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Posts from the ‘history’ Category

Patriotic Blankets for July 4th

We have woven many blankets that celebrate American patriotism over the years, from the Grateful Nation and Code Talker blankets that celebrate the contributions of our veterans, to retired blankets like Chief Eagle and Home of the Brave.

Here are two beautiful blankets that summon the patriotic spirit of this Independence Day.

Dawn’s Early Light:

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“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.

Brave Star:

Brave_StarThis contemporary interpretation of the American flag is a celebration of 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.

Have a great Fourth!

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Mad for Mad Men

As much as we dislike half seasons, the decision to spread Mad Men’s last episodes over two years puts off the inevitable, painful farewell to a fascinating show.

We’ve seen Pendleton on Mad Men’s men, in robes and Topsters. Peggy disguised her pregnancy under the waistband of an ever-higher Pendleton reversible skirt–or Turnabout as it was called back then.

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The early seasons captured an iconically Pendleton look. The characters seemed to step right out of a Ted Rand illustration.

 

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Time has passed in the world of Mad Men, and the characters are wearing miniskirts and bell bottoms. As always, the costumes are pitch-perfect.  And, as always, we will be watching–for just as long as we can.

 

 

“The Pendleton” featuring Luke Ditella for PONYBOY

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We’re just a little bit crazy for these images shot by PO­­­NYBOY featuring Luke Ditella in vintage Pendleton wool shirts. Luke is a surfer (read about him at The Surfer’s View ) who works with Click Models NY.

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As the magazine says, “We were pleased to feature Luke, and his rugged good-looks worked so well for this story.” He models an array of classic Pendleton plaids from tartan to exploded to ombre to check to glen to windowpane, shown tucked into high-waisted vintage wool dress slacks.

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And, he wears a solid wool shirt reminiscent of the Tony shirt we have at pendleton-usa.com this spring.

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Based on the plaids and lengths of the collar points, we see shirts from nearly every decade we’ve been making wool shirts in our nine decades of quality shirtmaking. Check out our Instagrams tagged #pendleton9decades to see some of the recreated shirts we’re doing this fall to celebrate. And you can follow Luke’s Instagram at LUKEDITELLA.

See the full Ponyboy feature here with many more shirts.

 

Serapes for Spring

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Ah, the serape. Just looking at it makes you happy. This blanket reads modern, but it has been around a long time.

The serape’s roots are in the Mexican weaving tradition, but it is now common to both Spanish and Native American textiles. Here’s a photo of a Native family in a historic Babbitt Brothers wagon with a serape peeking over the edge. This was taken in the Southwest, where the Babbitts plied (and still ply) their trade.

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Colorful, sturdy and functional, this blanket shawl was part of life in the traditional Mexican home. It could serve as clothing, bedding and shelter!

The serape is known by many names throughout Mexico, including chamarro, cobiga, and gaban. It can be woven of a variety of materials and patterns but is generally lighter in weight. Different regions use different palettes, from the elegant neutrals of the Mexican highlands to the bold gradients of Coahuila.

Pendleton’s serapes are woven of 82% wool/18% cotton in bands of gradient colors to achieve that beautiful eye-popping dimensional effect. This is your perfect spring and summer blanket, just waiting to be invited along wherever you go.

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All made in the USA and available at www.pendleton-usa.com .

Buffalo Exchange

A brand builds a base in many ways. Pendleton has been around long enough that we have fans who’ve been shopping with us since the second World War. We also have generations of brand fans who have come to us through vintage shopping.

That’s why were were especially excited to be featured in the in-store publication of Buffalo Exchange.

WEB_coversThey have a nice write-up about our brand history, with photos featuring apparel from our mens, womens and The Portland Collection, as well as some of our blankets.

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And, they have an accurate shirt label guide on the last page.

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We’d like to point out that the “2000s” example is from The Portland Collection. On Menswear, the label you’ll see is more like this one:

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Thanks, Buffalo Exchange! If you are a vintage shopper, please check them out.

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Visit Pendleton’s Past in Downtown Portland

Through February 28th, Pendleton’s history is on display at the Oregon Historical Society. This beautiful building on Portland’s South Park Blocks is very near Portland State University and the Portland Art Museum. Sounds like a great day downtown, doesn’t it?

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The exhibit is a fun way to learn just how Pendleton is woven into Oregon’s history. The desk on display was an old oak roll-top from our corporate headquarters. It was reserved for use by the mill manager when he made his way to Portland from Washougal. Our current manager may have opened a laptop on it a time or two, but times have changed and the desk sat unused for decades.

As we approached the 150th anniversary of the opening of Thomas Kay’s mill, our visual manager, Shelley Prael, decided to incorporate the desk into a display at a sales meeting. When she opened the drawers, she found them full of items belonging to Thomas Kay’s nephew, C.P. Bishop, who used the desk in the old Bishop’s store in Salem.

