The Collaborative Story Behind Our Whimsy Patchwork Throw

by - Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Throughout Nepal, there are craft cooperatives where women artisans gather to create textiles. At one such cooperative we recently came across a most remarkable blanket that we call the Whimsy Patchwork Throw.

Sundance Catalog Whimsy Patchwork Throw by Nepalese Artisans

The story behind the throw is as unique as its coloration and design. For starters, the small cooperative has been run by the same core group of Nepalese women for more than three decades! Their expertise includes block printing, felting, sewing, weaving, embroidery and much more.

Last year, these talented artisans were experimenting with a new technique (see the process below), one that combined wool fleece, cotton prints and chiffon to create a single fabric. They created a few intriguing samples but had no clear idea for a product.

Enter Andrea and Gayle Shackleton. The knitwear designers (and sisters) from Northern California have collaborated with the artisans for many of those same 30 years, ever since their very first volunteer development project. They were immediately impressed by how the combination of fabric and fleece takes on a whole new quality and rich texture.

Together, these friends from opposite sides of the globe came up with the idea of a crazy quilt! Each piece would be different, not just from front to back but also throughout each square. The design uniquely showcased the unusual new fabric, resulting in glowing colors seemingly emanating from fleece layers within. It’s like a painting made out of cloth!

The design project would eventually bring the team to other local studios for additional ideas and inspiration. Old friends were celebrated, new friends were made and stories shared. It was a rewarding experience for all.

The process, step by step:

1. The team starts with a stack of fabrics.

2. Raw wool fleece in bright colors is selected.

3. Fleece and fabric color combinations are matched up.

4. The print fabric is laid down first, then a fleece layer of another design, topped by a layer of chiffon in small pieces and many more colors.

5. Once combined, the fabric and fleece take on a whole new quality and texture.

6. The third layer, chiffon, is a wet process.

7. The throw is now a sandwich, with fabric prints on one side, wool fleece in the center and chiffon on the other side. Each layer has a design of its own.

8. They are wetted, rolled, and locked together by the wool fibers to become a single fabric.

The finished Whimsy Patchwork Throw is a treasure, combining the warmth of wool, the softness of cotton and the luxurious feel of chiffon, in a delightful and one-of-a-kind patchwork design. It would make a colorful and functional addition to any home.

You May Also Like