January 27, 2019 4 min read

Welsh tapestry blankets - Hiraeth**

Our Welsh tapestry range is named ‘Hiraeth’. Nothing, maybe says Hiraeth more than an iconic Welsh tapestry blanket. A stunning addition to any home, traditional or contemporary.

** Hiraeth is a Welsh concept of longing for home, which can be loosely translated as 'nostalgia', or, more commonly, 'homesickness'. Many of us Welsh claim 'hiraeth' is a word which cannot be translated, meaning more than solely "missing something" or "missing home."

Welsh tapestry blankets, throws and cushions are iconic Welsh products and are stunning additions to any home. Welsh Tapestry blankets are sometimes known as 'Welsh Rugs'. They  can be used in different rooms of your home from a bedspread to a 'decoration' in your living areas.

Carthen or Carthenni (in plural) is the Welsh word for traditional Welsh blankets, such as iconic Welsh tapestry blankets on narrow looms and subsequently wider looms in traditional double weave patterns and colours. They are blankets made with several coloured to produce a check design. They normally have fringes and are sometimes known as a Fringed Quilt.

Welsh tapestry blanket - Hiraeth - Carthen - Carthenni

Using pure new wool on 1930's Dobbcross looms, each tapestry is traditionally woven. Each warp is threaded through the heddles by hand using the skills and processes of the last one hundred years. The traditional ‘double weave’ patterns produce reversible blankets, known in Welsh as ‘Carthenni’, that are practical, hard-wearing and genuinely warm. In sizes ranging from Baby Blankets to Throws and King sizes, these blankets are suitable for use in living rooms as well as bedspreads. Our range of tapestry cushions complement each of these beautiful Welsh tapestry blankets 

These tapestry blankets are woven in Wales and although these blankets are universally known as Welsh tapestry blankets, they are not really tapestries at all.

They are basically two layers of cloth, often known as a ‘double-weave’ cloth, each in a different colour and usually with a geometric pattern. The weaving itself requires a complicated stitching together of the two layers of cloth to produce one double-weave blanket. This double-cloth structure creates practical, hard-wearing, large and heavy blankets with bold reversible patterns. For all these reasons, Welsh tapestry blankets have become famous the world over and are almost guaranteed to keep you warm in all weathers and will give an iconic reversible patterned blanket to decorate any home.

Welsh Wool Industry

Wales is famous for its Welsh wool industry and its Welsh blankets and throws including tapestry blankets from its early history to modern times and is showcased in the National Wool Museum of Wales, in Drefach Felindre, Carmarthenshire, West Wales.

Welsh Blankets

Welsh wool and its woollen manufacturing industry was historically one of the most important industries in Wales. Some people have said over the years that they are Wales’ equivalent of the Scottish tartan, although they don’t represent different clans. They are indeed completely unique to Wales and each mill, and back in the 19th and early 20th centuries there were over 200 mills in Wales, had its own designs.

However it was in the Teifi valley and surrounding areas that the wool industry was at its most prolific during the latter parts of the 19th and 20th century. For a few hundred years, the Teifi valley was the centre of a thriving woollen industry with dozens of woollen mills in the area and maybe over twenty in neighbouring Pembrokeshire. Today, only a few of these mills are still producing woven Welsh blankets and throws including tapestry blankets using age old looms together with traditional skills and methods of yesteryear.

Today, most Welsh wool is used in the carpet industry but in earlier centuries, almost every cottage had a loom for weaving blankets and clothing, often in the traditional Welsh tapestry patterns. Some of the original Welsh Woollen Mills survive today, some as museums but only a handful as working mills. Nevertheless, tapestry blankets are as popular today as they have been for over 100 years. Traditionally they would have been given as wedding gifts to be handed down from generation to generation. They are long wearing blankets and if cared from well, they could be part of your family heritage to pass on to your future generations. 

Tapestry Bedspreads

Our Welsh tapestry blankets range from push chair and cot sizes as baby blankets, to throws, single, double and king size blankets and can be complimented with a Welsh tapestry cushions in various sizes. 

 

 

Blanket - Throw Size Size
(cms)
Size
(inches)
Weight
(kgs)
Weight
(lbs)
Throw  170 x 115 67 x 45 1.5 3.4
Throw (Large) 180 x 160 70 x 65 1.7 4.0
Single 230 x 180 90 x 72 2.0 4.5
Double 230 x 230 90 x 90 2.4 5.0
King 255 x 230 100 x 90 2.7 5.8
  

To get the correct size, you need to decide if you want the blankets to drape over the sides of the bed and also at the end of the bed. For example, in the UK a double bed is 140cms wide. Using the measurements above, a single blanket would drape to the floor about 20cms (or 8 inches) on each side of the bed (180cms -140cms divided by two). A double blanket at 230cms wide would drape approximately 45 cms on either side (18 inches) and hence would drape almost to the floor on either side of the bed. (See UK and Overseas Bed Sizes)

Welsh tapestry blanketsWelsh tapestry cushions

Welsh tapestry blankets have a long and rich heritage but are nearly as popular today as they were 100 years ago. They make great presents which will last a lifetime and are the warmest of bed blankets for any weathers.

They are also great for a cwtch - everybody can cuddle but only the Welsh know how to cwtch :)

More Wool blogs

 



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