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Chule's Wool Blankets
History
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A Brief History of the Chule Family

Chule started apprenticing in weaving as a very young boy, helping his father, Nikola, a fourth generation weaver in Bitola, Macedonia. By the age of fifteen, Chule opened his own weaving shop, weaving runners from rags on a loom he built himself.

Chule grew up with three sisters, working very hard to support his family as his father died young.

Chule and Vera married in 1947 with daughter Lidi and son Niko coming soon after that. Vera joined Chule in the shop as soon as the two siblings (4 years apart) grew up a bit. She continued weaving by his side and often managed the entire weaving business by herself.

Life was hard as they started with nothing (mom tells of a story in which they used a heavy coat for bed cover in a very small studio with no heat or stove).

But soon the mastery with generations of weaving passed down to Chule paid off. Chule moved to a different and bigger shop, built better looms, got spinning machines (for the raw wool he was buying), obtained a huge cauldron for the dyeing of the yarn, and soon became the well-known master weaver in town. People would come from far for his kilims, flokatis and blankets.

Before long, Chule had employees that he trained and taught the trade of not just weaving, but also spinning, carding, dyeing, and selling.

Niko was about five when he ended up at the shop getting into the loom and causing more trouble than help. He remembers jumping on bales of raw wool, coming out shining and smelling like a lamb. But he remembers mostly winding bobbins for the weavers. He used the homemade "bobbin winder" (a wheel from a bicycle and a skein wheel) to make bobbins so tight that the thread would cut through his fingers. He soon learned the lesson to protect those fingers and was rewarded with money for cartoon movies that he watched on Saturday mornings at the local theater.

Chule moved to America in 1966 when his business grew so much that he could not afford the huge taxes imposed by the government to discourage private businesses. He arrived in Columbus, Ohio, and worked various odd jobs (as a tailor, cook, snack shop owner) waiting to fulfill his dream of starting his weaving again in the land of the free.

The opportunity came when the whole family moved to California. In 1974 Chule built a loom and a warper and started weaving in a garage. He opened his first weaving shop in San Pedro one year later. He wove beautiful plaid blankets in bright colors that were not very congruous with the pastel decors of the day. But soon he learned to accommodate his customers with custom weavings.

Niko helped with selling the blankets with the discovery of art and craft shows in 1975 and joined the family in the weaving business after his graduate studies (he continued with teaching mathematics and computer science in addition to weaving) in 1981, when he started weaving and designing new patterns and colors for Chule's blankets.

Soon Lidi, Niko, Chule and Vera became regulars on the art and craft circuit shows and participated at many of them all over the country for over 42 years. The journey continues today (at a much reduced pace)--we sell the blankets almost exclusively at art and craft shows and hope to change that with this web site.

Chule and Vera are no longer with us and Lidi has just about retired from fair traveling. Niko weaves now and then and prepares blankets for the fairs that are fun and profitable to attend. He is also trying to recruit his two daughters with at least fairs participation. We hope the tradition will continue with the new generation.

Chule, dad Nikola, and sister Dora
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The Culevskis in 1953 at river Dragor
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Chule weaving in Bitola
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Chule's work crew 1958
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Chule weaving in a garage in San Pedro
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Chule and Vera weaving in San Pedro
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Warping the loom
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Chule With granddaughters in 2007
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Joy in traditional Macedonian costume
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Chule weaving in Bitola
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Lidi and Niko when they were young
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Vera in 1943
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Chule and Vera weaving
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Ljupco making bobbins
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Niko and Chule weaving in San Pedro
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Vera and Chule at the shop
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Kahte and Penka in 2001
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Niko weaving a flokati
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Chule's Wool Blankets * 1741 Torrance Boulevard #C * Torrance * US * 90501 * (310) 320-1351 * (425) 741-1685