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Welsh blankets woven from yarn that would otherwise be wasted 

Left: Decorator’s Notebook’s pure wool, British-made blankets. Right: Vintage Sari Quilts. Images:

Recycled wool blankets sold by online shop Decorator’s Notebook are woven in a small, traditional mill in North Wales from remnants of pure wool yarn. When there is not enough yarn left on the spool to weave a whole run of the mill’s premium range, the remnants are woven into this 'recycled' range. 

Decorator's Notebook sells home accessories produced by Fairtrade groups, artisan-owned co-operatives and social enterprises around the world. They aim to show that design, quality and ethics can go hand-in-hand.

It is run by sister and brother team Bethan and Joe John and launched in October 2013.

Bethan said: “There are so many artisans in developing countries making beautiful things, but too many retailers opt for mass-produced goods instead. As a result, traditional craft skills are being lost and families are often torn apart when they’re forced to move to the cities and find work in factories. By paying fair wages and helping our artisans develop their designs, we can help them make a sustainable living from their skills, stay in their homes and keep families together.”

As well as the woollen blankets, the shop sells vintage sari quilts, made in Bangladesh by a project that offers counselling, training and secure employment to victims of sex trafficking. Each quilt is unique as they are made from colourful vintage saris, sewn with tiny rows of traditional kantha stitching. As a finishing touch, they are signed in embroidery with the name of the maker.

And reclaimed wooden picture frames also sold on Decorator’s Notebook “breathe new life into discarded wood”, says Bethan, providing much-needed employment to artisan carpenters in deprived areas of South Africa.

“We weave the stories behind the products into all parts of our website so customers can connect with the makers and understand how their purchase makes a difference to improving their lives,” she adds. 

“Craft and design have the power to bring people on other sides of the world closer together - we love making that happen.”

By Lucy

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