Pendleton loves tartan so much that we’re throwing a party!
Pendleton loves tartan so much that we’re throwing a party!
As Veterans Day approaches, two Pendleton blankets deserve some special attention.
First, the Grateful Nation blanket honors the sacrifice of brave men and women who have defended freedom throughout the history of the United States of America.
Each colored stripe represents a service ribbon awarded to veterans of historical conflicts in which our country has engaged:
Sales of this blanket help support The Fisher House® Foundation, which provides residences near major military and VA medical centers for the families of ill or wounded service members. For several years, this blanket pattern was available as a vest. Pendleton was proud to present these vests to the living WWII veterans who were honored in Washington, DC.
Another blanket that honors a specific group of United States military veterans is The Code Talker blanket.
This design honors the crucial role played by Navajo servicemen in defending our country during World War II by developing a code that could not be cracked, based on the Navajo language.
The history of the code talkers is more riveting than any fiction. You can learn more at their official site, and at other sites that tell this fascinating story, which was told in the popular movie “Windtalkers”. This blanket was officially retired as of 2012, but the WWII Navajo Code Talkers are still alive and will be honored this Veterans Day.
They don’t have a Pendleton blanket, but the Choctaw Code Talkers of WWI will be honored along with the Navajo Code Talkers of WWII at Maxwell Air Force Base as part of November, the National American Indian Heritage Month.
And the Smithsonian will feature exhibits on the Code Talkers from both of the Great Wars. We have no word on whether or not the blanket will be included in this exhibit, but it has been featured in papers and exhibits about the Code Talkers since its introduction. That makes us happy, as these blankets have been woven in America with special pride.
We salute and thank those who fight for our country. The dedication and sacrifice of our military should be honored not just on Veterans Day, but every day.
Fannie Kay Bishop is beloved figure in the history of Pendleton Woolen Mills. She was daughter to Thomas Kay and wife to Charles P. Bishop, with whom she had three sons who would open the first official Pendleton Woolen Mills in Oregon. She was also a progressive thinker who gently chided her son Clarence in 1914, “…for your own happiness I would be glad if you had a loving, capable wife…a woman that would appreciate you and be your equal in every way.”
Fannie Kay was an immigrant who came to America, the land of opportunity, at a very young age. She was born on November 29, 1857, in Shipley, Yorkshire, England, the first of ten children born to Thomas and Ann Kay. She emigrated in 1860, after her father had found work in NJ and before he came west to found the family dynasty of Pendleton Woolen Mills. Fannie characterized herself as a “true tomboy” who spent her childhood climbing trees, stilt-walking, sledding and watching Union soldiers march and drill. Fannie also accompanied her father to the mill, watching him work and learning at his knee as he managed various mills across the country.
She came to work at the old Brownsville, Oregon, mill at age fifteen, after Thomas Kay was hired to resurrect it. She was passionately interested in wool processing and manufacture, questioning her father, observing operations and eavesdropping on her father’s conversations with the mill hands he invited to the family home. “I spent all my spare time in what to me was the fascinating pursuit of learning all about the woolen mill,” she said years later.
In 1874, she began keeping company with Charles P. Bishop, the son of her school’s principal. They married in 1876 and had their first son, Clarence, in 1878. He was followed by Royal in 1881 and Chauncey in 1882. With her guidance and encouragement, these young men opened Pendleton Woolen Mills in 1909.
The correspondence between Fannie Kay Bishop in her sons, preserved nearly in full in the Pendleton archives, is full of loving encouragement, sound advice, and practical business sense. In a letter dated September 10, 1910, she wrote, “The only thing needed for any success is confidence, harmony and patience with one another. Without that there is no use to struggle on as there can be nothing but ultimate failure.”
One of the more interesting aspects of Fannie Kay Bishop’s history was her political campaign for the state legislature sometime in the early 20th century. Although women were not allowed to vote in national elections until 1920, a few progressive states passed women’s suffrage earlier; Montana in 1914, Washington in 1910 and Oregon in 1912. Fannie Kay Bishop threw her hat in the ring with the following campaign position card:
We apologize for the hard to read text, but it is as follows:
I am respectfully submitting to you my candidacy for nomination as one of the four representatives from Marion County, feeling that I can render public service that you require. My long life in Marion County is an open book, on the pages of which I have endeavored to write achievements worthy of our County and State. Your attention is respectfully called to the pamphlet containing the statements of Republican candidates for details concerning my platform. I will faithfully endeavor, when elected, to voice the expressed desire of my constituents, to advocate legislation for a businesslike consolidation of administrative branches of the State government and for tax reduction, and will favor such measures as comment themselves as being for the public welfare.
FANNIE KAY BISHOP
Fannie Kay Bishop didn’t win office in Marion County, but she was a pioneer in many ways. As a truly modern woman, her passionate participation in the political process was balanced with her call for “confidence, harmony and patience.” She’s a proud part of the Pendleton legacy.
Enjoy a guest post from our friend Greg Hatten about his further adventures with canvas and wool as he takes his wooden boat down some of the most beautiful and challenging rivers of the west.
The wild and scenic section of the Rogue River in southwestern Oregon is a national treasure. It’s a 35 mile stretch of rough and tumble river filled with extreme white water challenges, breathtaking outdoor beauty, abundant wildlife, and in the month of October – it’s filled with laughter from my favorite river rats for a few days of camping, fishing, river running, and poking fun at each other.
