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Neil Young Performs in Boston before Pendleton Blankets

These shots came to our attention a little after the fact.

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The blankets, from left to right, are Arrowhead, Compass Stripe and North Star.

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We’ve known Neil Young loved our shirts for a long time. We are honored to be used in a set that transported Neil’s rustic California vibe to the stage of the Wang Theater in Boston.

 

 

 

 

The Original Westerley: Dude, it’s finally back.

ColoradoManager&signYou may know it as The Dude’s cardigan or the Big Lebowski sweater, but we debuted the Westerley cardigan in 1974 as part of our High Grade Westernwear line.

Original History

The Westerley drew inspiration from beautiful Cowichan sweaters that are hand-knit by Pacific Northwest tribes. Our version was machine-knitted by Winona Knitting Mills of Minnesota, a two-facility company owned by the Woodworth family. Winona Mills was one of the very few USA knitting mills who offered a 2gg knit, a term meaning only two knit stitches per inch. A 2gg sweater is heavy enough to work as outerwear. As the long-time leader of our menswear division expressed it, “You could wear it in a monsoon, and you’d stay warm.”

The vintage Westerley was knit in 3gg, and it was almost as impressive as the 2gg for thickness and warmth. The Westerley was one cozy sweater. We offered it in the western, outdoor and casual lines for over ten years. Over its run of production, the zip front, ring zipper pull and shawl collar stayed the same, as did the Greek key-inspired pattern. Archival visits show that the Westerley’s color variations are surprisingly wide.

The sweater went out of production in the 1980s, but found the limelight in the early 2000s, thanks to an obscure movie that didn’t stay obscure.

The Big Lebowski

This Coen brothers film was released to low to middling success in 1998, but quietly grew into a cult favorite. No one can pinpoint the exact reason why. Was it Donny’s clueless questions? Walter’s chin-strap beard? The German nihilists? The dream sequence scored by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition?

Well, it was probably a grand confluence of all of these important factors, plus the masterful turn taken by Jeff Bridges as The Dude. He staggers in and out of trouble, wearing alternately sweats, shorts, pajama pants, a bathrobe, a purple t-shirt and a battered Westerley cardigan.

Jeff Bridges wore his own clothes for this role, and though there were two sweaters hand-knitted as back-ups, he preferred wearing his personal Pendleton Westerley.

“The Big Lebowski” continues to grow as a cultural phenomenon. It’s not a movie anymore, it’s a lifestyle. Its fans, the Achievers, have conventions and their own documentary. And as the movie’s audience has grown, so has the demand for a re-creation of The Dude’s sweater.

The First Revivals

Pendleton’s first run at reproducing the “Big Lebowski sweater” came in the Fall of 2011. The Dude Cardigan was not an exact replica. It had the weight and coloration of the original Westerley, with a slightly different knit pattern and a leather zipper pull. This homage sweater generated an enormous amount of publicity, especially because the sweater worn by Jeff Bridges in the movie was going to auction that same year. The provenance of the auction sweater came into question and it was withdrawn from auction. Pendleton’s version sold out almost immediately.

New Dude

In Fall 2013, we brought back the sweater in the original 3gg knit under the Westerley name. We went to the archives, and settled on two versions: a cream with red and black pattern, and a desert brown version with navy and gold pattern.

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We offered the Westerley in another archival coloration in charcoal and blue early in the fall of 2014.  These were all great Westerleys. They were archivally accurate, beautifully made and selling well to fans of traditional menswear. We stand behind these Westerleys!

But this was not the sweater the Achievers wanted, and the Achievers would not be denied.

The Original Westerley

Well, it’s here. We have researched the archives and studied the movie to capture the coloration as best we can for our newest version, known as The Original Westerley.

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This is 100% lambswool in 3gg knit, and it’s ready to take you through your next monsoon, or maybe to your next Lebowskifest. We’ve even restored the ring zipper pull, to which we’ve attached a small bowling pin keychain. We think it really pulls the sweater together.

