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Pendleton and the AICF: Blankets with a Cause

bannerAICFPendleton has been supporting the goals of the American Indian College Fund for years. To understand why this makes us so proud, please watch this video.

If this is a casue you can get behind, you might want to consider our AICF blankets for 2015 as a way to contribute. Both blankets were designed by Larry Ahvakana, an Inupiaq/Eskimo from Barrow and Point Hope, Alaska.

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Born in Fairbanks, Larry was raised in Point Barrow until the age of six, when his family moved to Anchorage. He left behind his grandparents, his native tongue, and many of the traditional cultural influences that had shaped his childhood.

Larry has been a working artist since 1972. He graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design and the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He also studied at the Cooper Union School of Art in New York. He works in a variety of media, including stone, glass, bone, metal and wood. His masks bring tradition to life with mythic imagery in old-growth wood.

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Larry is also widely recognized as an educator. He has instructed at the Institute of American Indian Art. He headed the Sculpture Studio at the Visual Arts Center in Anchorage, Alaska, and founded a teaching studio for glass blowing in Barrow, Alaska. His works are included in a large number of major museums, corporate collections, private art collections and as public art commissions.
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Thunderbird and Whale Crib Blanket

The image on this baby blanket is inspired by the artwork of Larry Ahvakana and the Iñupiat legend of the Great Spirit Eagle. Legend states that there once was a massive thunderbird so large and powerful that it could hunt and carry a whale—the main source of sustenance for the Iñupiat. To honor the whale, the Iñupiat created the Messenger Feast. The ceremonial dancing and feasting prepares the community for the coming year and ensures the success of future generations. This blanket is a collaboration between Pendleton Woolen Mills and the American Indian College Fund to honor and reawaken a vital part of Native history. A portion of the proceeds will help provide scholarships for students attending tribal colleges.This blanket is a collaboration between Pendleton Woolen Mills and the American Indian College Fund.

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The Return of the Sun Blanket

The traditions and activities of the Iñupiat, today, as in the past, revolve around the changing of the seasons. This blanket, inspired by the artwork of Larry Ahvakana, celebrates the arrival of the sun back to the Arctic and the start of hunting season. The Iñupiat mark this special time with the Messenger Feast—a ceremony where the spirits of the past season’s harvest are ushered back into the spirit world. Today, the celebration fosters cultural pride and the regeneration of traditional values. This blanket is a collaboration between Pendleton Woolen Mills and the American Indian College Fund to honor and reawaken a vital part of Native history.

You can see all our AICF blankets here: American Indian College Fund Blankets

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Take a Pendleton Mill Tour: From Our Hands to Yours

Nearly every day, we hear from people who have toured our mills in Washougal, Washington, and Pendleton, Oregon. They are impressed by the complexity of the process and the unrelenting noise of a working woolen mill. We are (of course) proud to show off our state-of-the-art mills. That’s why we’re always throwing open our doors to the public. We are working constantly to meet the demand for our fabrics and our weaving capabilities.

You can find information on our tours here and here. Our mill in Pendleton gets quite a bit of press attention, but you can read a detailed history of the Washougal Mill here. But if the Pacific Northwest is not your neighborhood, we offer this virtual tour, filmed at both our mills. We wanted to offer a detailed look at just what it takes to weave a blanket from fleece to finish.

Enjoy!

It’s Pendleton Bike Week in Pendleton, Oregon, and time for Rogue’s Pendleton Pilsner!

Pendleton is growling with bikes today, thanks to the Pendleton Bike Week rally. Yes, if you’ve wanted to explore eastern Oregon on your bike, now is your time. There’s so much going on in; concerts, a bike show, a vendor’s fair. There are giveaways at all the local businesses, including the Pendleton Mill Store.

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Speaking of which, do you see that? That’s a frosty bucket of Pendleton Pilsner, by Rogue Ales. And it’s right there at our mill, which is of course attached to our store, where you can pick up your giveaways as you explore the charming town of Pendleton during the rally. Isn’t the bottle a beauty? It’s a serigraphed with a unique-to-Rogue design based on our Pendleton patterns; the patterns we weave in this very mill.

