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  • Ules - A guide to Ilocos Inabel blankets.

    Ules - A guide to Ilocos Inabel blankets.

    Choosing and buying an off the shelf blanket these days is a no brainer – just pick a fabric (cotton, wool, silk, polyester, or a blend), a color or print, and a size (single/ twin, double/ queen, king).

    This is not the case with handwoven and handmade blankets, however, when it comes to sizing, fabric weave, and texture.

    Handwoven Inabel blankets, in particular, have some distinctive characteristics that are worth knowing in order to pick the blanket that is right for you.  Here are two simple steps:

    1) Get to know your weave.

    Inabel blankets are made from cotton or cotton poly blend (70/30) fibers and come in three weave styles which determine their thickness, overall look, and feel.

    The simplest is a plain weave known as wasig (or liniston, kantarinis depending on the weaver location).  These blankets have a flat finish, can be loose or tightly woven, and are either edged with a plecos fringe (a separately handwoven cotton strip that is sewn all around the blanket and comes with either a loose or looped fringe) or simply hemmed. The blanket’s edging provides stability to the fabric and completes the overall blanket style. Wasig blankets come with either multicolored striped or checkered design or in plain solid colors. They are all fully reversible with the designs visible on both sides. These blankets are lightweight which makes them perfect for use as a light covering in bed, the couch, airplane, or car.   

                    

    Figure 1: Plain woven striped and checkered blankets    

      

    Figure 2: Wasig blankets

    The second weave style is called trambia. This blanket is characterized by textured ground designs that show front and back (reversible) and is always edged with plecos fringe. Trambia blankets come in all manner of designs (geometric or linear) and color and tend to be heavier in weight but loosely woven allowing heat to escape and cool air to flow in. This breathable feature makes it ideal for use in the summer as a light covering in bed or as a throw blanket for use in the couch or daybed. Some care must be taken in washing trambia blankets as the raised designs can get easily snagged if washed together with items with Velcro, zippers, and hooks.

                  

    Figure 3: Trambia blankets   

     

     Figure 4: Kundiman blankets with plecos fringe

    The last weave style is a brocade weave also called pinilian.  As the designs and patterns of the brocade blanket also float in relief on the surface of the cloth, it sometimes can be confused with a trambia blanket. The main difference between the two is that pinilian blanket designs do not show on the reverse side of the blanket. Instead, a flat, often plain weave pattern will show on the reverse side. The blankets come typically with plecos fringe or hand embroidered edging. The brocaded patterns of this blanket can be elaborate with depictions of flora, fauna, and nature rendered in an explosion of colors. Pinilian blankets are heavier and bulkier making them suitable for use in the cooler weather. Nonetheless, the loose weave of the blanket also makes it breathable and a good warm weather blanket as well. Like the trambia blanket, some care must be taken in washing these blankets as the brocade designs can get easily snagged if washed together with items with Velcro, zippers, and hooks. It is best to wash them separately.

    Figure 5: Pinilian blanket with embroidered edging

    2) Size it up: Standard vs Inabel sized blankets.

    Inabel blankets are handwoven on artisanal wooden looms that vary in dimensions depending on the size of the loom in which it is produced. Loom size varies and can be as wide as a three-person contraption located in a workshop or as narrow as a one-person apparatus set up in a room or patio of the weaver’s home.  The ultimate size of the finished blankets, therefore, do not conform to the conventional sizing of single/ double/ queen/ king and each blanket of the same size group can vary in measurement by about 2-4 inches.

    Size group:

    Inabel blanket sizes:

    Standard blanket sizes:

    Throw

    65” W x 65” L (5.4’ W x 5.4’ L)

    50” W x 60” L (4.2’ W x 5.2’ L)

    Single /Twin

    36” W x 60” L (3’ W x 5’ L)

    36” W x 76” L (3’ W x 6’ L)

    Double /Full

    50” W x 76” L (4’ W x 6’ L)

    54” W x 75” L (4.5’ W x 6.2’ L)

    Queen

    65” W x 95” L (5.4’ W x 7.9” L)

    60” W x 80” L (5.2’ W x 6.7” L)

    King

    75” W x 105” L (6.2’ W x 8.7’ L) *

    76” W x 80” L (6’ W x 6.7” L)

    * Note that king sized Inabel blankets are rare and usually mean that two or three narrow panels have been sewn together to make up the blanket. This is the case because wide dimensioned looms able to produce king size blankets are not commonly used in Inabel loom weaving.

     

            

    Figure 6: Three-person loom                                                           

    Figure 7: Single-person loom

    Choose your Inabel blanket.

    Knowing your weave and blanket size makes picking your unique handwoven Inabel blanket a breeze. Check out our selection of Inabel blankets in a variety of weaves, colors, and sizes at www.inabelshop.com.