Monday, August 1, 2016

Blanket Statement

The day it gets warm (Seattle has several each year) is the day to wash wool blankets. I contemplated a favorite tribal motif blanket from Oregon Rodeo Weavers, compared the price of the thing to the cost of dry cleaning it repeatedly, guessed that Nez Perce grandmothers would not tolerate dye that bleeds, shook the blanket out, and dunked it into a clean bathtub full of lukewarm water and weaving supply no-rinse detergent.

A few minutes later, I lifted the blanket into a dairy crate, drained the tub, did something else for an hour, and tipped the crate onto one corner to speed the last few drips.

I laid the blanket flat and square on clean matting in the attic. Three hours later it was dry. It took less hands' on time than walking to the cleaners, and the result is better, not to mention considerably cheaper. 

While not to everyone's taste, these blankets are the most hard-working and versatile furnishings in the house. Their cotton warp gives them a stiff enough hand to lend them architectural presence, while their first-quality wool weave makes them softly accommodating. I use them to cover benches, beds, and armchairs. I can eat a comfortable breakfast outdoors on a cool morning nestled in one as a warm and windproof robe.

Not people to throw money away, the tribes cut a worn blanket down into a vest or use it to make pillows or upholster furniture. Except for setting a hide on the floor in lieu of a rug, nothing says living in the West like an Oregon Rodeo blanket. -30

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