Arpin Honeycomb New Wool Blanket
Article Number 16678
New Wool Blanket with Honeycomb Pattern.
In the Savoie Alps originates the pattern of this soft and warming blanket which looks like a honeycomb from the beehive. The honeycomb pattern – „en nid d’abeilles“ – is woven in two colours. The different colours come solely from the sorting beforehand of the undyed wool. On one side the lighter colour is dominant; on the other, the darker shade. The edges of the blankets are not sewn. If, occasionally, you find a loose thread, snip it off; you should never pull it.
Spun and Woven by Arpin.
When Alexis und Jean-Baptiste Arpin opened their spinning mill in Séez at the foot of the Little St Bernard Pass in the Savoy Alps things didn't change much. The mill continues to use the same machines that were considered top-notch technology in 1817 and are now officially designated as part of France’s national cultural heritage. Those machines are still powered, naturally, by the nearby mountain creek that drives the mill’s water wheel. And the pure virgin wool is still provided by shepherds from the neighbouring regions. Even the traditional techniques used to transform the wool into yarns and woven fabrics have remained unchanged for 200 years. Only the clientele – once mountaineers and peddlers – has changed; it now encompasses customers from all over the world.
Technology and dedication.
In 1908 the production capacity of Arpin’s was enlarged and a turbine established to generate electricity: The company made Séez the first electrified village in the Haute-Tarentaise. The affinity to engineering was handed down in the Arpin family, but nowadays the family members concentrate on maintaining the functionality of their machinery. 14 of their machines have been evaluated as engineering monument worth preservation (monuments historiques) and got the firm the title „Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant“. Looking at the Arpin production site (the mill is open the whole year through to the public), it is not hard to believe: Arpin is living the traditions of its crafts.
The last of its kind.
Arpin is the last operating spinning and weaving mill in France. All necessary work steps are done in house (except the dyeing): the sorting of the new wool, the carding, the spinning, the weaving, and the final fitting. 130 shepherds contribute their wool subsequent to the shearing. Their sheep wander the hills of the region up to the Aosta Valley and are adapted to the Mediterranean mountain climate: the summers are short, it is always cool at night, autumn comes early, and snow may start falling in October and remain until April or May. In the sheep’s wool, no pests are found, and no chemical treatment is necessary: to clean the wool it is washed in the clear waters of a mountain creek nearby. It may need 24 work steps from the raw wool to the woven fabric. Arpin turns its quality fabrics into garments and home textiles on site and supplies local outfitters just like renowned fashion designers with the distinctive weaves.
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