While we’re in the wedding mood, I thought I’d post some photos of the handira — a.k.a. traditional wedding blankets — that I bought while I was in Morocco this past July. My understanding is that a bride would make this sort of blanket to include as part of her wedding trousseau, thereby demonstrating both her skill in weaving and the wealth of her family. The bride then wears the blanket around her shoulders on the day of the wedding; the sequins protect her from the evil eye.
I bought three vintage blankets: one large blanket to use as a bedspread, a smaller blanket that I’m currently using as a throw, and another medium-sized blanket that I gave to Mark and Erin as a wedding gift (how convenient of them to announce their engagement while I was in a vacation spot with excellent shopping). I went through many blankets to find just the right ones, and the shopkeeper threw in the two pillows as a sweetener to close the deal (at first I thought the pillows would be too ratty to actually use, but thanks to Amanda’s needlework, they cleaned up pretty well). At the time, it was difficult to visualize exactly how the blankets would look in my apartment, but I’m really happy with the results.
As you can tell, I didn’t shy away from the sequins. All that bling may not be to everyone’s taste (Amanda dubiously called the big pillow the “drag queen pillow”), but I kind of love it. All those little metal beads add a jolt of fun to the room — not only do they sparkle in the sunlight, they also jingle when I roll over at night.
The smaller blanket is the more traditional size. It’s smaller than a bedspread but larger than your average throw blanket. It’s also very heavy, what with the weight of the wool and all the sequins. Some people use these blankets as rugs or as covers for headboards. I’m still trying to figure out what to do with mine, so for now it’s piled in my basket by my couch (what I really need is a second bedroom…).
In addition to the blankets, I also bought some rugs. I’ve already posted pictures of the small rug that I put in the bathroom. Here are some photos of the runner that I had custom-sized to fit my hallway. The pattern is a “Sahara” pattern, meant to evoke the undulating sand dunes.
(One word of caution to those who might feel inspired to go to Morocco and make similar purchases: Shipping this stuff home is an enormous hassle and can be more expensive than just paying for the extra baggage on the plane. I found this out the hard way by sending everything to myself via FedEx. Not only were the shipping charges outrageous, but because the value was greater than $250 I was automatically deemed to be an “importer” for purposes of the customs laws — so everything was subject to additional tax, paperwork and bureaucracy. At the end of the day I managed to avoid paying the additional customs tax, but I still felt thoroughly oppressed by dear old Uncle Sam.)