A Tradition Made To Order

Linda Hayden creates her one-of-a-kind saddle blankets from 100% wool that she spins, dyes, and weaves on her heavy floor looms. The first step begins with the time and labor-intensive process of spinning wool, which comes from only the highest quality sheep. Linda carefully judges each fleece for quality, strength, cleanliness and color. She spins the fiber with extra twist to increase the strength and help the wool wear like iron. After the spinning process she washes the wool and prepares it for dyeing. She collects and harvests plants from nature and boils these materials over an open fire to obtain the endless array of colors she uses to create her blankets. The water is then strained and the wool is submerged and soaked for several hours. At this time the wool is “cooked” over a slow simmering fire then left to soak for another 24-hour period. After the wool absorbs all the color it is washed several times and left to dry.

The color and design process now begins and Linda weaves her blankets on large floor looms. The weaving process may take as long as 50 to 100 hours depending on the complexity of the design. Once the blanket is taken off the loom the wool threads that form the basis of the blanket are then sewn back into the body of the blanket giving it a firm edge and preventing the blanket from fraying. This process alone takes another 6 hours. At this time the blanket is soaked in a hot bath to prevent further shrinkage and bleeding of colors. This step also assures that, in the future, washing it in a bathtub or hanging it over a fence and hosing it off can easily keep your blanket in perfect condition. The final step is the sewing on of wear leathers that protect the wool from the cinch dee rings. The blanket is then ready for hard use with the working cowboy in mind although many end up as wall hangings, rugs or thrown over the back of the sofa because of their art appeal.

“Wool is the only fiber that should be next to your horses skin. It wicks away moisture and does not break down from the salt in their sweat. The comfort of your horse is of utmost importance and the quality of the wool and the weave is your first step.” With proper care these blankets should last you a lifetime

Linda takes custom orders and will dye and design the blanket to fit the customer’s specific needs.