5 Must-haves for A Perfect Summer Picnic

June 22, 2017 No Comments

With the warm, long days of summer many of us love eating outdoors, whether in our own gardens, a local park or out in the wilds. Wherever you choose, we’ve gathered up the 5 essential things you will need for the perfect picnic. To make sure you are comfortable, well fed and fully able to make the most of the glorious weather and scenery, read on.

1.Picnic blanket or rug

Perhaps the most important of all picnic accessories, a good blanket is key. You want something hardwearing yet soft to touch, something that can be cleaned easily and that is light enough to carry. Our wool throws tick all these boxes. Made from merino, alpaca, mohair and cashmere our wool throws come in a wide range of designs so you can pick one that works with your interior as well as being a beautiful picnic accessory. We love this throw in dusky pink – a perfect match for tupperware and picnic plates in fresh summer pastels and ice cream tones. Ideal for stretching out on under a tree, or for sitting all the family around you as you share some food.

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2.Durable plates and cups

You needn’t settle for tacky plastic plates and cups, or disposable paper ones. If you want a stylish picnic with sustainably-made dining accessories, choose something like these gorgeous bamboo bowls by Habitat. Mix up different colours for interest, or choose a co-ordinated set if you want a more coherent look.

bamboo picnic bowls

3. Picnic basket

Go for a traditional wicker picnic basket (this one is cute) or something more contemporary, like this nifty boat-shaped vintage-inspired basket. You need something spacious enough to carry your supplies, but not too unwieldy and bulky. A basket is better than a bag as it gives more structured support for its contents, avoiding crushing and squashing. Once the picnic is over, use the basket to store those annoying bits that are usually lying around the house, like Sellotape and stray batteries, then simply decant these into a tub when you need the basket again.

4. A good knife

A decent, versatile knife is essential to happy picnicking. Choose something with a guard, to prevent you cutting yourself. You want a knife that will be as happy cutting bread as slicing through a watermelon, something you can wipe clean and store safely away once you’ve finished with it. We love these stainless steel knives that can handle anything a picnic might throw at them.

5. Napkins

If you want an environmentally-friendly alternative to baby wipes, pack a few linen napkins in your picnic basket. These pure linen napkins are machine washable, meaning you don’t need to worry about stains, and are soft but extremely hardwearing. Their inherent creases are part of their charm, making them an easy go-to for mopping up spills, wiping sticky fingers and dealing with all eventualities.

linen napkins picnic

 

Just add some deliciously simple food, a flask of tea or cooled bottle of bubbly, and great company for the perfect picnic.

For more ways to enjoy our wool throws and blankets in your home or outdoors, go here and here.

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Cashmere: A story of luxury

June 7, 2017 Tags: , , , , No Comments

For many of us cashmere wool has become synonymous with status and luxury. From classic wardrobe staples like a cashmere cardigan to wackier incarnations like Narciso Rodriguez’s 1990’s cashmere-covered Birkenstocks and Toast’s cashmere espadrilles, this versatile wool has kept us in style, and cosy, for years. In this post we unpick the story of this fabulous fibre.

History of cashmere

himalayas

Cashmere originated in the mountains of Inner Mongolia, China, Iran, Turkey and Afghanistan, where the Capra Hircus goats have roamed for centuries. As early as the 14th Century people were using the fleece of these goats to make warm blankets and garments to help them through the punishing Himalayan winters. In the 18th Century, with the growth of the British Empire and the expansion of world trade routes, cashmere was exported across Europe and the Americas. It became very popular with aristocratic women, who loved its softness and warmth and wore cashmere shoulder shawls as the height of fashion and good taste. The Industrial Revolution saw a great expansion in the production of cashmere, with centres of production growing in France, Italy and Scotland. Cashmere’s popularity then dipped until the 1980s when designers began using the wool in exclusive, luxury garments. It became a symbol of wealth and high fashion, but has now found its way onto the high street with stores mixing it with lower quality fibres to keep prices down. The proliferation of cheaper cashmere has meant more people have access to its super soft cosiness, but has also meant quality is not always maintained.

How is cashmere produced?