The Dude abides. And so does his sweater. Come see us in our stores (see Ben, the manager of our Colorado store, above), or order online before they’re gone.

 

Happy Halloween from Pendleton and Voodoo Doughnuts!

Editor’s note: Today’s blog post is brought to you by guest blogger Mark Poltorak, who manages the Pendleton employee store. Enjoy it!

Everyone who works at Pendleton’s corporate office has smelled it; that delicious odor of deep-fried donut batter as we leave the building and walk toward Burnside.

A line of patient patrons congests the sidewalks for what seems like 24 hours a day.  We see the iconic pink boxes all over town, in the airport and on TV.

Established in 2003, Voodoo Doughnuts has become an iconic, must-see/eat in the “Keep Portland Weird” tourist scene.  Now, Voodoo has asked Pendleton to create a Voodoo Doughnut blanket that will keep you as warm as those fresh out-of-the-fryer sugary treats.

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The blanket features a detailed display of Voodoo icons.  In the center, emerging from the center of the blanket (and a doughnut, of course), we are greeted by none other than Baron Samedi.  Baron Samedi waits at the crossroads between the worlds of the living and the deceased.  He is armed with a shovel and eager to dig the graves and greet the souls of the newly departed.  It is rumored that Baron Samedi can be brought to a swoon with treats (such as doughnuts!).

A comforting sight to balance the grim aura of Baron is the impressive spread of Voodoo’s bread and butter: the doughnuts! Fans of Voodoo will find all their bizarre but delicious favorites: the McMinnville Cream, Neapolitan, Diablos Rex, Sprinkle, Bacon Maple Bar, Portland Cream and Triple Chocolate.

Of course, the blanket wouldn’t be complete without a representation of the most iconic Voodoo doughnut of all! The Voodoo Doll doughnut is featured multiple times.

Long after Baron has claimed us all for his own keeping, this eerie blanket will keep you warm.  Be on the lookout for one at the Voodoo Doughnut site. And remember, “The Magic is in the Hole.”

Thomas Kay is a Man of the World

We’re fans of the stirring photography of the Thomas Kay line for men (from Pendleton Woolen Mills) in the Fall quarterly issue of Man of the World.

“Half Wild” features our Thomas Kay folding campstool, made for us by the artisans of Wood & Faulk.

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Yes, we know, it’s so artfully packed over there on the right side that you almost can’t see it, but we like the shot anyway. There’s nothing quite like camping with wool.

“The Big Sky State” captures Montana style with our Thomas Kay Oliver shirt in Macrae Ancient Dress Tartan.

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A pickup truck, a good dog and a Pendleton wool shirt. What more could you ask for? Besides that awesome tractor. These are great Big Sky shots from a beautiful publication. Pick up your copy and marvel.

You can check out the rest of the Thomas Kay line here.

 

Curtis Kulig and Pendleton: the ‘Hermann’ Love Me Blanket

Curtis Kulig has left his signature mark all over the world. He’s achieved star status in the art scene, yet remains “SoHo’s most unexpected nice guy,” according to the New York Times. What else could you expect from a Midwesterner who has made his way in New York City based on one ubiquitous phrase:

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We are pleased to offer Curtis Kulig’s collaborative blanket with Pendleton Woolen Mills. Kulig brings his two-word manifesto to life in black and cream. Titled ‘Hermann,’ the design takes its inspiration from famed psychologist Hermann Rorschach to offer what Kulig calls “a bit of Love therapy.”

The title is spot-on, as Kulig’s art relies on the response of the beholder. “love me” might be two simple words, but the response is always complicated. Is it a request, a demand, a plea? Is it made in the spirit of humility, desperation or celebration?

Rorschach, indeed.