It’s always a slightly different group of guys – not everyone can drop out of life and into a canyon for four days and be completely cut off from work and emails, cell phones and text messages. Though the group represents a mixed bag of professions – doctors, lawyers, realtors, builders, and businessmen, work is almost never a topic for discussion. We’ve run hundreds of river miles together and spent hours around a campfire but I can’t tell you the specifics about what they do for a living or the location of their offices. On a trip like this, what you do for each other on the river is more important than what you do for others to make a living… it’s just one of the many reasons I love this annual adventure.
Gear is often a subject of discussion and sometimes derision. If you’ve got the latest camp gadget (that actually works) or the newest line of clothes from Patagonia, you’re gonna have a good campfire. If you’ve got a leaky tent, if your scotch is second-rate, or your flies are not producing fish – you’re gonna hear about it.
This year, instead of a nylon tent & down sleeping bag, I slept in a “throw-back” canvas cowboy bedroll with just a Pendleton wool camp blanket to keep me warm. When rain threatened, I put up a light-weight canvas rain fly by David Ellis strung between two of my 9’ oars. The weather forecast was for daytime temps in the low 70’s and nights to get as low as 38 degree’s – Friday showed 50% chance of rain… the campfire forecast was a heat-wave headed my direction if the nights got too cold or the canvas rain fly didn’t hold up.
One of our most seasoned river runners is fond of saying “there is no such thing as bad weather… just bad equipment”. Fortunately, the weather was good and so was my canvas and wool “equipment”. Our night-time temps never dropped below 40 degrees and the little bit of rain we got each night was perfectly repelled by the canvas rain fly over my head. I stayed dry and warm every night!
Canvas and Wool go together like Wood Boats and White Water. The “throwback” approach to camping was a perfect fit for the Wild and Scenic section of the Rogue River and is the only way I’ll camp in the future. Around the campfire, canvas and wool was a “hit” and the only “heat” I caught was about the second-rate scotch I brought for this trip.
If you want to experience the authenticity of canvas and wool camping yourself, we can help.
In February of 2011, Celina Sanchez was on an Alaska Airlines sitting in what she calls “the back of the boat.” Celina works for Dr. Martens and was on her way to MAGIC, the Las Vegas tradeshow extravaganza. It’s a short flight from Portland to Vegas, but Celina had interesting seatmates: on one side sat a woman who worked for Tillamook , and on the other sat Peggy Denfeld, the Merchandising Manager for Pendleton Menswear.
With Doc Martens sandwiched between representatives of two iconic Oregonian brands, it was inevitable that at least two of them would leave that flight with ideas for collaboration. No plans were hatched for plaid cheddar or air-cushioned Colby Jack. Instead, Peggy and Celina decided to find a way to bring Pendleton and Doc Martens together.
“I’m a former footwear buyer, so I love Doc Martens,” said Peggy. “Everyone over here thought it would be a great fit.” Celina certainly didn’t have to convince anyone, either. “I was aware of the Pendleton meets Opening Ceremony collaborations, and my colleagues in London already loved Pendleton,” she said. “When my UK colleagues came over from our HQ in London, we set up a meeting.”
Since Fall 2011 was already underway for both lines, plans were made for Autumn/Winter 2012, and the boots are here, in Cherry Red or Black leather, with Pendleton’s Pagosa Springs wool.
The design is based on Dr. Martens’ original 1460 model, named for the date of its release: April 1, 1960. The collaboration includes a bag based on the Dr. Martens classic satchel, with slight adjustments made to maximize the beauty of the Pendleton pattern. Boots and bags are available at fine retailers throughout the U.S., and worldwide through Dr. Martens. In Portland, you can find them at the Dr. Martens store in the Pearl District and at the Pendleton Airport Store.
And to think it all started with a plane ride. “I really feel like it was synergy from the start,” said Peggy Denfeld. “We have a kinship in starting stories; workboots and workwear.” A look at the finished product, photographed at our Washougal mill, shows what great things can happen when a plan comes together.
Pendleton’s heritage stretches back to the earliest weaving endeavors of the Kay/Bishop family, which officially starts in 1863. This means we have a trove of archival textiles, garments and blankets to draw from.
This year you’ll see some Jazz Age inspiration in our Fall 12 Toboggan Coat.
This coat is based on examples from the 1920s we have hanging on the racks down in the archives. Here’s a peek of what that rack looks like:
In the early 1960s, a group called The Pendletones adopted their name in honor of the surf uniform of the day: Pendleton shirts worn over tee shirts with khakis. The original lineup included brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, their cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine.
The Pendletones soon changed their name to the Beach Boys . Even though only one member of the group had ever been on a surfboard, they sang about the California surfing scene; waves, sunshine, cars and girls. This might have been simple subject matter, but layered instrumentation and soaring harmonies made these songs anything but simple. Under the unique artistic leadership of Brian Wilson, the Beach Boys defined surf music. And though their name changed, their uniform didn’t. The band wore this blue and charcoal plaid shirt on the covers of 45s and LPs throughout the early 1960s.
We recently held a preview showcase for next year’s Pendleton Home line at the Ace Hotel in NYC. We hope you like what you see…new colors, throws based on historic weaves from our rich company history, and familiar favorites like the National Park Series blankets.
And of course, more spa towels, because everyone loves the spa towels!
Enjoy! We are definitely worth the trip.