws… for about $20 each! My husband thought I was nuts, but I bought them ALL. In the Winter we can’t watch TV without one and in the Summer they come out on cool Wisconsin nights to sit around the campfire. Thanks for sharing your appreciation for these blankets…my family loves them but will likely never see why they are such treasures like I do!

  • Wow, didn’t this touch a nerve. I left behind an ancient wool blanket in a recent move and have regretted it ever since. Not only did I lose my favorite blocking surface, but a fruitless trip to the local Good Will yielded only polyester fleece coverings. So happy to hear from Clara Parks that “real” blankets still exist – both secondhand and new!

  • You’ve inspired me to sew labels onto my hand knitted wool blankets- I’m quite sure they will outlive me and someday the label may be all there is to say where they came from.

  • After I learned to spin, an elderly relative asked about “the” blanket and went to explain that her grandmother had spun yarn and made blankets for each of her children. (Great grandmother died in 1938). I had been given a linen sack full of homespun singles, but didn’t know about the blankets until one arrived from that elderly relative. It is a plain weave,off white blanket made of 2 36-inch wide handwoven strips. I’m trying to find out if my grandmother’s blanket is still stashed away in the upstairs hall closet at the farm where I grew up in Southern Ontario.

  • fabulous labels- machine washable Pendleton- any favorite sources? thanks

  • Love, love, love this post. I have a cherished Hudson’s Bay and a much loved MacAusland which were wedding gifts 45 years ago. I keep my eyes open at yard and estate sales for additions.

  • We had two woolen blankets my great aunt in Ireland wove in the early 20th Century. My brothers have them now. I hope they are taking care of them! We also used a green “army blanket’ from ww2 for camping, picnics, sleepovers etc. I wonder where it went? I have a 30 year old Faribo throw for cozying up on the couch.

  • As if I didn’t before, now I know I’m with my PEOPLE. My blankie as a kid was a wool blanket. The fabulous scratchiness! The way wool doesn’t smother, but carries its own weight! The impenetrability. Sigh. We have a gorgeous pendleton blanket and one more of unknown source inherited from my grandmother, and two with giant orange Ms from my husband’s high school. No labels on any of them. But I loved the ones shown here! big woolly hug to all of you.

  • OK! The search is on! I need a thrift store wool blanket (or 10).

  • Wow, wonderful wool blankets. Living in Vermont, they are a staple here. But years ago I found my favorite rose-colored wool blanket at a Goodwill Store located in Port Townsend, WA. For the glorious sum of 50 cents I got a vintage Pendleton 100% wool blanket which I am still using today. It is located at the foot of our bed for use when the mercury dips deeply. The reason for the ridiculous price? It was in the dog blanket bin but not one hole was to be found. I love my dog but this was too good for him!

  • Lovely writing and wonderful labels – thanks for collecting and sharing