I thought today on the blog, I'd share a bit of a '101' about our hand-block printed and kantha quilts. In our Barnes store I get to share the story behind them on a daily basis with customers, but that conversation about the skills and people behind our products is so much harder to tell online - so here is just a glimpse!
The spark of inspiration...
So, Dilli Grey actually began with quilts; they are the very start of our brand story... before we were even a brand! I travelled to India for 20 years as a buyer for big fashion brands and had long ago fallen in love with the soft, cloud-like quilts and intricate kantha throws that adorned the hotels and home stays that I visited - as is the danger with being a buyer and having direct access to suppliers, more often than not I would come home with a quilt (or 6!) in my suitcase for our home. And then the requests started. Soon friends and family were putting in 'orders' each time I visited and so I jokingly said 'I should set up shop!... and I did!
How they are made...
You can read here about how our quilts are made - by hand from start to finish. Not only do we use 100% cotton in every element, from the beautifully printed outer, to the super fluffy inner, but every step is done by hand. It is a complete labour of love for our artisan printers and quilters and our quilts have become a showcase of their craftsmanship and heritage skils.
Another great thing about being in the shop is being able to talk through the whole thought process of investing in a new quilt. If it's for a bedroom - what are the wall colours? How big is the bed? Do you want it to drape over the end, or as your main bed covering? We get heavily involved in the whole scenario because it's important! A handblock printed quilt is often the starting point when people are considering the colour scheme of their bedrooms, picking out a tone for the walls, or choosing complementary bedlinens and cushions.
But quilts aren't just confined to the bedroom! They are often bought and used as picnic rugs (great on pebbly beaches as they offer a little cushioning!), baby's playmat and my favourite use, as a sofa snuggle throw. We have them draped over the back of our sofa at home and drawing one over us for a family movie night is the ultimate in escapism comfort.
How to look after your hand-block printed quilt
Another question I get asked a lot in the shop is how people can care for their hand-block printed quilts at home. All our hand-block printed designs, including our sleepwear are pre-washed to ensure they are colour-fast. Our quilts are ready to use and when they do need freshening, can be machine washed on a cool wash and line dried - particularly practical for the baby sizes! More often than not however, I suggest a simple shaken out to 're-fluff' and a breezy day on the line to give them a freshen.