Brahms Mount Luxury Textiles – Made in Maine.

Brahms Mount, www.stylemadeinusa.wordpress.com

I have a special place in my heart for the state of Maine.  It’s where my family roots are and where I obtained my lifelong respect for our land, water, and air.  As a child I spent many summers on my Aunts farm in Presque Isle where I helped her pick all the fresh (and naturally organic) vegetables for our meals.  I still recall those lunches and dinners as the most delicious and gourmet that I have ever eaten.  I also love Acadia National Park in Mount Desert Island where the refreshing Atlantic water views and crisp air make it one of the most peaceful places I know.  Belgrade Lakes is another favorite destination with its Great Pond views and where the mail boat is one of the few remaining delivering mail to the cottages along the shore line.

Brahms Mount

On a recent trip to Maine I had the opportunity to visit and learn more about Brahms Mount textiles.   They design, manufacture and distribute a luxurious line of blankets, throws, linen towels, and baby blankets right in Maine. Of course any products I write about have to be both stylish and Made in the USA but this particular product line for me evokes an additional element…the essence of Maine….a feeling of comfort, nurture, simplicity and quality all wrapped up in a blanket…much like the blankets and quilts my Aunt had on her farm in northern Maine…they last forever and just get better with age.

The welcoming folks at Brahms Mount kindly gave me a tour of their Mill in Monmouth, Maine and then I hopped in the car for a trip down to Freeport where President and Owner, David Kaufman showed me around their beautiful store.  David has such a passion for the entire product line that it is no wonder how the company has been able the grow and thrive.  First  lets take a look at Brahms Mount Mill.  If you are not familiar with weaving just keep in mind that the weft is the horizontal thread and the warp is the vertical thread.

warpswefts

Here we are at Brahms Mount Mill!  Lets start with the Yarn which hangs on a CREEL seen here.

Creel

Creel

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THE CREEL PULLS THE YARN OVER THE WARPER SEEN BELOW.

Brahms Mount

THE WARPER BEAM IS LOADED ONTO THE SHUTTLE LOOMS.

Warper

BOBBINS (shown with orange yarn) CREATE THE WEFT (horizontal threads).

BOBBINS

ALL THE SHUTTLE LOOMS ARE DRESSED BY HAND AND CAREFULLY WATCHED BY WEAVERS.

BRAHMS MOUNT

Vintage shuttle looms work their magic.

Shuttle Weaver at work.

Weaver at work.

A stack of throws just from the loom.

Stacks of woven Herringbone throws from the loom.

Brahms Mount, www.stylemadeinusa.wordpress.com

EVERY PIECE IS HAND SEWN, HAND FRINGED, OR HAND KNOTTED DEPENDING ON THE PRODUCT.

Brahms Mount

Thank you Suzanne Brown for your informative and fun tour!

Everything is produced by Maine employees and sold all over the world including Japan and Singapore..and of course sold all over America including their lovely store in Freeport Maine where I visited next…..

Brahms Mount store in Freeport Maine

Brahms Mount textiles, www.stylemadeinusa.wordpress.com

One of my favorite products, the Herringbone throw with hand twisted fringe. Absolutely the best throw you will ever own.

Brahms Mount herringbone throw

A shuttle loom on display adds charm.

Brahms Mount shuttle loom, www.stylemadeinusa.wordpress.com

Brahms Mount textiles So there you have it.  The most luxurious, stylish blankets, throws and linens you will find and all Made in the grand state of Maine!  For product information or to purchase go to www.brahmsmount.com.  Until next time Happy Fall and Happy Stylish shopping Made in the USA!!

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Style Made in the USA Holiday Gift Guide

Andy Warhol

During this season of gift giving my Christmas wish is that we all make a big effort to support American business and buy American made!  Here is a selection of some of my favorite stylish USA made gifts to give and receive.

REWINED CANDLES handmade in Charleston, SC.   Each candle has been handcrafted from a repurposed wine bottle. The fragrances are carefully blended to mimic the flavors and aromas found in various wines and champagne.  How about a Pinot Noir (aroma of fig, cranberry, leather and earth) or Champagne (white grape, honey, fresh baked bread and citrus), to name just a few.

Rewined Candles

Rewined Candles

ABAS LEATHER ACCESSORIES– made in Worcester, MA.   Abas Digital Life and Neiman Marcus have partnered to offer an extensive collection of fashion technology cases. Cases for Apple, Blackberry, Samsung, Amazon Kindle and more.  Available in tons of delicious colors and textures and monogramming is available too!  As their tag line proclaims this truly is “The fusion of fashion and technology”.

Abas leather cases

BRAHMS MOUNT – Throws and Blankets made in Hallowell, Maine.  Woven on antique shuttle looms I love everything from Brahms Mount and this year I want their cotton herringbone throw with hand twisted fringe (in apple green if you need to buy me a gift!)  I am always searching for throws for my design clients and this one is truly perfect in every way.   If you give one as a gift I guarantee you will want one for yourself.

Cotton Herringbone Throw

Cotton Herringbone Throw

SEE SCOUT SLEEP – Dog collars, leashes and beds made in New Orleans, Louisiana.  For the baby…oh sorry… I mean the dog in your life these stylish accessories for our best friends are designed, printed and sewn in Loiusiana!

dog leash

CRAFTY YANKEE – Lexington, MA.  Nestled in the heart of historic Lexington Massachusetts this charming retail shop is just a glance away from the Minuteman Statue.  The shop proprietor, Kathy Fields reminded me that New England is steeped in tradition especially during Christmas when families unpack keepsakes that have been in their families for decades or more.  Adding to those collectables or starting your own tradition is a fun way to shop during the holidays.  Here are three great collections available at Crafty Yankee.

