Asterlark throws are made on vintage looms from natural fibers, but do they pass our super-scientific nap test?
What’s one of the few benefits of living through a pandemic? That’s right, the naps.
For most of 2020, the responsible thing to do has been nothing at all. That leaves many people (sorry parents of young children) with more time to doze off to World Series replays they didn’t even care about the first time around.
And be honest, work-from-homers, how nice is it to actually take that after lunch nap you could only dream about in the office? And how much more productive are you after resting for 20 minutes instead of thinking about resting for two hours?
This weekend — and again on Monday afternoon — I put my 100% wool Asterlark throw to the test to see how it performs in the nap-arena. Between trials, I did some digging to see if I could sleep with a clean eco-conscious using this product.
Is Asterlark suitable for snoozin’?
“Distinctive, timeless, and cozy” are the words Asterlark uses to describe its products on its homepage. After giving my wool throw a whirl, I have no reason to disagree.
I certainly don’t have another blanket like this in terms of craftsmanship or materials. To be fair, its main competition is a fleece tie blanket featuring Seahawks logos… and I’m a Vikings fan. But my Asterlark blanket is unique because it’s the only one in my house that isn’t shedding microplastic. It also just so happens to perfectly compliment our beige couch, carpet, walls and curtains (or so I’m told).
Better yet, it’s machine quality without the cold, manufactured hems and seams. It has “Made by Grandma” feel without the anxiety of preserving a family heirloom.
Here’s the best way I can put it. Think back to when you were a child and went to visit your grandparents. They stuff you full of food, take you to the park, put in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles VHS and BAM; you wake up several hours later on the couch with the sun beaming through the windows. What blanket are you snuggling?
That’s the feeling I got from this brand new blanket. Somehow (I’ll get to how), Asterlark packs decades of nostalgia and character into a blanket I only just received.
Another way to put it: I’ll bet that at some point someone is going to ask me what fair, art show or artisan shop I got my throw from, and in which century it was made. That person won’t believe me when I say “Asterlark.com” and “21st.”
If the whole grandma and grandpa’s house scene didn’t do it justice, maybe some cold hard facts will. Asterlark nails it with the 51″ by 71″ size. What is the worst thing that can happen during a nap? That’s right, uncovered feet. Not only is my throw long enough for my six-foot frame, but it’s wide enough to tuck the sides under or squeeze in a second person. (What’s better than a team nap?)
After size, weight is the most important feature in a napping blanket. And, again, Asterlark nails it. The wool throw is heavy enough to be cozy, and light enough to avoid the nap-sweats. If I remember correctly, I made it through an inning and a half of Saturday’s Twins game before things went fuzzy…
In the spirit of brutal honesty…
The Merino wool is scratchier than fleece or cotton. However, that did not keep my from drifting off under this blanket. This isn’t my first choice for a hot and sticky summer night, but, then again, no blanket it is.
I have two other concerns about this blanket:
- Dog hair: As shown above, I’m the proud guardian of a shaggy Australian Shepherd (that’s him with a recent haircut). This blanket is going to be an absolute magnet for dog hair. So is everything else in our house.
- Cleaning: I am not a tidy person and my blankets tend to reflect that. Cleaning this blanket won’t be as easy as throwing it in the washer and dryer. However, Asterlark does lay out some pretty foolproof instructions for cleaning Merino wool.
Can I rest easy wrapped in an Asterlark?
So the blanket can put me to sleep, but should I be having sweet, eco-friendly dreams?
Aboslutely, and here’s why:
No microplastics. That means no synthetic fibers, no petroleum products, no ocean plastic, no plastic rain, etc. That, right there, is a significant ecological upgrade from most other blankets. Wool and cotton are renewable resources unlike petroleum-based synthetics.
Supporting small business(es). Asterlark itself is a small business based in Columbus, Ohio that carefully selects small and woman-owned businesses in their supply line. From the brief correspondence I’ve had with owners Ashley and Kris it’s evident that sustainability is built into the core of their business.
Ethical and transparent sourcing. As mentioned, Ashley and Kris prioritize small, independent and woman-owned businesses in their supply chain. Their wool comes Merino sheep in Portugal, primarily from members of ANCORME, an organization dedicated to preserving the breed. And, according to their website, they use “surplus and remnant cotton from apparel production facilities” in Turkey.
Reclaimed looms! Asterlark throws are woven on refurbished mid-century looms. No wonder the blanket comes with built in nostalgia and character! Not only does this add to the aura of the throw, it’s a significant sustainability effort. These looms obviously still have plenty of fight left in them…
Sustainable packaging. I find packaging and shipping materials to be a reliable indicator of a company’s sustainability efforts. Do they take their efforts all the way, or do they “mail it in” when it comes to shipping. I am very impressed (to the point of jealousy) with Asterlark’s packaging. Everything down to the cellulose tape is easily compostable or recyclable, and made with as much recycled material as possible.
Room to grow for Asterlark
As a small, sustainably-minded business, Asterlark hits my sweet spot. But there are some things that could really put them over the top.
Local sourcing. I’m not sure what the North American Merino wool scene looks like, but it would be incredible of Asterlark could find a local material and manufacturing sources. I would be derelict in my duties if I didn’t acknowledge the emissions of shipping overseas.
Certifications. Asterlark is still a small business and certifications don’t come cheap. Nevertheless, I hope they grow to the point where they can achieve organic and fair trade certification standards. For the record, all signs point to them being on the right track.
Emeraldology Approved! It’s obvious that Asterlark was founded with sustainability at it’s core and its product is outstanding. Even in the $79-$149 range, these throws are worth every penny, especially since they seem built to last a lifetime. If you think the product itself isn’t worth the price, supporting this small business and their ethical supply chain is.
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