You'd think it would have been easy, right? Not so...
I've always been under the assumption that department stores and the like stock wool blankets, in the same way that I keep flour in my kitchen cupboard even though I don't do any baking at all. However, my first indicator that this was not going to be an easy task came when the pre-pubescent shopkeeper in Linens looked at me in shock. "Blanket? Like for a bed?" she asks, then adds, "Isn't it too early in the year for that?" I think she thought I was crazy or some such. As she went back to her other stuff that she was doing, she commented that perhaps I should look over in the comforter section of the store. The comforter (or duvet, as I prefer to call them) section is stacked to the ceilings with comforters and duvets, all made from wonderful, miracle fibers.
Don't get me wrong, I love my duvet/comforter. Duvets, actually, one for spring/summer/fall and one for winter. Why did we go to duvets? They're a European invention. Duvets are harmless enough, no covers to wrestle with and so forth, but they lack weight. And to be honest, they may be fine for the kind of winters enjoyed by Americans (my friend Marlyn, out in California gets decent comforter weather all the time), but when the mercury plummets in Ontario into negative double digits (Celsius, of course), you need the security - not to mention warmth - of substantial coverings.
So here I am in this store, looking for a decent blanket. Today's blankets are cotton (suitable for life in California or Georgia, perhaps) or microfibre fleece. I remember the wonderful Hudson's Bay blankets; the HBC blankets are 100% wool with the familiar pattern that most Canadians know, but they're not the kind of thing you want on a duvet, or in a duvet cover, for that matter. Not to mention one for a king- or queen-size bed would cost a fortune. And the other blankets I saw just weren't...right.
Anyway, needless to say, I didn't find a suitable blanket last night, so I will continue the search for a decent blanket when I have the chance. In the meantime, I will sleep tonight with one of my old blankets, and dream of purchasing a decent blanket.
Such is life. :)