I’ve never done a holiday gift guide before. Why? Frankly, because I have never been all that creative when it comes to thinking up great gifts to give people! I usually exasperate my relatives by having no viable answer when they ask what they should get the boys and the HH & me for Christmas. And my Handsome Husband usually comes up with at least 75% of the gift ideas we give our kids & family.
I have such a hard time, in fact, that I’m usually the person who is searching OTHER bloggers’ gift guides for ideas!
However, I DO love beautiful, artisanal things for the home.
And I love supporting the few multi-generational American businesses who still make them.
That’s why I’m excited to focus on one American company that I’ve known about (and patronized) for many years — the Faribault Woolen Mill Co.
Faribault Woolen Mill — 150 Years in the Making
I first learned about Faribault Woolen Mill when we had just moved to New Hampshire back in 2011. I read a headline about about a historic woolen mill that had filed bankruptcy in 2009 but was reopening under private management with pre-sales of some of its basic wool throws and blankets.
At the time, we had hardly any furniture. We were in a depressing basement-type of an apartment. Our bedding was just one of about everything I hated.
But I’d always loved the feeling of wool. And I thought a wool coverlet for our bed, something that would go under our comforter in the winter and be our main layer in the summer, would be a wonderful way to help support an iconic American company that was trying to make a comeback — as well as give me one soft, beautiful thing in that depressing place!
I chose the Pure & Simple Blanket in Ivory — 9 years later, it’s still on our bed!
Founded in 1865, Faribault Woolen Mill is the longest running manufacturer in Minnesota and is one of the last “vertical woolen mills” left in America. Its Cannon River dam is on the National Register of Historic Places
All images from Faribault Woolen Mill’s website.
(A vertical woolen mill is one where ALL FABRIC PRODUCTION PROCESSES are undertaken at one site, by one company.)
The “new” factory dates to 1892. Many of current employees have been working at the mill for 30-60 years, with generations of their families, from the end of the Civil War through WWII, providing blankets for the USA’s armed services.
Faribault receives bales of wool weighing 600-900lbs each and puts the fiber through 22 STEPS to become a finished product. This 7 minute video takes you through the fascinating process.
The mill uses either virgin lambswool or merino wool, sourced from the U.S., Australia, and New Zealand. Most finished products take an average of 10 days to produce.
I’ve used Faribault products in a few of my decorating projects. Like in the teen boy’s bedroom below.
The Coziest Gift Guide, Courtesy of Your Fellow Americans
What made me think to highlight Faribault this year was receiving its catalog in the mail last week. I was impressed by the continued evolution of designs and offerings — as well as how chic some of the newest releases are!
Let’s face it. The whole world is suffering economically with the pandemic. I’m tired of seeing local businesses I love close.
I’d also be REALLY sorry if this scrappy grassroots, generations-old manufacturer, that has boot-strapped its way back into being from bankruptcy (even opening a a Chicago retail store on Michigan Avenue in October — fingers crossed they can stay open) had to shutter again, after all its innovation, imagination, and inspiration!!!
BTW–This is not to say that Faribault is in financial straights. I have no idea. It’s just that I want to support this company and help them continue to innovate and provide the public with beautiful wool products!!
So here it is! My favorites from Faribault Woolen Mill Co., American innovator & icon and Heartland employer. These are not going to help you with the “$15 & Under” set on your shopping list, but for your dearly loved ones, you couldn’t find better!
Did you see anything you like? I’ll take one of the cozy merino cardigans! But I think Faribault needs to make some map blankets of our New Hampshire lakes — what do you think???
I’ll be taking time off next weekend for Thanksgiving with my men. I am thankful for all of you lovely readers. You keep me coming back to write this blog, week after week! It is my wish that, even as this holiday presents us with less gathering together than usual, you, too, have many things to be thankful for — including, I hope, your health!