Goldfinch Blankets

Hand Detailing & Handwoven Textures / Goldfinch Design at its Finest

Megan Johansson, contributor for Goldfinch Modern Textile Craft

When Goldfinch was created, it was driven by a love for experimenting and developing handmade textiles and for seeking out both new and vintage/ancient inspirations from around the globe. That passion still holds true today in each of our pieces, which are handwoven and hand-detailed, creating textures that are truly timeless and unique. Handcrafted, they’re pieces that connect each of our customers with the world at large, and it’s the human touch and attention to detail that’s the heart and soul of our company. From tassels to fringe, the Goldfinch standard incorporates high quality design. So today on the blog, we’re taking a look at some of our favorite elements.

Tassels

Tassels are more than finishing touches of textile craft. They add personality to a piece—whether whimsical or elegant, effusive or restrained, functional or frivolous. Ours are all handmade from natural fibers which means slight changes can create different effects, making every throw, pillow and scarf one of a kind.

 the closures on Las Rayas pillows

the closures on Las Rayas pillows

 linen tassels on Gingham Pillows

linen tassels on Gingham Pillows

 cotton tassels weight the corners of the Wild Roses crocheted throw

cotton tassels weight the corners of the Wild Roses crocheted throw

 a fine string tassel for the Natural Beauty scarf

a fine string tassel for the Natural Beauty scarf

Embroidery

The embroidery work on our textiles evokes ethnic pattern and the possibilities are endless. All of our hand embroidered pieces are worked with either cotton or wool yarn, resulting in a variety of timeless, chic, pieces of art.

 soft wool embroidery on a Paisley Ombre throw

soft wool embroidery on a Paisley Ombre throw

 work in progress in Kathmandu

work in progress in Kathmandu

 X-stitch cotton throw

X-stitch cotton throw

 hand-embroidered wool diamonds on the Morocco throw

hand-embroidered wool diamonds on the Morocco throw

Herringbone Stripes, Woven Textures, and Red

These are some of our favorite textile elements that make each piece pop. Herringbone stripes are often used as a subtle edging, but can also make up the main design element, while woven textures from twill to jacquard give our handmade items a beautiful and intricate pattern base. Red, too, is one of our top design details—it’s a preferred accent color at Goldfinch. We consider it to be a neutral that works wonderfully with any other hue.

 our Primera blanket from Mexico exhibits a gorgeous handwoven pattern

our Primera blanket from Mexico exhibits a gorgeous handwoven pattern

 close-up texture of the luxurious Red Line scarf

close-up texture of the luxurious Red Line scarf

 herringbone and twill and stripes in the Square 2 neckerchief

herringbone and twill and stripes in the Square 2 neckerchief

 the Natural Beauty scarf is handwoven of natural colors with…red!

the Natural Beauty scarf is handwoven of natural colors with…red!

Fringe

And last, but not least, fringe is a go-to detail for our Goldfinch designs because it adds playful movement while eliminating the need for a hem. Because skilled hands can produce many varieties, our textiles include everything from short to long, twisted to plain, braided to knotted, with new versions yet to be explored! Plus, adding a bit of fringe to a textile creates a surprising effect based on the warp and weft yarn colors (and we’re always a fan of surprises!).

 so many effects!

so many effects!

 beauty produced by our talented artisans in Nepal

beauty produced by our talented artisans in Nepal

So, whether you love a tassel on your pillow or a fringed scarf with a hint of red, Goldfinch has beautiful handmade creations you’re certain to fall in love with. If there’s one thing we know, it’s that the beauty of textiles is in the details. :)

Scarf Styling Tips / Why Scarves Are Essential Additions to Your Fall Wardrobe

Megan Johansson, contributor for Goldfinch Modern Textile CraftComment
 Red Line Stripe on Franny

Red Line Stripe on Franny

Fall is coming up quickly, and the thought of incorporating scarves into our everyday outfits has us all kinds of excited. Here at Goldfinch, we have a variety of scarves in different shapes, sizes, and colors, so whatever style you gravitate towards, you’re sure to find the perfect fit. And in our opinion, they’re hands down the perfect accessory and a total necessity as the days turn cooler. 

So, let’s talk style--why scarves? What makes these beauties the ideal finishing touches to a fall wardrobe?

