This past summer I spent some truly charming time in England.
I made it to a few brilliant music festivals, visited with great old friends, and made some lovely new ones, too. While in Brighton, I came across an eye-catching blanket in an antiques shop – bright, eclectic, and full of story. The sales person told me a bit about it.. it was a Welsh Tapestry Blanket, likely from the area of Herefordshire. As luck would have it, I was on my way to exactly that part of the country for the Big Chill festival, so I took some days to explore Wales and to find some more of these treasured heirlooms.
I picked up this blanket during a very lovely visit to Hay-on-Wye, an adorable town on the river Wye filled to the rafters with books of all kinds. The Great English Outdoors had a great selection of the Welsh blankets I was after. I picked out the purple and green 70’s design blanket above and learned a thing or two about the blanket’s tradition. Many designs reflect the workmanship of a particular mill in Wales. Traditional motifs and patterns are repeated and are often specific to certain periods, as are the combinations of colors. My eye always seemed to be attracted to the blankets from the 70’s, brighter, bolder, and more eccentric than their antique counterparts. Each blanket certainly has a personality. Like many heirlooms, these heavy, beautiful blankets tell the story of the countryside homes they have passed through and the many people whom they have kept warm. They were often given as wedding gifts, a bit of folklore which I find particularly sweet.