Alchemy Blankets & The Mollie Makes Handmade Awards 2019

Last week I was over the moon to discover that the Alchemy Blankets I make have been short-listed for the Product of the Year category in the Mollie Makes Handmade Awards 2019.

I remember purchasing the very first issue of Mollie Makes, and very soon thereafter all us crafters were crocheting apple cosies! It was a great magazine - so fresh and beautifully produced, and I was excited to subscribe. Over the years, I bought it when I knew I would have time to read it, but last year I subscribed again, so when the entry details for the Handmade Awards were announced, I thought it would be fun to enter. It was also the same time as I was building the website, so I created a Pinterest board and thought “in for a penny, in for a pound” and hit the send button!

Fast forward to last week when the short-listed finalists were announced - I was one of them!! ME! I’ll be heading to Bristol in a couple of weeks time where I will be one of a group of selected competitors taking part in a day of workshops, photo sessions and mentoring, which will be absolutely brilliant. At the end of the day, the winners will be announced, with the Product of the Year category being decided by a public vote. There are nine of us in my category, and all the other makers look fabulous, so I’m just going to go and enjoy meeting everyone and the experience of the day.

That said, since I’m going to be hoping that all my lovely friends and supporters will head over to the Mollie Makes blog and vote for me, I thought it would be a good time to outline the principles behind the Alchemy Blankets, for anyone out there who doesn’t really know what they are all about….

Basically, it goes as follows:


800g yarn - scraps, odds and ends of all different weights and textures

+

48” Ashford Rigid Heddle Loom

+

ClaraPeggoty Weaving

=

Alchemy Blanket (approximately 75” x 45”)


And that’s it! When you commission an Alchemy Blanket from me, I ask you send around 800g of yarn leftovers from your stash. Some folk choose to send new skeins (which is fine), and others send a whole gamut of different tiny balls and oddments. As Knitters and Crocheters, we all tend to amass yarns of all weights, lengths, colours and fibres - too much (of course) to throw away, but not really enough to put to good use in a pattern, so bringing them all together into a beautiful and functional product is a win/win situation.

I have made blankets for people who knew exactly what each and every yarn and colour-way represents from their handmade wardrobe; for those Mums who taught their daughters to knit, and wanted a blanket made from the leftovers of yarns they used together; and for people whose loved ones have passed away, and having their precious yarn stash made into a blanket is a tangible memory and tribute of those they have lost. I have also made blankets for independent yarn dyers, from their favourite handdyed colour-ways, as well as the Flower Power Blanket for the Marie Curie Cancer Care fund-raising effort, co-ordinated last year on Instagram. Most recently I have been weaving a blanket made from 100% cotton - picked, carded and handspun by women from Burkina Faso, Laos and other African communities. This piece, in particular, feels more of an honour to be working on than a commission.

There are no right and wrong colours for a blanket - I always tell my customers not to try to match the yarns, and although some of them do still put specific colour palettes together (such as all blues, or greens and browns), many of them send a true hotchpotch of colours, which STILL come together in a totally stunning and, always, unique way.

I think the best thing to do is to leave you with a gallery of images of some of the blankets I have created over the past couple of years, and hope that these pictures speak for themselves. One thing I have realised through all this is that I don’t actually have an Alchemy Blanket of my own! Maybe sometime next year, when the loom is quiet, I might take the time to dig into my own leftovers…..

With warmest hugs,

Nicky x

Nicky WintertonComment