Frequently Asked Questions

Product Care

How do I clean my Swans Island blanket?

There are three ways to clean any Swans Island woven product:

At Home: Spot clean as needed with cool water and organic soaps suitable for wool. For more thorough cleaning, soak and spin but do not agitate, in a top-loading washer. Dry flat; block out to maintain shape. Do not hang over a line to dry. Do not place in a dryer.

Professional Dry Cleaning: Use a reputable dry cleaner. The industry claims that their chemicals do not harm woolen products; however, we are unable to vouch for these claims.

The Swans Island Blanket Hospital: We are happy to launder and repair your Swans Island wovens for a fee. Click here for more on our in-house Blanket Hospital service.

What causes pilling, and how can I prevent it?

Pilling is inherent to most woolen goods, formed when individual fibers slide out of the spun yarn. With the friction of general use, the loose ends of these fibers felt together, forming clumps on the surface (commonly known as pills).

The main reason our woven goods pill is because of the very low micron count – or the diameter of each individual fiber – in our custom-spun yarn. Lower micron counts make for incredibly soft wool, but also increases the likelihood of pilling. The majority of our customers love the extremely soft feel of our handwoven goods, which is why we keep the lower micron count in our yarns, and woven and knit goods.

Tugging at pills will likely pull additional fiber out of the spun yarn, just exacerbating the problem. It is best to gently remove the pills from the surface of the blanket with a tool built for the job. This is the one we use in our shop for cleaning and repairs.

My indigo-based yarn is rubbing off on my hands, why is this happening?

All natural indigo dye, derived from the indigofera plant, has been used for centuries to create rich blue textiles. This dye is not entirely water soluble, and thus does not fully dissolve into the dye bath. Very tiny particles of the dye tend to rest on top of the yarn surface rather than penetrating the fibers the way other dyes do. When exposed to friction (i.e. knitting!), these particles tend to rub off the surface of the yarn, and onto your hands or knitting needles – similar to how the blue color rubs off of jeans with wear. The good news is that this tends to lessen over time, is not harmful, and will easily wash off of your hands.

In our experience the best way to help resolve this is to gently wash and rinse your finished knit item in a mildly warm water with a gentle fiber soap. Rinse until the water runs clear. Lay flat to air dry. Some websites say the rinsing with vinegar helps but in our research, we have found no scientific evidence that supports this claim.

Returns & Exchanges

What is your return policy?

It’s important to us that you love your Swans Island goods. All unused items may be returned or exchanged within thirty days of purchase. Please be aware that monogrammed items, items purchased from our “seconds” room, clearance items and custom orders are not returnable. Please contact us at 1 888 526 9526 or info@swansislandcompany.com.

Sourcing & Process

Where does your wool come from?
Swans Island partners with farmers and spinneries that share our commitment to environmental stewardship. We source fleeces either from the flocks of farmers whom we know, or from sheep that carry GOTS organic certification. Our yarns are all spun in New England mills that share our commitment to high quality standards. Our colors either come off the back of the sheep, or are hand-dyed in our own studios.

Why aren’t all of your products listed as organic?
Many local farms operate at slim profit margins, and cannot afford the organic certification. We purchase our non-certified fleeces from farms that employ healthy pasture and stock practices.

What kinds of dyes do you use?
All of our yarns are hand-dyed here in Northport. We use both natural dyes – derived from materials like indigo, cochineal, and madder root – as well as low-impact synthetics, which impart beautifully saturated hues while using less water. Each process has its own environmental and aesthetic benefits, and we strive for sustainability in all of our practices.

Who makes Swans Island Company products?

We have a dedicated team of dyers, weavers, and finishers in our Northport, Maine studio, talented craftspeople who dye all of our yarn colors, and who produce our signature handwoven blankets, throws, pillows, baby blankets, scarves, and wraps. We’re proud to employ a strong team of local makers, doing our small part to keep manufacturing traditions alive and well on the Maine coast. We also partner with small, U.S. based mills to produce our knitwear and our machine-washable Acadia + Penobscot collections. A rising tide lifts all ships, and we believe that partnerships like these help to ensure that American manufacturing will continue to thrive.

Other Questions

Feel free to contact our Northport offices, Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm with any additional questions:
1-888-526-9526 | info@swansislandcompany.com

Employment Opportunities

How can I work for Swans Island Company?

If you are interested in joining our team at Swans Island Company, please email a letter of intent and resume to jobs@swansislandcompany.com. Swans Island Company is an equal opportunity employer.