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We are excited to officially launch the Pendleton Pilsner at some invitation-only events at Pendleton Bike Week on July 25th, and you can taste it at any of the Rogue Brewery Ale Houses on that day.

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Many fine things come from Oregon, including Pendleton blankets and Rogue Ales.  Pendleton Pilsner is brewed at Rogue’s headquarters on the Oregon Coast in Newport, with floor-malted barley grown on Rogue’s Farm in Tygh Valley and Liberty hops grown at Rogue Farms in Independence.

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So if you’re headed to Pendleton for the rally, roll on. We will see you there. And if you’re in Portland, we hope you’ll duck in out of the heat and cool off with our new Pilsner on Saturday.

This brew is pure Oregon.

Join the fun with our National Parks Party: July 15th – 19th

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Please join us for a great time to celebrate a great cause. See our Parks merchandise and learn how you can help us with the restoration of key landmarks in our National parks! Won’t you join us? Find a Pendleton retail store or Pendleton Outlet by clicking: HERE.

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Greg Hatten’s WoodenBoat Adventures: Yellowstone Lake

Our friend Greg Hatten, the WoodenBoat adventurer, is floating some of our country’s National Parks as part of the centennial celebration of the National Park Service.

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Greg is an accomplished guide and fisherman who splits his time between Missouri and Oregon. He is happiest on the river in his wooden drift boat, the Portola.  Greg’s Portola was built to the exact specs of the original Portola piloted by conservationist Martin Litton down the Colorado River in 1964 as part of a historic journey that helped save the Grand Canyon. As difficult as it is to believe, there were plans at the time to dam the Colorado River, flood the Grand Canyon and turn it into a gigantic reservoir.  Wooden drift boaters took to the river, along with a documentary crew, to make a film that brought national attention to the proposed reservoir project. This river journey helped save the Grand Canyon for future generations. Greg’s 2014 recreation of this journey is part of his larger commitment to our National Parks.

In honor of the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, Greg is running rivers through some of our most beloved Parks. Pendleton will be following his journeys on our blog, starting with his trip to Yellowstone Lake.

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On this WoodenBoat adventure… it was late May and the lakes in Yellowstone National Park were free of ice earlier this year than anyone could remember. Usually on Memorial Day weekend, this park is just waking up from its winter hibernation – the snow is patchy in places, the campgrounds are just starting to open, and the staff and crew coming from around the country to work for the summer are learning the answers to hundreds of questions they will be asked by the visiting tourists from around the world. The park was green, the wildlife was stirring and except for the sparse number of tourists, it seemed like it was midseason.

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Greg sets up camp Pendleton-style, in a canvas tent with our Yellowstone National Park blanket AND one of our newest products. Greg has only good things to say about our new roll-ups, which are virgin wool camp blankets attached to a new waxed cotton fabric that we are just a little bit proud of.

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As you can see, so far we are offering this blanket in Badlands, Glacier and Grand Canyon. Greg says it sleeps like a dream in the wild, and we trust his opinion. So go read all about his trip on his WoodenBoat blog, especially the meal. Everyone here in the office wants to try Greg’s campsite cuisine!

Romance in the Wild and the “Love Me” Blanket

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We are absolutely charmed by this Backcountry feature on Romance in the Wild, featuring our “Love Me” blanket by Curtis Kulig.  This is actually a phone app, but you can view it perfectly online by clicking here. Just click that arrow to the right to see a campfire and more. Go see! It’s adorable! Thanks to Backcountry for the love.

