Can you believe 2024 marks a decade of Bates Beach Blankets?! Neither can we!

What started as a fun way to use up extra remnant yarns has become an exciting, annual tradition that we look forward to each spring. 

In honor of our 10 year anniversary, we released 3 special color combinations this year, all named after coastal Maine towns: Kittery, Camden, and Pemaquid (pictured bottom to top). We were excited to release two color-heavy options, as well as a patriotic, tricolor stripe. Read on for some interesting facts about our Beach Blanket production process this year!

Fun Fact #1| We punch our loom patterns by hand!

As always, our 2024 Beach Blankets started as an idea in the design room. Once we had our concept decided upon, we took it to the production looms downstairs to see if we liked our idea in practice.

To be able to test weave our blankets, we had to punch two different filling patterns for our looms. In the case of our 2024 Beach Blankets, the filling patterns dictate the stripes. Pictured here are our pattern punches - every filling pattern is painstakingly punched by hand using these machines. 

Since our Kittery Beach Blanket has three colors and the other color combinations only have two, we needed two different filling patterns: one that ran three colors, and one that ran two.

Fun Fact #2 | Each Color Combination Required a Different Warp Color

After the blanket tests were approved by our team, we moved on to weaving the actual production units! Here's our dobby looms weaving the Pemaquid Beach Blanket (above), the Camden Beach Blanket (middle), and the Kittery Beach Blanket (below). To achieve the colors that we wanted, each color combination required a different warp color - dark blue for Pemaquid, gray for Camden, and natural for Kittery.

Fun Fact #3| Cutting Blankets is not an Exact Science...

Once weaving is complete, the rolls of fabric are taken to our cutting tables.

With our cotton yarns, there is usually around 20% shrinkage upon first wash (also called "wet finishing" in the world of textiles). We always need to consider this initial shrinkage when cutting, since the blankets are cut before the first wash. When it comes to shrinkage, there are a lot of factors to take into account. Some can be hard to predict! For example, our 2024 Beach Blankets are plain weave, which in general doesn't shrink as much as other weaves. Other things that can influence shrinkage is the yarn twist, whether or not the yarn is dyed, and what kind of fiber content the yarn contains.

We hope you enjoyed this blog post and learned a few new things about our production process! Did you snag one of the 2024 Beach Blankets this year? Which color combination is your favorite? We love hearing from you! Let us know on Facebook or in the comments below.

May 31, 2024 — Adrienne Beacham

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