Domestic goats are shorn or combed to collect the fine fibres, but wild goats are also a valuable source of this wool, leaving clumps to be collected during the moulting season when they rub themselves on trees and rocks to shed their coats for summer. Once the wool has been gathered it is scoured or washed to remove any dirt, dried and then de-haired (separating the main coat from the cashmere hair). Usually only about 20% of what is gathered can be classed as true cashmere. This is then dyed, spun, knitted or woven.

CASHMERE goat

Why is cashmere so expensive?

It’s a simple matter of supply and demand: it can take up to four years for a goat to produce enough cashmere wool to make one sweater. The fact that it is so time-consuming to produce means its value is increased. But it’s not just this that makes cashmere such a pricey fabric. The fibres are longer, finer, stronger and more isothermal than sheep wool, making it an ideal choice for clothes and blankets. Its melting softness adds to its appeal, with people willing to pay more for a garment that will offer them greater comfort.

How to wash cashmere

Always follow the care instructions on your garment, but most good quality cashmere can be washed in cold water (below 30 degrees) on a delicate cycle or by hand. Use a mesh bag to protect the wool if washing in a machine. Lay the item flat on a towel to dry to keep its shape and prevent stretching. Never tumble dry (unless you want your precious cashmere sweater to end up as a tiny doll’s dress!).

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With such a prestigious heritage, and being so hard-to-come-by it’s no wonder that cashmere remains a luxury fabric. Our cashmere throws will bring this simple opulence into your home in an understated way, keeping you and your loved ones warm and cosy as well as looking exquisite.

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Beautiful Ways to Bring Wool Into Your Home

May 23, 2017 Tags: , , , , No Comments

We love woollen throws and blankets for their versatility, cosiness and general loveliness, and we thought it would be fun to show you some ways you can bring complimentary wool products into your home. Wool chairs anyone? These pieces are luxe designer products that would compliment any of our wool throws, and would bring something unusually beautiful into any interior.

Alternative flooring: wool rugs

Luxurious yet simple, Moroccan Berber rugs are having a moment. These pure wool rugs are handmade high in the Atlas mountains and each has its own unique patina and imperfections. Wool makes a great fabric for flooring because it is hardwearing and non-toxic. We think it would pair perfectly with our steel grey Roberto wool rug.

wool berber rug

Wool lampshades

For a unique way to use wool in your home, you could invest in a stunning wool lampshade. Who knew? These gorgeous felted wool lampshades come in 32 colours, meaning you can choose exactly the right one for your interior. Team this lovely mustard one with our stylists’ favourite grey and gold Alberto throw.

wool lampshade

(pic via quirk.com)

Wool furniture

Oh my, this chair has got us all a-flutter. It’s sleek and contemporary, unusual and comfortable. And it’s made from wool. It’s a new spin on the classic Eames mid-century design, made by innovative brand Solidwool, who set about turning around the fortunes of a declining wool town by creating a new material that combines sustainable wool with non-toxic bio-resins. Their products are functional yet stunning. Drape with one of our Luigi blankets in canyon rose for an instantly stylish yet soft look.

wool chair

Wool tapestry

Wool is perfect for weaving and creating not just functional objects – it can also be a piece of art. This lovely tapestry was created by artists Kathryn Swailes and Caron Penney and is handwoven from wool, cotton, linen and gilt gold. It is framed behind non-reflective glass and would make an amazing centrepiece for your wall.

 

Other ideas

Check out Jane Walker’s exquisite designs screen and digitally printed onto wool cloth, or these quirky cone-shaped seats crafted from steam-pleated wool by designer Jule Waibel. And of course, our pure wool, super soft, durable blankets will always look great in any home.

 

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10 Fascinating Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About Alpacas

May 5, 2017 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

These funny-looking creatures are becoming a common sight peering over hedges or trotting around farms, and they have long provided us with their exquisite yarn. From baby alpaca throws to couture high fashion garments, alpaca wool is loved for its incredible strength and its delightful softness. Here are 10 things you (probably) didn’t know about alpacas.

1.Alpacas are a species of domesticated camelid originating in the high Andean plains of South America, but are now kept and bred in over 17 different countries worldwide. This is due to their fabulous yarn and the fact that they are pretty low-maintenance animals.

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2.There are two types of alpaca: the huacaya (mainly used in woollen processes, for clothes and textiles) and the suri (which has a fleece more suited to worsted weights used in suiting and coats).