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Said Kulig, “My dear friend Lindsey Thornburg asked me if I’d like to work with Pendleton and that’s what started the conversation. They are an amazing brand, truly American, and the craftsmanship that goes into every piece is incredible. I’m really honored to design a one of a kind blanket for them.”

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The Curtis Kulig “Love Me” Hermann Blanket is produced in Pendleton’s original mill in Pendleton, Oregon. A patch and certificate authenticate the blanket as part of a very limited series. It’s tied with ribbon that bears Curtis Kulig’s signature mark:

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This combines for a meaningful presentation, which is currently available at pendleton-usa.com.

In Other Style News: Blake Lively in Lindsey Thornburg x Pendleton Cape

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Yes, that’s the beautiful Blake Lively in a Lindsey Thornburg cloak! Our Tamiami Trail blanket makes a beautiful outerwear piece.

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Blake Lively, fashion icon, offered this cloak on her Preserve.us website, but it appears to be sold out. Check Lindsey’s website! And be sure to read about Lindsey Thornburg’s inspirations on our blog. Her beautiful cloaks are dramatic innovations on the tradition of blanket coats that stretches back to medieval times in Europe. And centuries ago in the Americas, Native weavers made outerwear of their blankets, and adapted the styles to manufactured Trade blankets when they were introduced in the late 1800s. We have to tell you this stuff because we’re Pendleton, and we go back a ways with blankets.

But enough history lessons. For now, just enjoy a few more pictures of a beautiful woman in a beautiful cloak.

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Jennifer Garner, InStyle in Pendleton Blankets

We’re excited about this InStyle shoot with Jennifer Garner, using fall colors in a coastal glamping setting.

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On the bike you can see the fall blanket for The Portland Collection. Under Jennifer in the close-up, you can see the Charbonneau blanket, with its beautiful indigo ground.

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Above, in the tent, the Charbonneau blanket makes another appearance.

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Here’s the legend behind this one:

This beautiful blanket, woven in our American mills, is named after Jean Baptiste Charbonneau. Jean Baptiste was the son of Shoshone guide Sacagawea and French Canadian trapper Toussaint Charbonneau. As the youngest member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition—and quite possibly the most important—he unwittingly protected it from attacks. Because women and infants were never included in war parties, Native Americans assumed the expedition was on a peaceful mission and let it pass without harm. After spending his childhood in St. Louis under the care of expedition leader Captain William Clark, Jean Baptiste lived in Europe until the lure of the American West called him home. A master of four languages, he spent nearly four decades roaming the far West as an interpreter, guide, magistrate, mountain man and gold prospector. The blanket’s traditional Native American-inspired graphics honor Charbonneau’s Shoshone heritage. (Source: pendleton-usa.com)

Jennifer is everyone’s hero right now for her remarks on the Ellen show about her “baby bump.” What a good-natured celebrity response to the pressures of tabloid culture. And, what a beautiful shoot.

 

Luke Haynes, Fine Arts Quilter, Will Reveal New Work at the Woolen Mill Store

We are excited to invite you to the unveiling of a new quilt created just for us by Luke Haynes. Luke is an artist, and his medium is fabric.

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To quote his bio:

­I am an architect turned Quilter. I come from a strong art and design background that informs my quilt work in a different way than is generally associated with quilting. I make quilts to discuss utility in aesthetics and because I like the tactile craft of constructing works out of fabric.

 

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I am interested in the choices we make to express ourselves to our world. We create an environment around ourselves to inform others how we desire to be perceived. By quilting I am initiating a dialogue between the immediate environments we create for ourselves, and the environments we inhabit.

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Where cloth, what we know to respond to as clothes, linens, drapes and all kinds of covers becomes the language of my work. The cloth becomes the medium that I use to create images and scenes rather than conceal and contain.

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Luke’s works hang in galleries around the world, and he’s been commissioned by private collectors the world over. He’s created something magnificent and astonishing for us. How did this happen, you might ask? Mary and Tawnya, manager and assistant manager of the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store, told us the story in e-mail.

