A quick search of the words ‘christening shawl’ and you’ll be flooded with pictures and stories about royal babies. Most recently, during the private christening of baby Archie, the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby blessed the baby with water from the River Jordan. Baby Archie was dressed in accordance with tradition, in the flowing royal christening robe, a handmade replica of the 1841 robe made for Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter. This original gown has been worn by 62 babies over 163 fruitful years, hand-washed after each wear, and stored in a dark room in between outings. The gown baby Archie wore is a 2011 replica, created by the Queen’s wardrobe advisor.
We at the Wool Company are pleased to have our own royal connection. Our Pure Wool Baby Shawls are created by our Nottingham manufacturers who have been making these wonderful christening shawls for royalty for many years. Not only were they chosen to create a receiving blanket for HRH Prince Willlian, HRH Prince George and HRH Princess Charlotte, but we were also chosen to provide cashmere bedding.
We’re looking forward to handing our own Pure Wool Baby Shawl down to our grandchildren. This unbleached, undyed lambswool must be hand-washed and we swear by the gentlest Woolskin Premium Woolwash every time!
Predicting a christening shawl revival
Following the recent run of royal christenings, we’ve seen a surge in enquiries for traditional christening shawls and we’re pleased to help! It’s always lovely to package up a beautiful shawl, knowing it will be a treasured gift for new parents and take centre stage in christening photos on the mantelpiece for years to come.
Our shawls are handmade in the traditional lace centre of Nottingham, using vintage designs, and in delicate cashmere, softest lambswool, pure cotton and blends of these natural materials.
Whiter than white?
If you’re looking for the brightest white christening shawl, we recommend you opt for the Cotton Christening Shawl. Wool can’t be bleached so will never give that modern, whiter than white hue. However, a close alternative is the Traditional Ivory Wool Baby Shawl which is lighter in colour than the Pure Wool version. We gave this shawl a makeover after selling our undyed 100% Merino Wool Baby Shawl for years, we noticed a demand growing for this soft off-white version.
If only the softest of baptism shawls will do, the Cashmere Lace Baby Shawl is the clear choice. Natural, delicate, fine, a true heirloom piece. This pure softest cashmere design has a large plain panel in the centre, bordered with the prettiest wide lace border. You can just picture it draped over your newborn as they sleep. It’s a sweetly comforting swaddling blanket too. It will be cherished.
Our larger version is plainer, so it’s really a question of taste. Your eyes will be drawn to the subtle basket weave in the centre and simple border around the edges. It’s eminently practical as you can fold it for extra warmth in a Moses basket or the pram.
Christening gift, sorted
For a best of both worlds option - delicate and washable, the Traditional Receiving Shawl ticks both boxes. A blend of cotton and merino lambswool this 2-ply shawl is made in Nottingham to an unusual design, with deep scalloped lacy edging and a bold Jacquard pattern in the central panel.
We think it’s a lovely christening gift, which would be treasured for generations.
Apples vs oranges
We always advise our customers not to compare shawls made of different materials. While a cotton shawl can be brightest modern white, washable and soft to touch, it doesn’t come with the heritage appeal of a piece of wool work. And frankly speaking, we shun man-made materials in their entirety. Please don’t compare apples with oranges!
Pretty special, every day
To make every day special, we chose our Lacy Lambswool Cream Baby Shawl, knitted in a softest cloud of washable lambswool. The pretty lacy pattern means it can be used for special occasions and for every day wrapping, in the pram or cot. The neutral cream is perfect for everyone.
If Baby Archie has convinced you to buy a christening shawl, but you don’t know which to choose, please do drop us a line!
Notes from the Village
Our local farm shop, Village Greens, is a not-for-profit, run by lovely people to serve our local community on Bodmin Moor. They provide local and organic produce, fabulous cooked breakfasts and great company in our sometimes lonely bucolic idyll. We love what they do for our community, we love their gorgeous cakes and produce and want to share their weekly newsletter. In it Di provides beautiful and amusing insights into modern organic smallholding and farming life. Come and join us on Friday mornings if you can - bring a shopping bag too, but in the meantime, sit back, read on and enjoy...
The last few weeks have thrown up some surprisingly close encounters with wildlife. On our usual dog walk, myself and the two canines quietly approached a young deer. Rather than turn and run, it calmly watched us, with a curious gaze. It then nonchalantly took a few mouthfuls of grass, before finally deciding to jog off. The confidence of youth.
Meetings which proved fatal have occured between myself and a rabbit, a rat and a few moles, but the details need not be repeated, censored by the family as a bit gruesome for publication. (No, we did not eat any of the above, nor will I be making craft projects/clothing from their remains.)
Finally, a slightly dazed bat landed on the decking this morning, a weak looking toad was rescued from a water trough and another fox was spotted resting up in the afternoon sun. The countryside is bristling with critters, and it's great observe them at close quarters.
No wildlife at the shop this week, but loads of great summer fruit and veg. Runner beans, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, salad potatoes, beetroot and local courgettes, alongside delicious Packham pears and Cripps Pink apples.
Join us for a drink, chat, bite to eat and your weekend shop. Bring along a container if you need to top up your washing up liquid (at only £1.75 litre, we are punching above our weight in the price wars!) or laundry liquid, and please start saving empty toilet cleaner bottles so we can expand our refillable range.
See you there