Urban Adaptation

Sustainable urban living, rural dreams, and daily change for a homemade life.

Thrift: wool blankets

with 2 comments

It gets cold here in the winter.  That, combined with the fact that my apartment is poorly insulated, and the fact that I’d rather not crank the heat, means that I appreciate things that keep me warm.

Enter the thrift-store wool blanket collection.

I have wool blankets on the back of the couch and my reading chair.  I have them on my bed, both under and over the sheets for extra warmth.  I have them stacked on chairs and on a wicker stand in the bedroom.  They’re plain, striped, and plaid, with blanket-stitched, satin-covered, and fringed edges.  They all came from thrift stores, some from my own shopping, some as gifts (thrift store gifts are great in my books).  None cost over $7, and most cost $5 or less

In some ways they’re pretty much a collection, as much as anything else that I have hanging around here.  Perhaps I have more than I technically need right now.  But  I love things that remind me of camping, cottages, and cabins.  Wool blankets  are huge for me in that respect, and I love having them around for the associations that they evoke.

But they also serve a very real purpose here.  When the weather’s nice, they do sometimes get used for picnics.  But most important is now nice they are to have around in the winter.  Wool is an incredible insulator, and warmer than many other materials.They get hung over windows to keep out the cold, and put on the floor to keep my feet warm.  I sleep under and over them, sometimes with many piled on at the same time.  I cover my legs and wrap them around my shoulders when I’m working or reading.   They help keep me warm and comfortable, both physically and psychologically, and in the cold of winter, that’s reason enough to have them around.

What to look for: my preference is for 100 percent wool blankets.  Although there are some nice blends that are less prone to shrinking and wrinkling in the wash, I find the feel of pure wool to be the nicest, and anything with more than 20 percent man made fibers just doesn’t feel as lovely.  Tags stating the composition of the blanket and, in some cases, where it was made, can be found on the bottom corners of some blankets.  If you can find it, merino wool is especially nice – it’s as warm as regular wool, but tend to be thinner and softer.

Before buying, it’s worth opening the blanket to check it out.  Look for moth holes – this can sometimes mean that there are moth eggs, and having those guys hatch and start snacking voraciously on other woolens – blankets, sweaters, yarn, hats, and so on – is just no fun.  Also look for other holes.  One of my blankets came home with two small burns in it.  Small holes care generally pretty easily fixed with darning – if you’re willing to do the work – but bigger ones can get a bit tricky.  Finally, also check for smells.  Some smells just wash out, but it’s worth being cautious of anything really musty or stink, since these tend to be difficult to get out.

Perhaps most importantly, look for something that will get used.  Sure, warmth is important, and may not matter for something that’s going to be stashed under a quilt.  But there are a lot of different blends, styles, patterns, and finishes, and it’s worth looking for something aesthetically pleasing as well, especially if it’s something that will be visible and used a lot .


Written by Jenn

July 3, 2010 at 8:23 pm

2 Responses

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  1. Thrift: wool blankets…

    I found your entry interesting do I’ve added a Trackback to it on my weblog :)…

    Your Garden

    July 4, 2010 at 8:18 pm

  2. Those blankets are so beautiful. You’ve inspired me, now, to go out hunting for wool blankets, which is something I hadn’t really considered!

    Thanks so much for sharing 🙂


    July 5, 2010 at 3:21 am

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