Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Designing a Custom Blanket

Two Williams Lake friends who moved to Victoria last year ordered a wool blanket in the fall. I thought I'd share my process from start to finish in designing a wool blanket for their home, as well as our enjoyable collaboration through emails and photos back and forth.

They wanted the blanket for their den with this mottled carpet of light and dark shades of greyish-brown:

And the blanket was to go nicely with a favourite pillow:

The pillow's background is that it was created by a cross-cultural project of contemporary Aboriginal art, called the Kaltjiti Arts, owned by the artists. The paintings are created by artists in central Australia and then the designs are woven into pillows and rugs in Kashmir. This design is based on the Tali Tali Pompey painting.

The blanket warp consists of wide lines of dark brown, medium brown and a lighter heathery shade. I wove the blanket ends with a line of diamonds in very dark grey (almost black) then there are alternating charcoal and red diamonds. The charcoal has a narrow line of white; the warm red has light grey to avoid a ‘candy cane’ look. Crossing the warp of brown tones with greys helps to bring out the pattern nicely but subtley, and will complement the carpet.

When I sent this photo of the blanket on the loom, it was to ask if there was too much red or anything that should be addressed in a second one (I knew this one would sell if the friends didn't like it). 

But I received this reassuring response:
We LOVE our blanket....please carry on weaving!!  It is simply splendid!
Then I sent a photo of the blanket right off the loom, unfringed and looking stiff and raw.

Again, more lovely reactions:
We are sending a Definite Yes for the beautiful blanket so it can almost 'officially' be ours.  We do love it!  
And here's the final version, not too surprising after all the lead-up.

And then the grand finale email:
Your parcel arrived this afternoon, was signed for, and opened in great anticipation!  We have to tell you that we absolutely love the blanket you have designed and woven for us. It is truly beautiful!  We couldn't be happier with the lovely colours and patterns you have woven into it. 
Jane, I also want to thank you so much for all the enjoyment I have felt as you and I corresponded through the exciting course of planning the blanket.  It was a unique and rewarding experience. 
[We] have certainly been able to see how much thought and heart you put into your weaving and your art. It must been very hard to part with your creations!  We are grateful that you are able to do that! 
Expect us to send more weaving projects your way!
You can tell that these people are very positive. Every email they sent was fun to read and I found the whole project from start to finish very fulfilling and inspiring.

What a great way to end the year.  Thank YOU so much.

Update from the blanket owner in 2019:
have been meaning to write to tell you how much I enjoyed your Cariboo Handwoven article describing your weaving of our beautiful blanket.  It was such an enjoyable experience with all our emails back and forth during that time.  It allowed us to see your artist's eye and creative process at work. Your blanket has warmed us and our grandchildren since our move to the island.  As people at the coast like to say, it is a 'damp' cold here so it goes to your bones!  Not to ours when we have your blanket to ward off the wet west coast cold!
And one more - thank YOU! :-)

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