Cut From The Same Cloth
Many years ago, two great friends joined forces to protect one of the Boyne Valley's traditional crafts, weaving, by saving the Irish Tapestries factory. One of those friends came from several generations of skilled weavers, his name was John Branigan. The other was my Dad.
Dad dropped out of the equation a few years later but John Branigan Weavers has gone from strength to strength, exporting beautiful woven products throughout the world. Recently, I decided to get a new throw for my living room, something to brighten up one of my armchairs, to give me comfort during these depressing times as I read or watch TV and to keep me warm while the stove heats up. It arrived all wrapped up in its box and far exceeded my expectations. The colours are rich and autumnal and the fabric is so soft. The only problem is that the children and cat love it as much as I do.
I also purchased a beautiful swing cape called 'Tina' in a lichen or soft olive green shade called ‘loden’. It has lovely, deep angled pockets (I'm very particular about pockets - I can't stand a mean-sized one, you want to be able to dig your hands right in out of the cold), and even has an attached scarf. The range of capes and jackets is exceptional, some have scarves, some hoods, some are long, others shorter. I was torn between the ‘loden’ colour and ‘jade’, which is a rich green/blue shade. These capes look super smart with jeans and boots plus you can wear a thick jumper under them and not feel constricted. They are perfect for long, winter walks.
Dad was in awe of the whole process of weaving and creating and I remember his enthusiasm when John produced new products. He would bring throws, wall-hangings and bedspreads home to show us and wax lyrical about the colours and designs. Then John brought out a range of jackets, capes, scarves, hats and even teddy bears. Dad revelled in these new designs and the endless possibilities that this heritage business offered and he and John had great fun bouncing ideas off each other.
I loved the smell of the wool and was catapulted back to the late 80s when I opened my boxes. They arrived on the first anniversary of Dad's death and it was fitting that that night I sat wrapped in the comfort of the softest imaginable throw from one of his dearest friends.