Luke Haynes was introduced to us by Michelle Freedman from Modern Domestic Quilt Shop and Susan Beal. Luke visited our store in the spring and asked if we would be interested in a quilt collaboration. We viewed Luke’s website and spoke with Michelle Freedman. We were amazed by his work and agreed. Luke picked out jacquards with a special project in mind. He was also very interested in our plaid fabric which has been made into an amazing suit he will wear during his quilt reveal!

We can’t show you the quilt, but here’s a view of the suit:

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We are hosting a special event for this, where everyone can learn about quilting with wool, meet Luke in person (he’s delightful) and share the thrill of the reveal. Our quilt is dizzying and beautiful in photos, and we will be thrilled to have it hanging on permanent display in our store.

Yes, we are just a little excited, can you tell? So please join us!

What: Quilt Reveal with Luke Haynes

When: Thursday, October 30th from 1 PM to 7 PM, with reveal at approximately 1:30 PM

Where: The Woolen Mill Store

 

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Pendleton Signature Coats. Oh. My. Gosh.

Pendleton Signature Coats are available now at pendleton-usa, and you’re going to love them.

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These stunning coats are an expanded outerwear offering in Pendleton’s classic women’s line. Traditional silhouettes have been reinterpreted with exceptional styling and craftsmanship.

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PeaCoatThe function of each coat is as important as the fashion. Materials are a range of weather-repellent tech fabrics and pure Pendleton wool, including our signature Native American-inspired jacquard-woven blanket fabric.

HardingWrapDuffels, trenches, parkas and more mean that we have a coat for every lifestyle.

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Plaid-woolEach style has unique details that include top-stitching, piecing, signature buttons, fur trims, quilting, pockets, even shoulder rain capes to secure and cover bag straps.

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Pendleton has a long history as lifestyle brand, and outerwear has always been a strong category. Since the 1940s, we’ve made coats so durable and beautiful that some are still worn today.

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Our Pendleton Signature Coats live up to our highest standards with the authenticity you expect.

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These are just some of the styles available.  Go see’em!

 

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West Coast Crafty’s Susan Beal is coming to the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store!

This Saturday, October 11th, we will be welcoming Portland author Susan Beal to the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store in Milwaukie, Oregon for a book signing. We are celebrating the release of her Pendleton wool crafts project book, Hand-Stitched Home.

 

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Susan is the author of seven books, including Hand-Stitched Home, Modern Log Cabin Quilting, Sewing for all Seasons, Bead Simple, and Button It Up. She teaches sewing and quilting for Creativebug, CreativeLIVE, and (surprise!) the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store. She’s also the historian for the Portland Modern Quilt Guild, a contributing editor at Stitch magazine, and the mother of two little children, Pearl and Everett. See more of Susan’s work, sewing and quilts on her blog, westcoastcrafty.com. Order a signed copy of the book through Powell’s, or visit or call our Woolen Mill Store to order a copy over the phone.

 

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Hi Susan! When did you start crafting, and what were your first projects?

I loved making yarn dolls when I was little, using lots of fabric scraps and lace to hand-sew clothes for them. I started making jewelry in high school, then learned silversmithing and casting after college. But when I was 25 my best friend from high school came to visit me here in Portland and taught me how to sew on a 1960s thrift-store Singer and it was like I suddenly had a new superpower.

I could alter a vintage dress, sew a skirt, or make pillows and curtains for my apartment ten times faster than hand-sewing… it was just thrilling. I made my first patchwork project, a super-simple log cabin block I turned into a pillow cover, eight years ago, and quilting has become a huge part of my life. I find it endlessly inspiring to put fabrics together and see what they become.

 

What was your first exposure to Pendleton wool? What was the first project you made with Pendleton wool?

