It was the need for a very special baby gift that brought me to Swans Island, an online purveyor of exquisite blankets, throws, wraps and scarves. A stylish friend recommended the company’s unique site as the place to source perfect presents, and I’ve become addicted to its hand-woven, hand-dyed creations.
Based in Northport, Maine, Swans Island focuses on crafting fewer than 2,000 blankets per year from domestic Corriedale and rare wools (made from less common brown and black sheep), as well as from organic merino wool that can be woven to order. What ties all of its creations together is an understated elegance and simplicity – think Turkish towels in subtle beige and taupe hues – combined with functional warmth that keeps the damp or chill (such a part of life in Maine) at bay.
Begin in the Blankets & Throws area, with its vast array of spreads made from the softest fleece, all trimmed with elegant silk threads. These hand-loomed, summer weight wool pieces are perfect for the changing seasons and come in tasteful colour combinations: white with grey stripes (first picture), grey with indigo (second picture), or an almost-exotic deep indigo (from $595). Each blanket arrives in a beautiful keepsake linen bag (third picture) with cedar slats designed to retain the freshness of the product (and protect it from moths). Rare wool varieties (from $750) – of which there are only a few made each year – come in rich chocolate browns and suit a range of bed sizes.
There are heirloom baby blankets ($198) in pure white – or white with just a hint of rose or yellow – that come in elegant linen boxes whose tops have clear cellophane tops to hold photos, thereby turning packaging into a highly personalised little treasure. Cosy throws ($425) in soft lilac, sky blue and muted shades of grey are so fine and lovely as to be wearable, and each comes with a sweet Swans Island book detailing the company’s history.
The Apparel section features wraps in the simplest white and grey ($295) – perfect for light summer layering – as well as organic merino wool scarves with silk trim in oatmeal, tweed and thyme hues ($158) that are both fashionable and extremely durable.
In addition to all of the wonderful colour and pattern combinations you’ll find on the site, Swans Island will happily accept custom orders for hand-stitched monograms, specific dyes, or unique stripe configurations. But the real joy is in the browsing and shopping experience – from soothing images of coastal New England to the kind customer service, all-American at its best. It makes finding a gift that will last a lifetime a genuine pleasure.