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Happy 4th of July from Pendleton Woolen Mills

Are you gearing up to celebrate America’s birthday this weekend? We hope you’re celebrating the good old-fashioned way, with cookouts, picnics, sparklers and family fun. We will celebrate with two very patriotic blankets; Dawn’s Early Light and Brave Star.DawnsEarlyLight_Frnt

Dawn’s Early Light

“O say can you see by the dawn’s early light.” These words were penned on the back of an envelope in 1814 by young lawyer and poet Francis Scott Key. Key was held captive on a Royal Navy ship as British ships in Chesapeake Bay bombarded Fort McHenry throughout the night. When dawn broke, the fort was still standing, the American flag still waving. It was a turning point in the war of 1812, and the birth of our national anthem, the “Star Spangled Banner.” This blanket, woven in our American mills, commemorates the Bicentennial of that momentous morning in U.S. history. Fifteen red and white stripes and stars represent those on the flag at that time. Each star is shaped like an aerial view of the fort, which was built in the shape of a five-pointed star. Striations and imprecise images give the design a vintage Americana look.

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Brave Star

This contemporary interpretation of the American flag celebrates the patriotism of Native Americans. In 1875 Indian scouts carried messages from fort to fort in the West. Native American soldiers saw action with Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders in Cuba. And soldiers from many tribes battled in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and Iraq. Five Native Americans have been awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery “above and beyond the call of duty.” The design marries modern asymmetry and vintage Americana. The unique striations, using pulled out yarns, reflect an era when dyes were made from plants.

Beautiful blankets for our beautiful country.

Now go out and watch some fireworks.

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Volunteer Profile: Jim and Ellie Burbank for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Our National Parks are protected and enriched by a small army of volunteers whose time, enthusiasm and energy are put to use in so many ways. Over the next year, we would like to recognize the efforts of some of the people who help protect America’s Treasures. Today, we’re going to start with Jim and Ellie Burbank. The words below come from Lauren Gass, Special Projects Director for the Great Smoky Mountains Park.

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Jim and Ellie Burbank give selflessly of their time on a weekly basis to enhance and improve Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Residents of the great state of Tennessee, they embody the volunteer spirit.  They are former operators of the Snowbird Inn in Robbinsville, NC.  Ellie is a world-class chef and baker and Jim is a retired biologist with the Tennessee Valley Authority. Both are weekly hikers who thrill at any chance to introduce their friends and family members from across the U.S. and around the world to the wonders and beauty of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Jim is a key member of the Volunteers-in-Parks program, and the Friends of the Smokies Tennessee office just would not function very well without Ellie’s help.

Jim actually goes out and meets strangers and tells them about the national park in his work as a weekly educational interpretive volunteer in Cades Cove, and he meets plenty of them with 2.5 million people visiting this beloved valley in Great Smoky Mountains National Park every year.  He also leads monthly full moon walks in the Cove for campers and families to experience the quietude of this mountain treasure at night.  Jim also leads wildflower walks for other nonprofit organizations including Friends of the Smokies, and has helped countless hundreds of hikers differentiate between a yellow trillium and a trout lily.

Ellie acknowledges all of the contributions made to Friends of the Smokies, which involves keeping the organization’s donor records up-to-date and accurate, printing tens of thousands of acknowledgment letters each year, and she does it all in two days each week.  She has volunteered with Friends for more than 14 years, and is the equivalent of another part-time staff member. Jim and Ellie dedicate substantial amounts of time to impart their love of Great Smoky Mountains National Park to others, and they take their volunteer work very seriously.  They are extremely knowledgeable about the Park and its needs.

The Great Smoky Mountains national Park hosts over 9,000,000 visitors each year. Yes, you read that correctly–Nine. Million. Visitors. As the most-visited park in the United States, it needs the help of people like the Burbanks. We thank them sincerely for their generosity and commitment.

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Learn more about helping to support our National Parks here.

Pendleton for Pets!

There’s a new way to share your love of Pendleton with your best buddy, and it’s finally here.

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Pendleton Pet includes an assortment of beds, collars, leads and jackets.

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All sizes are included, from the tiniest to the largest. Your dog is really going to enjoy this. And so will you, of course.

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These are offered in National Park blanket stripes representing U.S. National Parks; Acadia, Badlands, Crater Lake, Grand Canyon, Great Smoky Mountains, Rainier, Rocky Mountain, Yellowstone, Yosemite and Glacier.  Yes, your best friend can recline in the finest Pendleton Pet style, or take his walks on a Park Stripe leash, and show his commitment to preserving our National Treasures with his Park Stripe collar and his spiffy little National Park dog coat.

