The White House Shares Our Taste in Textiles

Check this out! We featured Swans Island in our May 2008 issue. Look up our Facebook page to see the entire story.

The White House Selects Swans Island as one of the official gifts for the visiting delegation from Ireland March 17, 2009

The White House has selected a shamrock green blanket throw made by Swans Island of Maine as one of the gifts for the delegation from Ireland meeting March 17, 2009, given by First Lady Michelle Obama.  The throw is made from the finest wool, from yarn spun in the United States and woven on American made hand looms in the traditions of our fore fathers.  Even the custom box it is presented in is made in the USA.

Swans Island President Bill Laurita said, in explaining how his blanket came to be chosen, "I feel like I have the luck of the Irish!  We had sent some samples of our blankets along with fabric samples and it just so happened one of those fabric samples was green.  We really weren't thinking St. Patrick's Day, we were thinking more along the line of First Lady Michelle Obama's designer eye and taste for beautiful rich colors."

As it happened, the green was chosen for this specific event.  Even luckier, Swans Island had been working on a green blanket — it was still on the loom.  Jumping to action, the blanket was finished to their specifications, cut off the loom and hemmed in Swans Island signature silk hem.  A custom tag was made for the blanket stating, "Custom Designed for Michelle Obama".

Swans Island products were selected for presentation to the new administration by Capital Gifts and Awards of Annapolis, MD a company that specializes in Protocol Gifts.  Chris Harkins, President,  said  "I have provided  Protocol gifts for over 30 years, it is rare to find such a gem of a company and beautiful product to present.  You sometimes feel like everything has been offered before, and then come across a company like Swans Island where true artistic craftsmanship and the highest standards of quality and design meet to create a testament to what we as American people are capable of producing."



  1. Susan Williams

    This is the perfect gift and a smart selection.

    March 18, 2009 at 12:55 pm
  2. Kate Field

    I have known about Swan’s Island for years. I love their story and the small earth-friendly business with old-world quality. As a landscape architect specializing in waterfront homes, I recommend their blankets to all my clients as they are perfect year-round in coastal New England. I have two throws, and the colors are as warm as the wool. Katherine Field, president, Katherine Field and Associates, Inc., Landscape Architects

    March 18, 2009 at 1:57 pm
  3. Michele Orne

    Swan’s Island is gem of a company with the hightest standards. They are commited to timeless, classic design production methods that honor a long-standing tradition of quailty Maine craftsmenship. In a world of off-shore mass production these pieces really stand out as unique!
    Michele Orne, knitwear designer

    March 18, 2009 at 2:08 pm
  4. Sarah Szwajkos

    How wonderful to know that Swans Island’s blanket will spread warmth and good will between countries! I am so pleased to have worked with Swans Island to photograph their exquisite blankets, and I agree that the green is not only the perfect choice for St. Patrick’s Day, but for Michelle Obama. I hope the Obama’s got at least one for themselves, too. Kudos, Swans Island!

    March 18, 2009 at 2:25 pm
  5. Andy Spiegel

    Wow! We own a green Swan’s Island blanket as well (more teal green then kelly green). We live in California but
    have visited the Swan’s Island store and weaving rooms in Northport, ME and it is one of the most wonderful crafts places on earth. They are like keepers of the flame.

    March 18, 2009 at 3:28 pm
  6. Jana Halwick

    Congratulations Swans Island! Your beautifully crafted blankets epitomize the Maine Made label. How nice that this quality is being recognized in Washington and beyond!
    The perfect recipe: a fire in the hearth, a great book, and a Swans Island throw!

    March 18, 2009 at 3:31 pm
  7. Noel Mount

    Congratulations Bill Tom and the gang at Swan’s Island… The blanket weavers of Maine are a powerhouse of taste. We are proud to be a part of this community.

    March 18, 2009 at 7:30 pm
  8. sally grassi

    I know that our First Lady has good taste and a desire to support beautifully crafted, locally made items. How lovely that she chose to do both with her choice of Maine’s Swan’s Island blankets! Hooray for Michelle Obama and the talented artisans who produce these incredible works of art.

    March 19, 2009 at 3:24 pm
  9. Christina Sidoti

    We are huge fans of Swans Islands blankets and of our first lady so the match does not surprise us. We are honored to have such an incredible business in our community and want to say hurray and congratulations to them, it is quite an honor.

    March 20, 2009 at 1:15 pm
  10. Thad Chilton

    I can think of no more appropriate gift for the First Lady to present to the delegation from Ireland. An heirloom quality gift made by hand in Maine with nothing but natural materials. Congratulations to Tom, Bill and everyone at Swans Island.

    March 20, 2009 at 7:25 pm
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    Guau! que linda sorpresa enterarse de esto. Los felicito a Tom y Bill, tuve la suerte de conocerlos y estar en su taller, me encanta lo que hacen y sobre todo que sean reconocidos por ello. Felicitaciones!!

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