One of the questions that I get asked most often is why the materials used in the blankets and quilts that you all make for Cwtch of Comfort need to be machine washable. Some people think it’s because the blankets are re-used – but nothing is further from the truth. To make it a bit clearer, I’ll explain the journey of a blanket from your fair hands to those of a suddenly bereaved family.
When we get the blankets, they’re checked for ends and smell – if they smell of smoke or air fresheners(for example), they’re washed by us before they’re packaged up. This is because we need them to smell as neutral as possible when they are received by families. Olfactory memory is the term used to describe the fact that memories can be set off by smells: – this is due to the area of the brain which deals with the sense of smell being located near to the area of the brain that deals with memories. It’s really important that if somebody receives a blanket from us, that its smell isn’t then associated with the memory forever.
Once they’re checked, we then fold them and wrap them in ribbon. A label is also attached to the blanket which says who made it (if we have that information), and that it is machine washable. We’re also starting to attach a spare square to the label as a keepsake. Once it’s given to the grieving family, it’s up to them what happens next. Some blankets are used to wrap the child in for burial, in which case the squares re all that’s left: in most cases, the family keeps the blanket as a reminder of the last moment of their child. If the blanket is kept, it’s really important that families can wash it without worrying about how to wash it.
Thank you to everybody who has made a blanket or a square. What you are doing is to provide grieving families with the comfort of knowing that somebody cares.