The wool blanket "cobertor de papa" is a truly unique masterpiece of Portuguese handicraft. Manufactured in the tiny village of Maçainhas, in the surroundings of Guarda, this cosy blanket has been warming up generations for centuries!
The region of Serra da Estrela has a deep-rooted tradition of wool production, being the basis of Royal Wool Factories that date back to the period of Marquis de Pombal, under the ruling of King Dom José I.
Founded in 1966, the blanket factory José Freire was the last one in the country to produce these wool blankets. Seasonally, in summer, the thick and long churra wool from local sheep is spun and woven on an old loom entirely by hand. It goes to the stomper to be washed and felted, then to the carding machine, which pulls out the hair, and finally stretched out to dry in the sun. This is the only way to obtain a real "cobertor de papa" blanket, consistent and very warm, either plain-coloured or in a colourful pattern, with its characteristic long hair.
Nowadays, they are manufactured in the only remaining loom at the Association of the Genuine Cobertor de Papa, in Maçainhas de Baixo. The Papachurra project cares for the maintenance of this century-old tradition, as well as for the promotion of this unique landmark of regional identity.
Renowned fashion designer Filipe Faísca has incorporated many times these traditional blankets in his brilliant creations.