Byers' Choice figurines

Byers’ Choice figurines

Byers Choice Ltd – Figurines handcrafted in Chalfont, PA.   These adorable and happy carolers are always singing and every year there are new designs to add to your collection.

Hearts and Ivy CollectionThe Hearts & Ivy Collection – Holiday characters made in Minneapolis, MN.  If your style runs more in the contemporary direction, then these soft and beautifully made Santa, snowmen and angels will look great in your home decor.

Heirlooms by ThelmaHeirlooms by Thelma – Hand painted ornaments made in Watertown, NY.   Creator Thelma Hamilton says that these ornaments are a celebration of family remembrances preserved on hand painted glass.  Pick one for a new baby, best friend, or anyone special!   Hand inscribed names or dates available too.

BALL & BUCK  – Men’s Retail store located in Boston, MA.   Another Brick and Mortar store that I really admire since everything is made in America.  They have tons of stuff for guys such as shirts, belts, grooming items, denim, hats, and sporting attire to name a few categories.  Great website for you to order online but if you ever get to Newbury Street in Boston you should really check out their shop.

Ball & Buck Newbury Street Store

Ball & Buck Newbury Street Store

WASSOOKEAG MOCCASINS – Handmade leather moccasins made in central Maine.  How about treating the man in your life to a  pair of unique handmade leather moccasins.  They are constructed from supple, durable Buffalo Hide, Bullhide, or Cowhide leathers in a variety of styles such as moccasin slipper or indoor/outdoor canoe moc.  All styles are available with plush deerskin lining.

Moccasins

ROCKNSOCKS – American made in US mills.  Fun and stylish socks made from earth-friendly regenerated cotton and available in over-the-knee, knee-high, and ankle-high crew.

Love these socks by Rocknsocks

Love these socks by Rocknsocks

BEDHEAD PAJAMAS – Pajamas for the whole family made in Los Angeles, CA.  For years, BedHead has been the go-to loungewear company for Hollywood ‘s best costume designers.  If you’ve seen a great PJ on your favorite TV or movie character, odds are it’s BedHead.  More importantly these pajamas are super comfortable and finely crafted.

Bedhead PJs

Stylish Bedhead PJ’s

FLORIDA FRUIT SHIPPERS – Grown in Florida.  After the holidays and in the dead of winter what better gift then some juicy tangerines, oranges, grapefruits or my favorite the Honeybell Oranges!  And since we cant be good all the time be sure and include my all time favorite treat, the chocolate dipped coconut patties…really moist and chewy and for that I will say they are very stylish!

orangesonline

For more information, online shopping or store locators click on any of the links above.  And finally don’t forget the ever popular Gift Certificates.    How about supporting your local small businesses and give a gift certificate from your favorite restaurant, boutique, nail salon, barber shop or hair salon, car wash coupons or a gym membership.  How about a  gift certificate from one of the businesses in this guide!  When cash is in short supply in January, a gift certificate is the perfect way to enjoy a stylish purchase or a pampering service.

Best wishes for a happy, healthy, peaceful December!

(Red Boot graphic by American Artist Andy Warhol)

Sumptuous Throws Made on Nantucket Island

For as long as I can remember I have loved Nantucket Island (off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts).  It is here you will find Nantucket Looms which has a rich history and a wonderful product line.  They are best know for their line of luxurious Cotton, Mohair and Cashmere throws, all produced in their weaving studios right above their Main Street retail store.  They also offer a variety of unique and stylish home furnishings and gift items.

Nantucket Looms weaving studios

The welcoming women at Nantucket Looms gave me an informative tour of their weaving studios and how the process works.   Nantucket Looms is a production hand weaving  process.  Once the loom is set up, (a detailed task), they are able to produce 7-8 throws.

Here is Becky at one of the looms working on a Mohair throw.

Craftsmanship at its best!

In addition to their regular variety of  beautiful throws I was really excited to learn of a special edition they weave each year for the Nantucket Conservation Foundation Inc.  For this endeavor everything is exclusive to Nantucket even the sheep!!   Here is  how it works.

  • Lovely sheep graze on conservation property on Nantucket.  Their grazing conserves the unique grassland on Nantucket.
  • In October the sheep are sheared during Nantucket’s Cranberry Festival.
  • This wool is sent to the Twist of Fate Spinnery in Portland, CT where they spin it into various weights of yarn.
  • The skeins of yarn come back to Nantucket Looms and they are woven into 4’x7′  organic, wool blankets.

A skein of wool from Nantucket sheep sits atop two of the woven blankets.

Here are some more images from the weaving studio.

Weaving studio at Nantucket Looms

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Everything is beautiful at Nantucket Looms!

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OK, lets go downstairs to the retail shop.  My personal favorite item is the 100 % cotton, machine washable, 4’x7′ woven, throw.  I love the weave pattern, color options, and the generous hand tied fringe and did I say…its machine washable! After you treat yourself to one of these don’t forget to keep it in mind as a wonderful wedding gift option.  At $310. I think it is well worth the investment since you will have it for a very long time.

This really is the perfect summer or fall throw for those cool evenings.

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A Mohair throw.

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The most luxurious Cashmere throws.

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Oh and I cant forget the smaller items they offer like the lovely Wildflower and Glycerine soaps that are made in Rhode Island for Nantucket Looms.

A box of these soaps makes a great and very affordable hostess gift. A three pack of Wildflower soaps for $6.00

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Nantucket Looms at 51 Main Street. The weaving studio is on the second floor.

That’s me eying the delicious throw in the window.

Bye-bye Nantucket…I miss you already.  If you want to learn more about Nantucket Looms, purchase a throw or shop for other items check out their website:  www.nantucketlooms.com