Antique Horse Blanket


CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Apr 24, 2002
Pittsfield, MA - The Berkshires
How would you frame a heavy, antique horse blanket?? I have a customer bringing back this framed horse blanket that has fallen apart. I can fix the obvious mistakes but but I am looking for suggestions as to how to hang this heavy blanket. It was originally attached to a linen by multiple stitches of black thread but the constant downward pull of the blanket caused some of the stitched threads to break through the threads of the blanket and overall I don't think this thread can handle the weight. Whatever I use it must be able to handle the downward weight of the blanket. Any past experiences or suggestions?
I'm a city girl, so am not quite sure what a horse blanket is - is it just a regular, woven, heavy weight wool blanket? Is is a shaped, saddle pad with pile? Can it be draped over a form, (mimicking a horse's back!?) to help distribute weight, and put in a case, or does it need to be hung? Is the fabric strong enough to be hung at all? How big is it?

If it's reasonably sturdy it may just need a backing stitched to it. If it's a plaid, or patterned in some way, the stitching can follow the pattern, but will need to make a fairly even grid over the the whole textile to distribute weight properly. Vertical tapes or webbing can also be stitched at intervals to help distribute weight. If it's a felted fabric with no pattern, this won't work, as the stitching will show. If you do end up stitching a backing on, do it with both fabrics hanging down, otherwise it just won't hang well.

Is this answer going in a useful direction at all? I think more info would help me and others give a more focused answer.

I wondered about draping it over a dowel with some sort of fancy knobs on the ends. Or even attach the dowel ends to the frame, sorta like a closet rod. ??

Are you just remounting it in the same frame or starting from scratch? How long was it in the frame before the stitches let loose?

I had a blanket that needed a hanging system last month and I asked on HH. I received a lot of great solutions--but this one wasn't being framed just hung--some of the methods would have worked either way. Some were complicated and time consuming and others simple. I may have saved them--but will look tomorrow.

Hopefully some of those HH participate here and will chime in. If not if you give more detail it may help to know exactly what you doing, what you are replacing and what fell apart.
This is a cleaned, antique, mexican looking horse blanket. The size is approx. 40x40 inches. I am trying to reframe it as it was before but with a few improvements. My plan is to dry mount the linen to foam core, leaving 3" or so of the linen not dry mounted so I can then stretch the linen to the stretcher bars. We can then stitch (wide stitching) along the horizontal pattern of the blanket instead of multiple in/out stitching. The stitching before had only about 1/8" width between the in hole and out hole which was a problem. I am planning on using fishing line like thread (I cannot think of the proper name of the thread at this time). Whadya think??
I didn't know a board could move to a new place so I thank Rebecca for informing us to where this ended up.
Out of the suggestions I received two may work for you, had to look in the HH archives.

The first one suggested by Vivian Kistler was to sew velcro stips to the back--the kind without adhesive and the opposite velcro is attatched to thin stips of wood which you would have to attatch to your backing.

The second one may work better for a heavy blanket and it is from Darrell Smith. He suggested making a stainer frame slightly smaller than the blanket and cover it with fiberglass window screen. The blanket is then sewn to this in many areas and mounted to your backing. Either way your backing would have to be sturdy enough to attatch the wood strips or stainer. I don't know if this helps or not.

You would have to seal the wood stips or stainer bars too.

I thought fishing line stretches over time so maybe someone can suggest the right kind of thread/yarn? to sew with.
I think there is probably some gulf between the way a framer approaches a problem and the way a conservator does, and I'm having a little trouble making the bridge. Enough metaphor!

I don't understand the purpose of drymounting the linen to the foamboard. If this is the route you're going, why not just stretch the (washed) linen, center your blanket and stitch directly to the fabric? How does foamboard enter into it?

Or, with the HH suggestions, why stitch it to fiberglass screening? Why not to linen? And why would the stretcher be smaller than the blanket? What happens to the edges of the blanket then?

I'm also not understanding how the smallness of the stitch (1/8" or so)is causing the blanket to tear. Is this a running stitch, or are you talking a kind of zig-zag stitch. If it's zig zag, then I think I get it. I did one like that, but did a whole series of staggered zig zags to distribute the weight.

Cotton or polyester sewing thread would be better than fishing line - less tendancy to cut into blanket, and less tendancy to stretch.

Just on a general note, you probably know this, but its much easier to stitch the (fuzzy) side of Velcro to a textile if you first machine stitch the Velcro to cotton twill tape or even lengths of cotton fabric, and hand stitch the fabric (not the Velcro -ouch!)to the textile.

Just my 2 cents.

I am not positive, but I assume the window screen was suggested because it can be stretched taught, sewn through the holes, will have less give than fabric(a little more support/grab) and easier maybe to tie off. But I suppose anything can droop over time. I don't know if Darrell is in the grumble but I believe I saw this suggested before, with more explaination to the theory, but my memeory is rusty today. :(