The Vrou-Vrou AKA the Vrou Throw or is it the Vrou-Vrou Throw? is a bold statement in textile design. It grows on you the more you look at it. With its chameleon personality, no two folds appears the same. It’s also a blanket, not a throw.
‘It was not the the stripes and checks that inspired me as much as what happened when the colours combined and intersected, the blocks of tones along with the 3D weave created beautiful textures. This is what got me most excited’ – Lenore Schroeder, Designer.
TLDR – Too long did not read
Vrou – Afrikaans, from Dutch vrouw: A woman or wife.
Mungo Team – A family that has an opinion on EVERYTHING!
Management – Whoever is in charge, apparently.
John – A fictitious name for a warper.
Throw – *Noun. a light cover for furniture and bed. **Verb. Propel (something) with force through the air by a movement of the arm and hand.
Lenore began with the idea to create a throw* which could easily and comfortably be used both in the summer and winter. And she wanted to design an item with colours and textures not currently featured in the Mungo throw* and blanket range. She loved the three-dimensional effect created by the honeycomb-weave and her desire to throw** a variety of colours into one item led to a wild prototype, the first variations of which were featured at Maison Objet in Paris. There the whimsical throw wooed the crowds and on her return to South Africa, Lenore was urged to throw** herself into the task of getting the Vrou-Vrou to market.
‘After the show I reconsidered many colours so that they would be more suitable to the seasons and a bit more sophisticated. I was thinking it would suit a hip, alternative, design orientated market. The final chosen colours are a nice introduction to Autumn Tamarind and Winter Magenta’ – Lenore
Normal procedure at Mungo is to design a weave and then to produce a variety of prototypes in a myriad of colours. Then the Mungo family get to have their say on colour. As you can imagine, in the case of the colourful Vrou-Vrou, this step took a little longer than normal.
Next we get on track to start the manufacturing process.
But as serious as Lenore is about her job, a comedy of errors ensued that humbled all of us, in fact unknown to everyone the first issue with the Vrou-Vrou had begun even before the initial idea was born.
TLDR – The incorrect size frames were ordered and arrived from Germany. They required some TLC & ingenuity to get right, they couldn’t simply be thrown** away. (Management now carpenter)
Full – Mungo had just bought 50 new frames for use on our wide width Dornier loom at the Mungo Mill. At the top of the frames are wooden guides referred to as shaft guides. They assist in keeping the shaft straight when it moves up and down while weaving the pattern. When the new shafts arrived we found to our dismay that the shaft guides were 1.6mm too thick, so Dax had to route and plane them down by 0.9mm on either side. Ah ha! Having a carpenter (aka Mungo Managing Director) on our team really pays off. Luckily he enjoys getting stuck into the workshop and has an eye for accuracy in the process. Even better though if he had an eye for paper work! It worked HEH! Off we go….
TLDR – There were multiple mistakes, Monday blues and possible buggering around in setting up the warps and looms. (Management very unhappy, but eating humble pie.)
Full – When the fabric is made on the wide width loom the machine requires two warp beams on either side to get the required width. We don’t often use so many colours in our warp, and certainly not on the wide loom. It became a bit too confusing for John the warper, he made the first warp incorrectly. And in trying to make a plan….the second one too. That is 2 x warp beams with thousands of threads of about 400m in length each. Crikey. Poor John. I think he wanted to throw**, himself in the river.
But all’s well that ends well. They are now waiting for our sample loom Sally to make them up in to something new. It would be a waste to throw, them away, when it could make another throw*.
TLDR – An attempt is made to fix an incorrect warp, it fails. (Management perplexed)
Full – When production saw the first mistake made in the warp on the first beam, they brain-stormed to find a solution to get the fabric on the loom. Adjusting the warp beam width sounded like a good idea, but when the beam came back at the new width it did not fit into the loom, they threw** their back into it, but to no avail, because unfortunately, the measurements were taken incorrectly (maybe the tape measure needs to be thrown** away). It was considered that perhaps we should just cut some pieces off the loom… fortunately management had woken up by now and decided instead to cut our losses. Back to the drawing board.
Another warp was planned and made, this time correctly. (nice one, John) and sent back to the mill.
One last hurrah?
TLDR – The warps are drawn in without a hitch. Or are they? (Management reserves the right to remain silent)
Full – The talented ladies who draw the warp threads in from the warp beam through the many small heddles of the shafts, had their work cut out for them. They had to draw in (a term for handing a thread from the warp to the front for the machine) 4800 warp threads! These ladies have had many years of experience and so the work was done quickly. Bravo!
In an effort to reduce down time one of the incorrect warps had provisionally been drawn in (a time consuming process), to later then be knotted (a quicker process) to the correct one. A grand idea in theory but in reality… it didn’t go so well.
All in all a brand new addition to the Mungo range, from tested prototype to shelf, takes about 10 weeks to complete. Our stubborn Vrou has taken us six months!
The final product is absolutely beautiful! (Management now very happy)
What’s in a name
TLDR – The Vrou Throw? Vrou-Vrou is actually a blanket. So it’s also now called the Vrou-Vrou. (Management, tongue tied)
Full – The name Vrou is dedicated to Angela who has been working at Mungo for over twelve years. She is a vital part in our wholesale department and deals with all of our dispatch.
We would not say Angela is as stubborn as the Vrou, but she’s a very determined and dedicated member of our team. First it was the Vrou Throw, because well, it rolls off the tongue. But there’s a problem, the Vrou is a blanket, not a throw. So is it the Vrou Throw blanket? The Vrou Throw or the Vrou-Vrou? Your guess is as good as ours, let’s see what sticks.