Caroline Williford, with the support of Judi Jetson, has been working hard to display and promote the blankets locally and in surrounding areas of WNC. Voting for favorite blankets is an important part of these displays as it gives insight into which blankets should be part of larger production runs.
Marketing coupled with well-placed displays will establish wholesale and retail interest in blanket sales. It will also instill a desire to buy in individuals who pass by. A combination of the attraction of beautiful craftsmanship, the desire to acquire local, handmade products, and the motivation to support local fiber farmers, dyers, weavers and small mills will drive sales of Blue Ridge Blankets. These factors have already worked on me and others at Local Cloth. All of us are anxious to buy blankets for home. At some point, probably after other blankets are produced, the display blankets may be auctioned to raise money for further development of the Blue Ridge Blanket project.
Blankets with voting from Autumn 2022 at the Local Cloth studio, 408 Depot St., Asheville, NC. Now that the blankets have moved to other sites, the Blue Ridge Blanket display at the LC studio has been changed. Please come on down and take a look; browse and shop while you are there.
The Craft Fair of the Southern Highlands on October 13-16, 2022, and Blue Ridge blankets & Craft Corner at the Southeastern Animal Fiber Festival (SAFF) Oct 21-23, 2022, with voting.
I-26 West NC Welcome Center Blanket Display is now open and will be on display for 6 months (Jan-Jun, 2023). Directions from Asheville: North on I-26, exit at Wolf Laurel, come back south toward Weaverville and the Welcome Center is on the right.
Opening Jan 26, 2023,two blankets will be on display at the Ramsey Center for Appalachian Studies at Mars Hill University as part of a larger show.
February 17-19, 2023, the Blue Ridge Blankets will be on display at the Grovewood Gallery during the Arts + Crafts Conference. Following the conference, a few of the blankets will remain on display at the gallery.
Yarn ready to be shipped from the Green Mountain Spinnery.
I-26 West NC Welcome Center Blanket Display
Ramsey Center for Appalachian Studies at Mars Hill University
In order to scale up production of the blankets and get the process out of the hands of volunteers and into the hands of small businesses as the process is developed, LC obtained estimates from dyers to dye the processed yarn. Melanie Wilder, of Warren Wilson College, has been selected as the lead dyer. Once the first batch of yarn is dyed it will be shipped to Peggy Hart of Bedfellows Blankets who will be doing the weaving of the first full production run of blankets. The second round of yarn will be dyed later in the spring, and the weaving completed by independent weavers in our Fibershed.
A microgrant, recently obtained from Fibershed provides funds for a secondary project: Blue Ridge Blankets: Mapping and Expanding Value Added Opportunities for Fiber Animal Farmers in WNC. With this project, we will create an updated map and database of fiber farmers and fiber processors in our region, bring fiber farmers together to discuss their assets and identify challenges to developing a more robust entrepreneurial environment, and create systems, based on our findings, to support fiber farmers in expanding value-added operations on their farms, and as a result, reinvigorate our region’s fiber economy. We will hold three meetings with Farmers in late February / early March, in three different regions of our fibershed. Stay tuned for details.