On a practical note, they’re essential as the weather shifts. During the upcoming transition months, the weather can range anywhere from blistering summer heat to crisp and chilly winds, which makes outfit planning a bit complicated. Wearing a heavy sweater can backfire if the afternoon heats up, but opting for only a light dress might leave you feeling cold and uncomfortable. A scarf provides a happy medium, giving you flexibility and easily layering on top of any ensemble. Toss one over your shoulders as a shawl to warm you up in a snap, or take a break from the heat by rearranging your scarf around your waist or as a hairpiece. It’s versatile and simple as can be when it comes to adjusting your temperature and staying comfortable all day long. 

scarf wrap
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Beyond temperature, scarves are ideal for blending day and night style. Whether you’re topping a pair of khakis, a chunky knit sweater or an evening dress, it’s an accessory that makes outfit transitions seamless. For a casual look, use your scarf as a belt or layer a scarf over your outfit by draping it loosely--both emphasize comfort and ease. If you want to opt for a more refined and dressed up vibe, try a front knot for interest, or drape it around your shoulders as a gorgeous wrap. You’ll find that dressing up or down is a total snap.

 Square 1

Square 1

 Ikat Linen Neckerchief

Ikat Linen Neckerchief

 Red Line Indigo

Red Line Indigo

 Camel Hair Orange

Camel Hair Orange

 Square 2

Square 2

 Red Line Blush

Red Line Blush

 Square 3

Square 3

 Red Line Stripe

Red Line Stripe

Scarves are perfect for adding a splash of personality to your style, too. No matter what types of clothes you prefer--pared down and neutral or layered, bright and colorful--a scarf can add instant pizzazz. Transform a simple outfit by tossing a small scarf around your neck or adding a beautiful pattern to your hair as a quick and stylish ponytail solution. Prefer a looser flowing look? Tuck the corner of a scarf into your pocket for added texture and movement or let the long ends float in the breeze behind you. And try tying it around your head for a chic and sophisticated retro look. The possibilities are endless--just remember that to achieve the perfect scarf style and individualize your look, the trick is to be creative.

As we round the corner into fall, don’t forget to add scarves to your list of must-have accessories. From practical solutions to stylish expressions, they’re ideal for any day of the week, no matter the look you’re going for. 

And that’s what we call a bit of Goldfinch magic.

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How to Use a Throw: 7 Ways to Incorporate Throws Into Your Daily Life

Megan Johansson, contributor for Goldfinch Modern Textile Craft

Many people assume that a throw can be used only on a sofa or bed. But the truth is that they’re incredibly versatile and perfect for just about any activity.

Most of our throws here at Goldfinch are a generous 52 x 72”, which means they’re ideal for everything from lounging by a cozy fire to sprawling on the beach with a good book. Whatever your favorite pastimes are, our throws are guaranteed to be the ideal pairing—you’ll want to take it with you wherever you go. 

Looking for some ideas on how to use your throws? Check out our list below for inspiration:

Use It As a Blanket

Whether you’re tossing it on the edge of the bed or draping it over a sofa or chair, throws are great to use as blankets. Opt for bold images and prints for a pop of personality in your interior décor, or go for subtle patterns to add layers of textural interest to your home.

 Our wool throws with braided fringe are oh-so-cozy

Our wool throws with braided fringe are oh-so-cozy

 Layers of Le Classique, Morocco and Accento! throws personalize your beds

Layers of Le Classique, Morocco and Accento! throws personalize your beds

 The French Man starts the conversation

The French Man starts the conversation

Take It to the Beach

Towels are, of course, a necessity for drying off after a swim, but have you ever considered bringing your throw as well? They’re excellent as a blanket and large enough for you to comfortably spread out on the sand to soak up the sun or lounge with a good book.

 Namibia linen on the sand

Namibia linen on the sand

Use It for a Picnic

Similar to a beach blanket, throws are amazing picnic additions. Simply lay it out on the grass or drape it over your wicker settee, pop open your favorite bottle of wine and a few delicious snacks, and you’re all set for an afternoon of relaxation that’s hard to beat.