3. Alpaca wool fibre comes in 22 natural colours, making them the most colour-diverse animals used by humans.

4.The super softness of the yarn comes from the fact that each fibre has fewer scales than sheep’s wool. This also gives alpaca wool its lustre and smooth-to-touch surface.

5. Sir Titus Salt first introduced alpacas into the British market in 1836, and the yarn was very popular with well-to-to Victorians.

6. The average alpaca produces 2.4kg of fibre each year and they live for around 15-20 years.

alpaca-yarn

7. Archaeologists have discovered alpaca mummies dating back to the 15th Century

8. You can take alpacas for walks, treks and sponsor them. Here’s our friend Ali walking Timmy the Alpaca in the middle of Storm Doris.

walking-alpaca

9. A baby alpaca is called a cria. Our baby alpaca throws are not made from the fleece of crias, it is just the name given to the extra-fine fibres we use.

10. Alpaca wool was originally used for Incan royalty. It retains its luxurious reputation to this day, whilst also being a practical yarn. Which is why we love it.

 

 

For more about the benefits of different types of wool, go here. And to find out about walking an alpaca try here.

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The Benefits of Wool: 7 Reasons why we love it

April 11, 2017 Tags: , , , , , No Comments

lambs

If you are not in love with wool yet, here are 7 reasons why you should be (and none of them are to do with cute lambs frolicking in the fields, though we do also love these). Whether you are curling up under a merino throw or picnicking on an alpaca blanket, wool has endless uses around the home. And it’s beneficial in so many ways. Here’s why we are head over heels for wool:

1.Breathable

Unlike synthetic fibres which can leave you hot and sweaty, wool allows your body to breath. This means you stay comfortable, and not shiny-of-face. Which is always a bonus. A heavenly cashmere throw draped over your bed will keep you cosy but not stuffy, whilst pure merino wool clothing provides insulation as well as feeling pleasant against your skin.

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2.Moisture-wicking

Wool can absorb up to 33% of its weight in moisture, which it then releases during the day. Which means that any sweat you produce during the night will be absorbed and dissipated by a wool throw. Alpaca socks are brilliant for this – they need surprisingly little washing as the sweat they absorb is simply released back into the air. No smelly feet or sweat-drenched nights, just simple, luxurious comfort.

3.Fire-retardant

No need for nasty chemical retardants, wool has inbuilt fire-repelling qualities. Which makes it kind of like a super hero, don’t you think?

4.Environmentally friendly

Well sourced wool, from happy sheep, is biodegradable and its production has minimal impact on the environment. So you can snuggle up safe in the knowledge that you are not harming the planet, and you are providing an income for hardworking farmers.

5.Versatile

From wool throws to knitted scarves, wool is amazingly versatile. There are many different types of wool, so you can pick products or yarns with just the right qualities you need – from super softness to durability.

merino-wool-throws

6.Holds bright colours

Wool is able to hold bright colours, meaning you don’t have to plump for earthy natural tones if you’d rather something bolder. Colours stay bright and wear brilliantly, making it a great choice for modern interiors.

7.Hypoallergenic

Some synthetic fibres can cause itchiness or rashes, but not wool. It is gentle on even the most sensitive skins and doesn’t aggravate conditions like asthma because dust mites hate it. This makes it perfect for pillows and bedding if you are an allergy-sufferer. No more waking up with sore eyes, sniffles or unpleasant congestion.

 

Convinced? Great! Why not hop over to our store and enjoy the benefits of wool for yourself and your family?

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Choosing the Perfect Throw for Spring (1)

February 28, 2017 Tags: , , , , , , , No Comments

With spring just around the corner we all start dreaming about lightweight jackets, windbreakers, sneakers and late afternoon walks in the park. To make sure you are ready for it when spring finally comes there are several items for you to get that are essential for spring. One of the essentials is a cosy throw that is just perfect for you and we are here to help you find one.

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Top 3 Uses for a Merino Wool Throw During Winter

January 30, 2017 Tags: , , , , , , No Comments

With the winter giving us the chills every morning all that every single one of us want to do is curl up in bed all cosy and warm and watch James Corden shows all day long. While that sounds like an amazing plan not every one of us can stay at home the whole day without having to go out shopping, walking the dog or simply having to go to work.

Sergio

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