Monday, June 21, 2010

blankets

Textile artist and editor Joe Lewis has asked me to write an article for his on-line magazine, Fibre Quarterly. This issue's theme is "Comfort Zone" and warm woven wool blankets from PEI's MacAusland Woolen Mills fits the bill. Since I'm from PEI, a weaver, and he's been having trouble finding a contact on PEI to write the article, I said I'll do it. Plus it's a good way for me to do some research into the regional blanket-weaving tradition as my art practice starts to take on the form of blankets more and more...
The original mill operation included a carding machine to convert raw fleece to batts which the mill sold by the roll for handspinning. The MacAuslands realized the woollen products were their best seller and in 1932 the mill produced its first blanket, now the staple of the operation. The business is now the only mill in Atlantic Canada still producing traditional blankets of 100% virgin wool. I visited the mill once when I was a teenager, have ordered many skeins of wool from them over the years, and own one of their beautiful queen size blankets.

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