 Americana on We the People throw for summer holidays

Americana on We the People throw for summer holidays

Hang It on a Wall

We’re definitely fans of using throws as art—-they immediately make a space feel unique and homey, bringing a warmth to the room that is inherently inviting. Plus, if you’ve got a large wall, a throw will often fill the space much better than smaller art can.

 The Red Head is a kindly presence

The Red Head is a kindly presence

Use It as a Tablecloth

We love the idea of using a throw as a tablecloth. It instantly brings a dining space to life. Just make sure to use linen or cotton fabrics since they’re washable and easier to care for if spills occur.

 Primera cotton throw for dining alfresco

Primera cotton throw for dining alfresco

Take It for Plane Travel

Airplanes are notorious for being cold (especially on long flights). But why settle for the complimentary flimsy, synthetic blankets the airline offers? Pack your favorite Goldfinch throw instead and you’ll feel right at home when you're 30,000 feet in the air.

Wear It

Finally, throws are excellent to wear, offering both style and warmth for chilly summer nights or crisp fall days. Just toss it over your shoulders as a shawl or wrap, and you’re ready to go.

Namibia linen throw
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There’s nothing quite like a versatile throw to complete your casual living lifestyle, and the best part about our Goldfinch throws is that they’re perfect for all age groups and genders. Soon enough, your entire family will want their own to take with them on all of their travels and adventures—and in our humble opinion, there’s nothing better. Even your puppy thinks so!

dog blanket

Goldfinch Goes Global

Megan Johansson, contributor for Goldfinch Modern Textile Craft

Sourcing the finest craftsmanship for our Goldfinch custom fabric means we don’t rely on factory-made textiles from automated factories. Instead, our hand woven textiles come directly from a group of skilled workers in Kathmandu, Nepal whose dedication to the weaving process is unparalleled.

Employing global workers has its challenges – especially given that we are halfway across the world from one another. Sometimes specifications or product requirements get lost in translation, and we often have to be available to clarify instructions or questions in the middle of the night due to the time difference. Employing global workers means that nearly everything between our studio and Nepal is conducted via email and text because the distance is too great to allow for frequent site visits to supervise, answer questions, check colors and other details. And though the product delivery time is much slower due to the long process required of handwork, it’s something we wouldn’t trade for the world.

You see, with partnership on global textiles, there are many benefits. We’re able to order small and exclusive quantities (as opposed to larger orders required from automated factories), and we get high quality hand woven fabric of the perfectly-imperfect type. Because of the lower, but fair, Nepali wages, we’re able to offer these beautiful textile creations at affordable prices for our Goldfinch customers – all the while knowing we are helping to provide a sustainable and improving lifestyle to the people we work with. The well-being of our global partners always takes priority in our work.

Beyond that, though, Nepal is a one-of-a-kind place that has a special spot in our hearts. Travel to this exotic locale is an important personal challenge, as well as inspiring, stimulating, and educational. Since we began a partnership on our custom designs with this dedicated group of weavers in 2013, we have built wonderful relationships, and our visits to Nepal mean getting the chance to visit dear and respected friends. 

So, who are these incredibly skilled workers? Meet some of our weaving partners:

Shiva, the Workshop Owner No aspect of the global textile production process goes unnoticed by Shiva. He is incredibly dedicated to his operation and typically works very long days to ensure that everything runs smoothly.

 Shiva jumps in to iron a Namibia Linen Throw before packing.

Shiva jumps in to iron a Namibia Linen Throw before packing.

Tika, the Wife of the Workshop Owner Recently, Shiva was able to add a new floor to his family’s home thanks to his hard work, and his wife Tika now has her own rooftop kitchen and garden, complete with solar heating for the home’s hot water. “Happy wife, happy life,” indeed!

 Tika on the rooftop surrounded by her beloved flower garden

Tika on the rooftop surrounded by her beloved flower garden

 The new rooftop patio before Tika installed her flowers

The new rooftop patio before Tika installed her flowers

 A new rooftop solar system collects the Nepali sun to produce hot water

A new rooftop solar system collects the Nepali sun to produce hot water

Sushil, the Workshop Owner’s Son Shiva and Tika’s son, Sushil, had his first modeling experience during our recent visit to Nepal--we needed a handsome dude for some scarf photos, and he was the perfect fit!

