Sunday Ganim likes to keep people warm. She began making woven scarves for friends, covering their collars with personalised weaves. Now she’s covering their babies with her blankets. “I hate being cold,” she says. “I am a beach person and summer is my favourite season, but it’s good to get out in the cold sometimes when you’re all rugged up, or cosy on a couch somewhere.” Especially if you’re a wee one.
So after two exhibitions of her work over the last two years – Scarf-Ace! and Weavie Wonders – and the birth of her sister’s baby last year, Ganim decided to put scarf weaving on the back burner and turn her bright, colourful yarns and into warm blankets. “When my sister was pregnant, I was going to hand-weave her a blanket for her yet-to-be-born baby Max. She ended up not wanting anything too precious, as it’s hard to maintain an intricate piece of fabric with all the washing that happens with kids. So we ended up knitting some blankets in happy colours that you could thrown in with the rest of your laundry to make things easy.”
The blankets, made from 100 per cent Australian merino wool or Egyptian cotton imported from Italy, are perfect for a baby to snuggle in, drool on and drag around the house. And the best part? They can be thrown in the wash at the end of it all. With her creative eye, Ganim’s playful use of colour – with naïve contours in brilliant red, royal blue with a Kermit green trim and traditional Damask-inspired yardage – results in a range that brings a bright warmth to the home as well.
“These baby blankets are knitted in Northcote by a guy called Mike,” says Ganim. “I usually get an idea in my head then sketch out a rough plan and go to see him. He is a boffin of all things knitwear and was part of the development team at Coogi back in its heyday.”
Working closely with producers is something we’re are seeing a lot more of these days, with custom tailoring and made-to-order pieces produced locally. It’s an involved part of the process that Ganim really enjoys. “It seems like a privilege these days that you can oversee the sampling literally as it comes off the knitting machine and swap ideas on the factory floor, which usually leads to changes for the better.” This collaborative process has brought these childlike concepts, refined with grown-up touches of warming pastels, emboldened primary hues and quality textiles to us, just in time for spring.
Currently sold in stores around Melbourne – including Hut13, Pipsqueak and her mother, designer Rae Ganim’s soon-to-be-opened design boutique on Brunswick Street – Ganim has also just launched her first online store for her blankets. And it looks like we might soon be seeing these woven pieces in larger sizes too.
“There are always a few projects on the go, but I am currently developing a series of woven throw blankets for big people in bright colours, which will be sold in editions of 10. Look out for them,” she advises.