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Doesn’t your best friend deserve the best? We know you share your favorite Pendleton blankets with your best friends all the time. We have photographic evidence!

So check out the new line and see what’s right for your dog. And if you Instagram, please tag with #PendletonPet. We’d love to see the line at work.

More information on Pendleton Pet can be found here. And remember, your purchase of these products helps to support the National Park Foundation. More information here.

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Buffalo and the National Parks: Pendleton’s New Buffalo Wilderness Blanket

BuffaloBlanketIn 2016, we will honor the centennial of our National Park Service. We will celebrate our National Parks, along with the employees and volunteers who work to hold the Parks in trust for generations to come. An important part of that trust includes preserving and managing each Park’s wildlife. The National Parks have played a key role in the preservation of the American bison, commonly known as the buffalo.

In the 16th century, North America was home to 25 to 30 million bison, making the American Plains Bison the most abundant single species of large mammal on Earth. The Plains Bison is a “keystone species.”  The trampling and grazing of these thundering herds actually shaped the ecology of America’s Great Plains. A bison can weigh over 2,500 pounds,  jump six feet vertically, and run 40 miles per hour when alarmed. This is an impressive animal.

The bison played a crucial part in the lives of Nomadic Native American peoples. One bison could provide 200 to 400 pounds of meat, as well as hides, robes, and sinew for bows. Hunting was accomplished on foot and on horseback through herded stampedes over buffalo jumps. For an accurate and detailed account of Native American hunting methods, along with art and photography, see this blog post at www.nativeamericannetroots.net. Hunters thanked the animals with rituals and prayers for the gift of their lives. The Natives, the herds and the habitat thrived.

Two hundred years later, the bison was hunted nearly to extinction.  Decimating factors included loss of habitat due to farming and ranching, and industrial-scale hunting by non-Natives.  The systematic destruction of the herds was promoted by the U.S. Army in order to strike an irrevocable blow to the way of life of the Plains Nations. The loss of the buffalo was an economic, cultural, and religious tragedy for the original inhabitants of North America. It was also a great loss to the natural ecology of the Great Plains.

Somehow, tiny “relict” herds survived. A few ranchers attempted restoration of the herds through private ventures in the late 1800s. Samuel Walking Coyote (Pen d’Oreille) started a small herd with seven orphaned calves he found west of the Rocky Mountain Divide. Another herd was formed from this initial group, and in the early 1900s, small herds were sent from this second herd to Canada’s Elk Island National Park, and the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma.

Left to graze in protected wilderness and park areas, the buffalo began to rebound. The Yellowstone Park Bison Herd formed naturally from a 23 bison that remained in the park after the massive slaughter at the end of the 19th century. This is the only continuously surviving herd in the Americas, and the largest at over 4,000 head. There are preservation efforts in many wilderness areas and National Parks, in part due to the beneficial effects of bison on regional ecology. Unlike domestic cattle, bison herds cultivate rather than deplete the native grasses through grazing.

Because of the close relationship between our national wilderness areas and the American bison, Pendleton commemorates this impressive land mammal as part of the Pendleton National Parks Collection. Our newest buffalo blanket, “Buffalo Wilderness” celebrates the resilience of a magnificent animal and its role in shaping the Great Plains.

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The Buffalo Wilderness design recalls a time when millions of buffalo roamed grassy plains from Oregon to the Great Lakes, from Canada to Mexico. Today our National Parks protect the wilderness, and the buffalo herds can roam free. One of the largest herds (more than 4,000) of free-ranging wild buffalo lives in and around Yellowstone National Park. It is thought to be the only place in the United States where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times. You can also see herds in Badlands, Grand Teton, Theodore Roosevelt and Wind Cave National Parks.

You can get more information on the blanket here. And remember, the purchase of items from our National Park Collection helps support the National Park Foundation. More information here.

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