Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Blankets 7

Time for another chapter in our Stable Blankets series!  I'm taking up where we left off, listing them more or less in chronological order of acquisition, starting in the fall of 2016....  with a little wiggling to lump like items together.  You would think after six posts on Blankets I'd've covered the subject.  Not a bit of it!!  I've found some of the most interesting, intriguing and usable blankets in just the past year - !   Partly because new ones keep coming out ... partly because the field itself is so vast that it takes an individual just forever to accumulate everything they want.  "consumer-driven economy..."

Here is my very-nearly-absolute-favorite blanket ever, the beautiful Horsewarm!!
I saw this blanket on eBay in October 2016, in a 5-pc package of blankets.  I had never heard of this brand before ... which shows how separated I am from real live horses and dogs!  Horsewarm, and its sister Dogwarm, is a small company in Rhode Island.  They started as an equine laundry in 1985 and in 1990 began making specialized dog and horse blankets.  I have no idea what put them onto model horses!  only that the result was outstanding.  The fabric is thick and soft and the colors go very well together; the design is striking without being garish.  The blanket uses velcro, always my favorite fastening method.  The girth band is a bit long, but this is easily fixed with a knot --  I'd rather have a girth too long than too short.  Too long can accommodate a saddle, whilst too short does nobody any good.  The quality and detail are apparent in the four different types of fabric and in the stitching.  This is one of the few times I'm showing the underside of a blanket!
In the same package came a Horsewarm cooler.  There are ribbon chest ties and a velcro ribbon for under the tail.
I doubt these model blankets contain the Thinsulate the company advertises it uses, but then, what do I know.  Modern technology is sometimes miraculous.
A minor further miracle: one of the 5 pieces was this mesh blanket.  It's none other than Breyer's No. 3951 Fly Sheet, issued from 1995 to 1999.  I'd always wanted some of Breyer's meshes, and this was my first.  Of the three I'm aware of that Breyer released, this is the finest, the most 'sheer' and see-through.
All 5 of those blankets together cost under $19.   Thank you eBay.

Didi Hornberger is a longtime collector, shower and hostess of the great Intermediaire/INTERSPORT model shows held in October in Harrisburg (PA).  She is also a wonderful friend.  Although it took her more than a year, she made me a gift blanket.  I got to choose the fabric ("Seasplash" -- goes well with a horse named Riverfront Property!) and the design.  The finished product arrived fall of 2016.  This may look like a simple machine job, but the entire piece is stitched by hand(!).  The professional t-hook latches are smaller than the ones Breyer uses.
Thank you Didi!

Remember my struggles to find blankets for my CollectAs?  Breyer's StableMate (SM) blankets turn out to be perfect for CollectA foals!  The SM blankets could qualify for a post themselves, but for now I'll settle for a reminder from my very first Blankets post.  The SM blanket shown on left was my first.  Thanks again Carrie for breaking the set for me - it came with a 10-horse display box, part of the 2010 WEG releases.
Back to October of 2016, I picked up a Lavender-with-Pink-binding SM blanket.  It was sold as being a SM horse blanket, but I now know it is a dog blanket!  It's from Breyer's Best Friends (No. 61082), containing matching lavender blankets for a Classic horse and a Shetland Sheepdog!  Best Friends was first released in 2014 and I think is still in issue.
Starting in 2010, Breyer began releasing various sets with SM blankets, such as the Stablemates Deluxe Animal Hospital (No. 59204) and the Stablemates Jumping to Conclusions (No. 5502).  The first blankets were red with white binding.  Almost immediately there were white with red binding versions.  Within a few years, other colors turned up: lime green with hot pink binding, Breyer blue with yellow, dark blue with white binding -- you name it!  What's amazing is the early red-&-white variations had decorative ribbon ties on the chest, and girth straps that fastened with double rings!!  For a Stablemate scale blanket, this speaks of astonishing, not to mention difficult to fasten, detail.  I do not think it could be kept up...
The SM Foal blanket surely qualifies as Breyer's weensiest blanket.  Shown here on a CollectA foal, it was part of Breyer No. 5413, Stablemates Horspital, first issued in 2014.  Thanks to Margaret L. for helping me get these.  This veterinary-themed set has been released several times over the years, but this was the first time it included such a tiny scrap of a blanket!  And can you believe it, the girth fastens with the double rings!!
I suppose sewing on velcro bits would've been too much.
Sometimes blankets just give me fits of laughter.

(Editor's Note.  Later releases of the Stablemates Horspital, and/or something called New Arrivals, included something even weensier, a pure red felt foal blanket.)
(Collector's Note.  I'm willing to pay rather prettily for the Graceland blue/white SM blanket...!)

