Maçainhas village (near Guarda, where Mar-quês de Pombal initiated textile production) used to earn a living from the production of these – once very popular – blankets. Since 1966, Fábrica de Cobertores de José Freire is the last of its kind to produce them in the whole of Portugal. During the summer time, the thick and long “greasy wool” of the local sheep is spun and woven on an old hand-loom. From here it goes to the scouring ma-chine, where it is washed and pressed into felt. Afterwards, it proceeds into the carding machine, which aligns the fibres, goes on to be stretched and is left under the sun to dry. There is no other way to obtain these thick and very warm blankets, available both in white and in a coloured pattern, with a distinctive long thread.
This is the last remaining factory that makes these blanket exact the same way they did since 1966 . Now run by 4 former employees the can only produce a very small amount of these at a time . These people operate purely out of passion and to keep this craft alive .
We have 6 designs of them available at the store and online .
Here are some pictures from the factory visit
Washing Machine where the blankets are felted .
Drying racks : blankets are still dried in the sun