Navajo blankets refer to textiles that have traditionally been produced by Navajo people of the US. Blankets and rugs made using these textiles have been highly regarded for centuries and are sought after as valuable items. Although the textiles were originally used in making different types of clothing including wrapdresses, belts, sashes and cloaks among others, the textiles are now used to make blankets and rugs among other materials. Choosing authentic Navajo blanket or rug can be a challenge especially if you do not know what to look for.
It is very important that you check the design of a Navajo blanket you are about to buy. An authentic blanket will have uniform width all round. Both vertical and horizontal lines should be uniform and remain straight throughout the blanket. It is also a good idea to ascertain how tight the weaving is. Unlike machine-made Navajo blankets, hand-made blankets have tight fine weave. Note that rugs have tight weave that is coarse. You also need to ensureensure that you cannot see through the blanket.
Navajo people relied on dyes to create blankets and rugs of different non-fading colors. This is something you need to look for in a Navajo blanket. Although Navajo blankets are available in different colors, authentic blankets feature colors that do not fade. A practical way to ascertain this is to rub a blanket between your hands to see whether or not color remains in your palms.
Like with any other authentic materials or items, authentic Navajo blankets can be very expensive. Indeed some are quoted at , . Their price is mainly determined by the following factors:
- Size of blanket
- Quality of blanket
- Harmony of color
- Firmness of weave
- Attractiveness of design
- Type of dye used
Blankets made of textile made by Navajo people are very durable and therefore last a long time. Although they are crafted to be strong, maintaining and caring for the blankets does not present any problems. Occasional washing before airing out to dry should be enough to keep the blankets clean and fresh.
However, use of strong detergents can be counter-productive. Using strong detergents when washing the blankets destabilizes the dye used, which presents the risk of having blankets with patches of color. Soft detergents should be sufficient to clean the blankets as desired.