Fresh Retro Love blankets / Kathleen Green

By Cuisine3 Minutes
June 18, 2021By Cuisine

Is it continued COVID uncertainty or just the cooler weather, but we’re feeling the need for a bit of cosy. When it’s time to get snugly with a blanket in your favourite reading chair, comfy couch or tucked up toasty in bed, Kathleen Green of Fresh Retro Love has got you covered.

Hop online to her website or Instagram page and you’ll see dozens of carefully restored New Zealand wool blankets that are bound to twang your memory chords – you know the ones, the tartan car rugs, the satin-edged pastels of Nana’s spare room, or fab checks and stripes in retro brights of groovy 70s orange, olive and brown. There are even old Scout or Army blankets revitalised and ready for new adventures.

Where once there were 18 wool mills making these blankets in New Zealand (each with their own distinctive labels, little works of art in their own right), nowadays there is only one, and more of that later. But as 100 per cent wool is so durable, many of these blankets have survived to today and it’s Kathleen’s aim to give them a new life. First the blankets are carefully washed, then with a meticulous eye for detail they are mended, edges restitched, labels reattached and the wool brushed carefully to bring up the softness. Creative with any necessary repairs, the patches, darns, embroidery and mends become a feature with contrasting thread or fabric, all becoming part of the blanket journey.

“These items share the wool story, from the wool mills that are no longer around, to the struggles of farmers today. Customers are more aware of what they are spending their money on, who has made it and the values behind a product. There’s a bigger picture.”

As well as restored blankets, Kathleen has introduced a range of brand new wool blankets, taking her designs to the country’s only remaining commercial wool mill. Indeed she says purchases of these new wool blankets help support New Zealand industry every step of the way. “Starting with the wonderful wool farmers and farm hands to vets, shearers, graders, wool merchants, the scourers, the spinners, the mill and their fabulous team, the couriers who transport in between each location, even the thread for the blanket stitching is produced right here in New Zealand.”

While these are cosy blankets to laze around with, you’ll need to act quickly to snap up your modern heirloom: often they are gone within minutes of being uploaded to the website. TRACY WHITMEY

freshretrolove.co.nz