 Sushil modelling our Red Line Scarf in front of a fantastic neighborhood gate

Sushil modelling our Red Line Scarf in front of a fantastic neighborhood gate

Kisor & Padam Daas, Weavers Brothers originally from India, they come to Nepal to weave as there is often not enough steady work for their extensive skills in their Indian village. Always sticking together, they take on jobs as a pair and are quiet, steady, and patient while weaving. Though they don’t speak a word of English, they are the highly valued nucleus of the hand weaving operation.

 In this photo, Kisor (seated) and Padam share a light moment while preparing the warp.

In this photo, Kisor (seated) and Padam share a light moment while preparing the warp.

Ganga, Knitting Department Master Ganga takes immense pride in his work, and he reads English better than he speaks it. Because he has to understand the instructions and drawings sent to him by international clients, this is a must. But during our visit to Nepal, we encouraged him to practice spoken English, and by the end of our visit (during which we had several wonderful conversations), he told us he felt much more confident doing so.

 Ganga at his work table

Ganga at his work table

Sobha Karki and Asha Rai, Handcrafters These women are an incredibly valuable pair, moving around the workshop to perform many different tasks throughout the hand production process. Here they're pictured (first photo) making skeins for dyeing and (second photo) hand-crafting linen tassels. During particularly busy times, they are joined by other women with similar skills in the finishing department, where their fine work includes fringing, embroidery, making tassels, and adding other details to the finished custom fabric pieces. Their exceptional skills help them to provide a steady flow of income to their families.

 Sobha and Asha lend their hands to prepare yarn skeins for dyeing

Sobha and Asha lend their hands to prepare yarn skeins for dyeing

 Making linen tassels

Making linen tassels

 Sobha's completed handiwork

Sobha's completed handiwork

Workshop Visitors Oftentimes the children of the workers visit the workshop, watching their mothers’ dedication to the craft each and every day. Here, a group of adorable neighborhood girls pose in front of the workshop. Perhaps one day they'll become the next generation of future skilled workers who will continue to create fine handcrafted products from Nepal!

 Just look at these sweet faces!

Just look at these sweet faces!

At Goldfinch, we're proud to partner with such skilled individuals, and look forward to working together with them in Kathmandu on future design collaborations. Hand woven with great attention to detail and using only natural fibers, every one of our custom textiles is made exclusively for you--and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

The Goldfinch Weaving Process

Megan Johansson, contributor for Goldfinch Modern Textile Craft

Global sourcing for hand woven fabric has always been our focus here at Goldfinch, and a love of natural fibers guides all that we do. So it’s no surprise that our recent design collaboration with Blu Dot incorporated just that (read more about our collaboration story here). 

Sourced directly from Kathmandu, Nepal, both the Lovely Linen and Chaperone throw blankets went through a journey of love and attention to detail before making their way to the United States. Unlike factory-made fabrics, the Goldfinch weaving process is done entirely by hand, and it’s incredible just how many people it takes to produce a large order like this. 

From start to finish, there are about 30 people involved, all skilled at different tasks, yet working together seamlessly. The result is a custom textile product that has an unmatched personal connection. Who could say no to that? 

So, let’s take a journey back to Nepal and dive into the process to get a closer look.

Step 1: The process begins with cones of yarn, which are unwound to form dyeable skeins.

 Skeins of wool await the dyeing process

Skeins of wool await the dyeing process

Step 2: The yarn goes through the dyeing process, where the undyed fibers become saturated with beautiful colors.

 A ray of sun rests on a group of test colors in the dye house

A ray of sun rests on a group of test colors in the dye house

 Stirring the yarn in a steaming dye bath

Stirring the yarn in a steaming dye bath

Step 3: Once the wool and linen are dyed, the bundles are hung outside to dry.

 Wool, above, and linen, below, drying in the warm Nepali sun

Wool, above, and linen, below, drying in the warm Nepali sun

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Step 4: After the yarn is completely dried, it is rewound onto cones and bobbins.

 Bobbins ready for weaving

Bobbins ready for weaving

Step 5: Then the hand-weaving begins on noisy wooden looms. The process includes first warping the loom, then throwing shuttles back and forth to the create the pattern.

 Weavers starting their day on the looms

Weavers starting their day on the looms

Step 6: When the woven goods are finished and cut from the loom, they are inspected to ensure the highest handmade quality.

