Behind the Harbour Blanket

Handmade patchwork blanket made using naturally dyed fabric in our workshop in Sri Lanka.

Our online shop is live! Hooray. Its taken us a while to produce a collection of products that we're proud of, and that we feel reflects AMMA’s simple aesthetic. To celebrate this occasion, (we've learnt to celebrate the small things here at AMMA) - this journal entry is going to take a look into the process of producing some of our products, and the thought behind them. 

introducing the harbour blanket.

We had been thinking and exploring the idea of throws/blankets/quilts for a while and nothing really worked. May it be the size, colour or composition - the harbour blanket has evolved from a lot of trial and error. 

Made from two layers of finely woven cotton which is dyed using eucalyptus leaf for the front piece and nelli fruit for the back. Both these plants have high levels of natural tannins which act as a natural mordant and bond well to the cotton fabric. They have become our favourite and most reliable dye plants and thankfully we are in no short supply with the vast eucalyptus forests surrounding our workshop and the popularity of nelli fruit both for eating and for its medicinal benefits used in Ayurvedic medicine. 

Eucalyptus leaves- natural dye ingredient
Natural dye vat- eucalyptus leaves

The Harbour Blanket is then made up of a patchwork of AMMA colours. The beauty behind this blanket is that nothing goes to waste. Natural dyeing takes time and a lot of care, so to discard quality pieces of fabric dyed with donated produce isn't an option. 

After a lot of deliberation about where each piece of coloured cloth should be placed, our mother maker star seamstress Priya then stitched it. 

One of our AMMA's stitching a handmade quilt

The harbour blanket is then lovingly embroidered using naturally dyed cotton yarn to give it a beautiful texture. This takes many hours and aching hands, but we think the finished effect is worth it, & it gives us the opportunity to employ more mothers and hand out more salaries which is what we are all about. 

Named "harbour" because blankets have always provoked a sense of security and shelter, which is what we hope AMMA has become for the mothers we employ. It is also the feelings in which we hope this blanket will provoke to the person who places it in their home. 

Naturally dyed quilt, handmade by mothers in Nuwara Eliya

Written by Josie Mackenzie.