Help identifying wool blanket manufacturer

MikkJune 30, 2011

I am trying to identify the maker of a vintage wool blanket. There is a curious symbol woven into the blanket itself. It is a half circle with horizontal lines extending to the right and left of the half circle. The top of the half circle has 3 lines extending upward. To me, it appears to be the sun rising over the horizon.

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Mikk

A photo was upload to : http://photobucket.com/kidsmakes7

Here is a link that might be useful: Photo

    Bookmark   June 30, 2011 at 9:49PM
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jemdandy

An interesting blanket. I don't know anyting about blankets. My guess it is Navajo, from the 4 corners region, made in recent times for tourist trade. I have seen this "rising sun" symbol in petroglyphs found in the 4-corners region.

A simlar symbol has been used in Boy Scout ceremonies where a Cub Scout crosses over a bridge to become a Boy Scout.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 5:25AM
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lindac

I have never ever seen the symbol the poster described used in any South-western Indian art....and the boy scout symbol you describe is the golden arrow symbol...an arc over an arrow with 7 rays.
What color is the blanket? is there any other design/symbol woven in? How large is the blanket....how large the symbol and what color? Does the symbol show on the back of your blanket?
a picture would help a lot in identifying the blanket.
I think it's highly unlikely that its Navajo.
Linda c

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 8:42AM
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Mikk

Thank you for your responses. Much appreciated!

The blanket is lavender with alternating white and pastel green colored stripes. It is 75" x 49" and the symbol itself is about 4" tall by 3". The symbol is woven in and is visible on both sides of the blanket.

I posted a follow-up to my original post with a link to a photo. Sorry. I'm new and still learning the in's and out's of this forum. :-)

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 12:48PM
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calliope

Linda..........there is a picture on the second post. I am wondering why you think it's vintage? lilac/sage/beige doesn't cry out vintage it speaks modern tastes. I take it that it is totally without label? The workmanship is so fine that it appears to be machine woven....never seen stripes on handwoven items that crisp.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 12:49PM
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Ideefixe

I doubt the Navajo were working in lavender. Could be any number of companies--is the sunrise embroidered or woven?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 1:06PM
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Mikk

I'm probably using the term "vintage" loosely. I know that it originally belonged to my great grandmother and was given to my grandmother when she was a girl, so it's known history dates back to the mid 1920's. (my grandmother would have been in her late teens then)

I'm not very familiar with weaving or blankets, but I agree. To me it looks like it is machine woven, too. Especially in the near perfect size and symmetry of the symbol. But what do I know? lol

You are also correct in that it is totally without any other markings or labels. What's also curious to me is that the symbol is neither a corner marking nor "featured" on the blanket. It is approximately 1/3 of the way up, and 6" or so from the left edge of the blanket.

There may be something to jemdandy's idea that it might be of Indian origin. Along with this blanket, there were also 2 4-point Hudson Bay trade blankets.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 1:10PM
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Mikk

ideefixe, hence my confusion. lol None of it seems to make any sense to me, and pastels really don't scream early 1900's either... Indian or otherwise.

The symbol is woven into the blanket.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 1:16PM
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lindac

The blanket looks similar to a lot of woll blankets I have seen of that ear...1920-ish...but the colors don't. The ones I see are usually white background with blue and red...or just blue or blue and yellow or black and red....
Never lavender...
Does it have a binding?....did it ever?
Linda C

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 1:48PM
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calliope

I don't mean to be argumentative, but the symbol really looks like it's handworked in with wool and not woven in. Are you positive that's not the case? If it were handwoven in, and that can be done very expertly, it may have had some special significance to somebody who owned it, perhaps a brand, or a camp they attended in their youth. Not necessarily done by the maker, IOW.

Oh yes, I would call 1920s vintage, and nearly antique, but it certainly looks newer than that and appears to be in excellent condition. It's quite pretty. What are the dimensions of it, overall?

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 3:51PM
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Mikk

There is no binding, and doesn't appear that it ever had any. There does appear to be a simple cross stitch along the edges. Not overlapping the edge, just a tying stitch.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 3:55PM
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lindac

I just copied the image and zoomed in....almost no doubt that the design is embroidered on after the blanket was made, and I don't think it had any relationship to the maker, but rather to the owner.
You say it's 75 X 49....sounds like a twin size that has shrunk through many washings.
That edge stitch is called Blanket Stitch and often used on the edges of blankets, either after the satin binding has gotten ratty or instead of a satin binding.
My guess would be that someone took it to camp....and that was the insignia of their tent or cabin...or even the camp.
Linda C

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 4:05PM
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Mikk

Calliope - I'm not positive that it is woven in, no. It appears to be... the nap and depth is consistent with the surrounding wool, doesn't appear to be any denser to the surrounding wool... kwim? Like a density change when additional fibers are added.

I'm not an expert, so it may very well be likely that it was added later. Is so, it's really some incredible work. :-) I'm always amazed at the skills of others.

It's 75" x 49". I really do love it, but it's such an oddity, which is why I thought to turn to others more in the know than I. Odd symbol, odd colors for the time... It would be lovely just to know a little more of it's history.

All of the blankets were very well preserved. They were wrapped and inside a locked cedar chest. I don't know if my grandmother ever even took them out after her mother passed.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 4:06PM
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lindac

The way that design is situated on the blanket and the shape, would require the loom operator to change colors stop the loom....etc etc. every row.
with wool yarn, a skillful needle worker could easily work that design....and with use the yarns would become more like each other.
But I can't figure out how that could be worked into a machine woven blanket.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 6:38PM
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lindac

I just copied the image and zoomed in....almost no doubt that the design is embroidered on after the blanket was made, and I don't think it had any relationship to the maker, but rather to the owner.
You say it's 75 X 49....sounds like a twin size that has shrunk through many washings.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 1:11AM
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lazy_gardens

Not Navajo - their weaving is seldom that large and they don't do just stripes.

My guess is that the symbol was embroidered on to a commercial blanket to identify the blanket for a hotel, guest ranch or resort.

The colors are not out of line for 1920s through 1940s.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 12:59PM
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lindac

Navajos do stripes....a lot! And often just stripes...I own 2.
Stripes are the easiest thing to weave. Same color all the way across, no need to stop and change colors in the middle of a throw.
and I agree that the symbol was embroidered on for identification.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 1:55PM
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Mikk

Just a FYI/follow-up. I was able to learn more about this blanket. It turns out that it was made by Baron Woolen Mills of Brigham City, Utah. BWM was established in 1870, and the Rising Sun blanket was intended as a trade good with the indians, hence the special emblem.

I guess they decided that Hudson Bay had a pretty good idea. :-)

Thank you again for everyones input.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 8:47AM
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lindac

Fascinating....now we all learned something.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 9:15AM
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calliope

Exactly! Great you got confirmation on that blanket and thanks for sharing with the rest of us.

    Bookmark   July 4, 2011 at 10:21AM
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fountainhead80

Sorry this is a little late, but your blanket is from the Baron Woolen Mills in Brigham City UT and the symbol is their Auroea Borealis line. I spoke to one of the descendants several years ago and he was in his late 80s. He did not like it when I referred to the symbol as "the rising sun" and corrected me to the proper Aurora Borealis---didn't look like the Norhtern Lights to me--anyway the Aurora Borealis was Baron's higher end of blanket lines and I think they were still in business in the 1990s

    Bookmark   January 30, 2012 at 6:00PM
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