Thursday, September 24, 2009

National Blanket Week: A Bedtime Story

Let me tell you a bedtime story.

Once upon a time, long, long ago, before duvets, comforters, eiderdown, and doonas, there was “National Blanket Week.”

My undercover work has revealed the following information: National Blanket Week was a fall promotion of the Nashua Manufacturing Company, of Nashua, New Hampshire. This company which operated from 1823 to 1945, was once the largest maker of woolen blankets in the world.

Do you have a favorite blanky or blanket story?

Here is my personal list of blanket honorees:

  • A baby blanket – one pink for my daughter, and one blue for my son;
  • A blanket of leaves – a Technicolor gift from of Mother Nature;
  • A beach blanket – packed in the car, always at the ready;
  • Beach Blanket Bingo - see Annette and Frankie on this Youtube clip;
  • An electric blanket – invented in 1936, comes in handy during Northern winters;

  • A blanket of flowers – à la Carmel Valley style;
  • A blanket for flowers – the impoverished 17th century Dutch tulip grower who covered his precious plants with his only blanket;

  • A picnic blanket – ‘thee and me’ alfresco dining anytime and anywhere;
  • A horse blanket – a staple of the stable on Mornington Peninsula;
  • A doggie blanket – dogs need blankys too;
  • A blanket of snow –a fluffy white cover;
  • A pig in a blanket- retro kids’ cuisine;
  • A security blanket – everyone needs one these days;
  • A blanket fort - over the clothesline at the cottage;
  • A blanket of fog – toujours in Carmel-by-the-Sea;
  • A blank(et) check - nice work if you can get it;

  • A tartan blanket - plaids and tartans were a specialty of a great-grandfather, who worked in the mills as a weaver;
  • A Native American blanket - the Navajo blanket my grandparents received a as a gift on their wedding day and now hanging on my wall;
  • A boy named Blanket – thankfully not named “Blanky.”

Never having had my own “blanky”, I have been making up for lost time. From the size of my collection, it would appear that I suffer from princess-in-the-pea – or “a gal can never have too many blankets” syndrome. It all began with blankets of the heavy woolen Scottish plaid stadium variety. My latest additions are vintage plaid woolen blankets, stacks of which I found orphaned in Australian op-shops.

The quality and pastel plaids of these lambs wool or Merino sheep blankets are similar to their Welsh cousins, and less costly at around $10 each.

I recently re-established contact with an old acquaintance from my NYC Pier Antiques Show days. Always very gracious and complimentary when she would visit my booth, Laura Fisher is one of the premier New York antique dealers specializing in exquisite antique textiles, including vintage blankets. You might have read one of her many books on quilts, or seen her on Martha. She has a new space called Fisher Heritage at 305 East 61st street, NYC. Long a blanket collector, her current stock includes antique red plaid and checkerboard patterned woolens, and homespuns. She also handles colorful and whimsical Beacon blankets. Here are a few of my favorites:

(The following three images of Beacon Blankets, Courtesy of Laura Fisher, Fisher Heritage)


Coney Island


Snug as a bug,


  1. fabulous post!! never would have thought of it. what a collection and study!! thanks for visiting osh!!

  2. I'm so happy to met Laura and her family! I had a so nice time together! Faboulous photos of blankets! Lovely post you made!
    Wish you a nice week end!

  3. Wow what an interesting post.
    You have given us a great selection of favourite 'blankets' here. Hard to add more.. I too never had a blankie.. and probably cause they make me itch.. my happy moment was when doonas arrived in Australia.. woo hoo.. no more itchy.. hahaha.. but these are all gorgeous specimans..

    I'd love to see the Navajo blanket and I think the Picnic blankets conjure wonderful moments.
    Lovely post.. hope you have a great weekend and thankyou so much for thinking of me during the Big RED dust storm.. hahaha. xxx Julie

  4. ooohh...
    how silly of me... 'Blanket of Red Dust'!!

    and that would be 'specimen'!! maybe they are male blankets!!


  5. This is a great post !
    Love the blankets .
    And the pink Saturday at my blog is a weekly post for Pink Saturday .
    There are a lot of participants for that challenge .
    Love Rini

  6. What a great post! I feel like I learned so much. I used to live in Nashua near the old blanket mills. Now I live in Lowell in an old cotton mill!

    I adore old blankets. Your collection is fabulous. In our family we collect a lot of the beautiful old Hudson Bay blankets--heavy, warm, and perfect for New England winters.

    I suddenly feel the urge to wrap up in a blanket!

    xoxo Gigi

  7. I have an old blanket that had belonged to my parents that we still use on our bed. It's the only one I feel comfortable with. It's nothing special but maybe I like it so much because it was theirs.
    What's up with the snuggy craze???

  8. I've recently rediscovered blankets and am making one each for my daughters. They have such cosy and safe associations from my childhood that I'd abandon duvets forthwith if they didn't make bed-making so easy.

  9. I too never had a blankie when I was young, but boy am I making up for lost time :)

    Even my son, now almost 19, caught the bug. We all have our own "blankie" and love to sit snug around a campfire or the fireplace with a comfort liquid, great conversation, and of course our favorite throw in our favorite color and texture...mmm...I love the cold weather!

  10. Wonderful! I love the Beacon blankets. Very clever post.

  11. I prefer a warm and smooth blanket because i love to feel comfortable in my bed, that is why is very important the quality of the blanket all the time. I always chose the better ones when by husband buy viagra and decided to pass a great time with me.