 By far the most popular, most famous, most numerous and surely the most played-with blankets Breyer ever made were the green felt Clydesdale Mare and Foal Gift Set ones.  It is with some shame I admit I did not grow up with them.  This seminal Gift Set was first released in 1971 and carried until 1992, an amazing 22 years.  You can find these on eBay with no trouble.  I finally got my act together in November 2016, and bought some.  I've seen these in every condition: faded, new, beat up, shrunk or well cared for.  My pair pretty much qualifies as 'shrunk.'
 They are a good play value, lasting well and inspiring countless imitations.  The earliest releases had painted-metal hooks and dees, seen here.  Later releases used velcro.  An interesting feature, constant across all the years, is that the stitching is green, not white.  I had fun finding models that could fit in them - the neck binding is not openable, and the hook girths are not adjustable.  'Shrunk.'  Still, no matter their size, these blankets are always welcome.

Neatly bridging 2016 and 2017 was my Crystal Christmas blanket, purchased in December and arriving in January.  By now Breyer has released three sets of matching mares & foals with matching blankets for the holidays.  (They know how to get us by the short hairs...)  For 2016, the third set, the molds chosen were the Grazing Mare and Foal, in a delicious hand-dappled grey for the mare, Crystal, and a darker grey for the foal Crispin.  Blanketwise, there was a clear change in pattern.  You can see how the neck opening is larger, the chest fastening dropped down to accomodate that lowered neck, and how the back seam is longer.  Once again the Breyer tag is on the Off side, apparently standard with these mares!
It is interesting to see all three at once.  Crystal's pattern change is obvious.
Again, the rump seam extends further back on the Crystal.  The Grazing Mare is a big horse and simply needed more fabric.
So, okay, I admit I haven't got Crispin's blanket yet.  I'm willing to go pretty high for one...

The Horsewarm blanket opened my eyes to other manufacturers of model horse blankets.  Even so I was delightfully surpised when I spotted this gem on eBay in December of 2016.
The tag says "Chelful."  This time it was a foreign manufacturer.  Chelful is British, famous for making doll clothes and props.  I think of them as a rough equivalent to Barbie or Grand Champion.  My blanket arrived in January.
The fabric is much thinner than the Horsewarm; it is thinner than Breyer's similar plaid cooler (see Blanket Collection 6).  However, the cut is generous, the colors delightful and there is a velcro girth strap inside.  The binding is wider than on almost any other blanket I own, lending a cheery note and protecting the edges well.  Again I'm choosing to show the underside:
 This blanket is seeing almost constant use.

In January, my friend Margaret, mentioned earlier, visited me in person, and I got this blanket of neon stripes.  It's one of the four versions of the Colorful Blanket Assortment by Breyer, No. 2053.  These were first released in 2014, clearly a good year for new blankets!  The Colorfuls are all characterized by metallicism in some part, usually the binding. Neon and bling are apparently still in fashion, albeit ground down and mashed together by mass production.  The fabric is polyester, smoothly silky-feeling, reasonably heavy and lined in white.  There are 4 velcro fastening bands, giving a lot of adjustability.  Of 4 eye-popping colors the stripes were the coolest for me.
Something unusual about these blankets is the 'rise' or extra scootch of material on the sides of the neck -- yet another new Breyer blanket pattern.
It's good to have a friend who is a dealer.  Thanks, Margaret.

A fitting ending to this post is the very special Vintage Club offering of the Clydesdale Mare and Foal Gift Set, Blossom and Belle.  They were released early in 2017 in glossy medicine hat pinto, and glory be, they had blankets.  Not the old green ones!!  Beautiful dark blue felts!  The moment I saw them I wanted those blankets, and wouldn't you know it, somebody on eBay was willing to sell.  In February my treasures arrived.
Consistent with the past green felt Clydesdale blankets, the stitching is blue not white.  What must have cost Breyer are the hooks and rings -- these are indeed white-painted metal.  I can tell you they're harder to fasten because the hooks are so tightly bent.  They take some careful but hard wiggling to close.  But once on, they're not budging!  The blankets are lined with thin white cloth, a very useful feature in these days of stain-worry.  (To the best of my knowledge, the old greens never stained.)
These blankets are thick and soft, and a most beautiful shade of royal blue.  They feel wonderful with their heavy and long-lasting felt.  These really are a crown jewel of my collection: history, beauty and quality all in one.
I am glad to have them!

There will be future Blanket posts, but give me a while to accumulate more material.  Pun intended.  You can never have too many blankets.

Previous Blanket posts:
Three Strands at Once
My Blanket Collection
Blanket Collection Part 3
Blanket Collection 4
Felts for Foals: Blankets 5
Blanket Collection 6

1 comment:

  1. You inspired me a few blanket posts ago to start my own blanket collection. Now I see some that I just HAVE to add to my collection!!

    ReplyDelete