Numerous treasures, including his college yearbooks, journal and eyeglasses, were accessioned into our archives. But don’t worry, some are on loan to the exhibit, along with other artifacts and a timeline that takes you from 1863 to the present.

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More information here.

1932 Olympic Blankets

Ah, Olympic fever. Despite mixed reactions to the USA uniforms (thanks to Lizzie for this post) and some alarming tweets from the press about the hotels, we’re still excited for the official opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Most fans have been watching the skating and snowboarding, enjoying the games in advance of the opening ceremonies.

Of course, Pendleton has an Olympic connection. In 1932, we won the commission to provide blankets to the Olympics. Here is a photo of the blankets leaving on a train for Los Angeles.

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There are several known colorways for these blankets. In our archives, we have only one, with a very warm color scheme. There are also a light blue and a brights-on-white patterns out there, but we haven’t been able to track down examples. There might even be more. Here is our archival blanket.

WEB_1932 Olympic blanketHere is a close-up of the label.

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That’s a VERY CLOSE close up, isn’t it? Even so, the label is worn enough that you might want the label’s text:

Genuine
OLYMPIAD BLANKET
100% Virgin Wool
1932
PENDLETON WOOLEN MILLS
PORTLAND, OREGON U.S.A.

Olympic fever is nothing new, and Pendleton traded on it with themed displays.

1932_Olympic_Display1In the displays, mannequins wear tasteful blanket coats that look modern. We are not sure if those were sewn and offered for sale by Pendleton, or sewn just for display to encourage consumers to get creative with the blankets. Pendleton did manufacture labeled blanket coats for women over the years, but our first women’s sportswear line debuted in 1949 with our 49’er jacket as the centerpiece.

1932_Olympic_Display2And yes, at $7.95, you can’t beat that price.

It has been a winter of winters here in the US, so as you sit back and enjoy the competition this year, we hope you stay warm. And if you have an example of the other colors of the Pendleton blankets, drop us a line! We would love some color photos.

Children and the Mills

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We are haunted by this beautiful shot of a young girl in the North Carolina mill where she worked. It was taken by Lewis Hines, who took over 5,000 photos of children while working for the National Child Labor Committee in the early 1900s. This photo is part of a feature in the Charlotte Observer about the efforts to identify unnamed subjects of those photos.

Child labor was part of life in early textile mills. Our own founder, Thomas Kay, got his start in Yorkshire mills as a bobbin boy in the 1840s. According to Wikipedia, “A bobbin boy was a boy who worked in a textile mill in the 18th and early 19th centuries. He would bring bobbins to the women at the looms when they called for them, and collected the full bobbins of spun cotton or wool thread. They also would be expected to fix minor problems with the machines. Average pay was about $1.00 a week, with days often beginning at 5:30 am and ending around 7:30 pm six days a week.”

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The boy above is Tony Soccha, a bobbin boy in the Chicopee, Massachusetts mill. And if you would like to know who the pensive little girl is in the photo above,  you can read the full story here.

Portland’s Pittock Mansion

Portland’s beautiful Pittock Mansion is open for holiday tours, and as usual, Pendleton products help adorn it. Henry Pittock’s bedroom is done in a northwest theme with the Chief Joseph blanket in sage on the bed.

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The Pittock Mansion is a piece of Portland’s history. Guest can tour the grounds and enjoy panoramic views in every direction. So come take a tour! Details here.

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Three Corn Maidens

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The Three Corn Maidens blanket is part of our series for the American Indian College Fund. The Three Corn Maidens design tells the story of the Pueblo people’s belief that just as the sun gives life to the corn, the Corn Maidens bring the power of life to the people. The blanket was designed by Isleta Pueblo artist Mary Beth Jiron as a celebration of her acceptance into the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Jiron attributes the concept to visions she had and the desire to tell a story from her own culture in which corn is the staff of life and often the center of ceremony. Three Corn Maidens is the second design in the American Indian College Fund’s series of student-designed blankets. The Three Corn Maidens design won first place in the student blanket contest.

If you’d like to support that AICF through a blanket, you can see all the designs here. Since 1995, Pendleton Woolen Mill’s support of the American Indian College Fund (the Fund) has helped more than 400 students pursue their dreams of obtaining a college degree through the Pendleton Woolen Mills Tribal College Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to American Indian students attending tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) in Washington and Montana, and the Pendleton Endowment Tribal Scholars Program, which provides scholarships in perpetuity to Native students attending TCUs throughout the United States.

“We are always inspired by the individual stories of struggle and triumph of the students who receive the scholarships,” said Robert Christnacht, Pendleton Home Division Manager. “Pendleton is honored to be able to contribute to the long-term growth of the tribal college system through the American Indian College Fund.”

 

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