Folding a blanket properly requires common sense, an eye for even edges, and the ability to work in tandem with your partner (if you have one). Susan Parrish, a dealer in Americana, folk art, and textiles, compares the process to a dance step.

When caring for antique blankets, Susan recommends that you clean them infrequently and that you make sure to take them to a professional cleaner with a good reputation. Rare Navajo weavings, for example, must be washed through a special screen. Only a specialist can ensure that the reds won't run. Contact your local museum for a referral.

Beacon blankets, on the other hand, were made to be washed in your washing machine. These colorful collectibles, produced from the 1920s through the 1950s, only become softer with use. A commercially woven, early-20th-century wool blanket should be sent to a dry cleaner. If you're thinking of purchasing an antique blanket that has a stain, weigh the variables -- age, rarity, condition -- and realize that some stains will disappear with cleaning; some won't.


Susan Parrish Antiques, New York, NY, 212-645-5020


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