I’ve always loved vintage Pendleton coats and womenswear, and dreamed about buying a blanket one day. My husband surprised me with the Oregon sesquicentennial blanket for my birthday in 2009 – the beautiful design with Mt. Hood reflected in the lake. I was writing Modern Log Cabin Quilting and thought, wow, I would love to make a quilt for the book in Pendleton wool. I went to the Woolen Mill Store and bought a big piece of sage green Harding and a couple of yards of a beautiful 49er plaid and mixed them into six simple oversized log cabin blocks, then sashed the whole thing with a graphic, understated striped jacquard.

I loved working with the wools, the different fabric colors, patterns, weights, and weaves blended together beautifully, and I realized how much magic and polish top-stitching adds to wool patchwork. Six more wool quilts (including the two I made for Hand-Stitched Home) and a whole Christmas list’s worth of blankets later, my most recent Pendleton sewing project was making myself my favorite version yet of Amy Butler’s Barcelona skirt, in the Beach Boys Surf plaid, just in time to wear it to my Powell’s event last week.

 

And you wore it down to meet with us at Pendleton last week! We loved the skirt, your Star Wars slip-ons, and getting a peek at your crafting journal.

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How long have you been involved in the Portland craft scene? How has it changed?

I moved to Portland in 1997 to go to jewelry-making school and just loved it here, it felt like coming home. I met so many creative people doing cool things, but it was such a small, tight-knit community – there were only a few shops carrying handmade work, and collaborating or teaming up with friends to organize fashion shows or sublet studio space was a way of life. You saw the same people at the fabric store in the afternoon and then out at night, so new ideas just came to life after a couple of good conversations! My friends Kate Towers and Holly Stalder opened their shop, Seaplane, on Belmont and I brought in some of my skirts, handbags and jewelry on consignment. I got home a few hours later to the best message from Holly that someone had tried on one of my skirts and loved it so she bought it, and wore it out of the store! That was the best feeling ever.

I started selling my work at little neighborhood craft fairs with friends like Cathy Zwicker and Torie Nguyen, who now own the beautiful Crafty Wonderland  flagship store downtown – and put on a huge event with hundreds of vendors and thousands of shoppers twice a year. It’s just kind of amazing to see how much the whole community has grown, and how much support there is from other craft artists, shops, and customers, whether you are just getting started or have been doing this for years.

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Who are some crafters you love, and why?

-Rebecca Pearcy’s Queen Bee bags and hand-designed textile line – her work is beautiful.

-Cathy Zwicker  and Torie Nguyen ,who co-own Crafty Wonderland, both make gorgeous jewelry and accessories.

-My Portland Modern Quilt Guild  friends like Michelle Freedman, Petra Anderson, and Monica Solorio-Snow  are so inspiring – their quilts, fabric design, and visual work are all lovely.

-Heather Davidson of PMQG and her husband Chris own a fantastic vintage furniture business, Remnant, and she does stellar upholstery using Pendleton fabric, too. I’m lucky to own a beautiful mid-century chair she redid in Rancho Arroyo in black!

 

What’s next for Susan Beal?

After the Woolen Mill Store party, I’m going to Quilt Market and very excited to do a couple of events there with my publisher for Hand-Stitched Home! Then I’m teaching both log cabin and wool quilting at the Menucha Retreat Center in the Columbia River Gorge, and speaking at Quiltcon in Austin, Texas, early next year, and I’m working on projects for a new craft book for 2016.

On a personal note, I also have some serious Halloween sewing to do – my daughter Pearl requested a cowgirl costume and my son, Everett, really wants to be Emmet (from the LEGO Movie), so I need to get on that before my daughter changes her mind for the third time! This is her sixth Halloween and I’ve learned that the trick is catching her in between costume ideas #2 and #3.

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 Susan is so much fun in person. We hope you’ll enjoy meeting her this Saturday, October 11th, and the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store. She’ll be hanging out there from 1 to 5 PM, and she’d love to chat and sign your books. You can see the crafts projects like those above, plus more, in person!

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