 A freshly woven Chaperone throw is inspected right after it has come off the loom

A freshly woven Chaperone throw is inspected right after it has come off the loom

Step 7: After inspection, the blanket is washed and hung to dry on a line.

 Lovely Linen throws hang to dry after washing

Lovely Linen throws hang to dry after washing

Step 8: Next, the blankets are hand-fringed and labelled, then ironed, folded, bagged, and packed for shipment to Goldfinch headquarters in Minneapolis.

 Folding and packaging in Kathmandu

Folding and packaging in Kathmandu

Step 9. Hooray! The shipment arrives in Minneapolis and is ready to go to the Blu Dot warehouse.

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Inspired? So are we. 

Whichever Goldfinch + Blu Dot throw is your favorite, know that your blanket is indeed one of a kind. We hope you’ll cherish it for years to come. Cheers to global textile creations – we can’t wait to see what the future brings.

Goldfinch + Blu Dot: A Bedding Collaboration

Megan Johansson, contributor for Goldfinch Modern Textile Craft

When we got a call from Blu Dot to discuss a design collaboration on their 2018 bedding collection, it felt right from the start. Here at Goldfinch, we’ve always loved Blu Dot and their designs. They have a clarity of vision and a trendsetting sense that is hard to beat. Plus, they’re a local Minneapolis success story and we loved that they wanted to work with a small, independent design company like ours. They were lovely to work with, open minded, and incredibly helpful, appreciative and responsive throughout the entire process. Not only are they stellar designers, but they’re wonderful people to boot.

 Chaperone throw sample on the worktable in our design studio, November 2017

Chaperone throw sample on the worktable in our design studio, November 2017

To develop their bedding collection, Blu Dot was sampling everything from duvets to shams. What they wanted from us were custom textiles to spice up the mix. It was a perfect match. The product development began with pieces from our existing collection, focusing on fabric details and sourcing. As those who’ve loved Goldfinch for years can attest, we always focus on handmade quality in our custom designs, and we only use natural fibers in our work. Sourced from Nepal, our handwoven fabric and textiles are made with the highest quality craftsmanship, which means no thread goes unnoticed. 

We spent about four months working on samples, tailoring our designs to Blu Dot’s style and colors, going back and forth until we found the best mix. Then we ventured to Kathmandu, Nepal for a busy month working with our weavers to make sure all the details were executed according to plan. Ultimately, we landed on the beautiful group of handmade textiles you can now see at bludot.com and in Blu Dot stores nationwide.

 Wool yarn for the Chaperone throws drying in the Kathmandu sun after coming from the dye bath, February 2018

Wool yarn for the Chaperone throws drying in the Kathmandu sun after coming from the dye bath, February 2018

LOVELY LINEN The Lovely Linen blanket, made of handspun natural linen, makes for the perfect addition to any piece of furniture in your home – especially since the fabric ages beautifully and gets softer over time. You can get creative with it as well - throw it over your shoulders for a walk down to the beach, or cozy up with one at the end of the dock as you’re sipping wine in the evening. It’s also perfect for packing on a car trip to your next vacation destination.

 Lovely Linen throw in Color Mix 1 in the  "Designed"  Blu Dot mailer, May 2018

Lovely Linen throw in Color Mix 1 in the "Designed" Blu Dot mailer, May 2018

CHAPERONE The Chaperone basketweave throw blanket is made from the softest 100% wool and can be thrown over the side of a sofa or bed. This blanket is especially ideal for the fall when the weather turns a bit cooler – it’s soft, cozy, and warm, and can double as a luxuriously oversized shawl.

 The Chaperone wool throw is ready for its close up! Blu Dot  "Designed"  mailer, May 2018

The Chaperone wool throw is ready for its close up! Blu Dot "Designed" mailer, May 2018

It’s been thrilling to see our designs for Blu Dot come to life, be offered to a wide audience, and become a part of the casual living lifestyle we love so much. So whether you’re a linen or a wool fan, there’s no doubt that these blankets are the perfect addition to those cool summer evenings. The only hard part now is deciding which Goldfinch + Blu Dot collection piece is the perfect fit for you. Cheers to cozy handmade warmth!