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Posts from the ‘Made in the USA’ Category

For you: Dia de los Muertos and Sugar Skulls

Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is celebrated on October 31st and November 1st and 2nd.  In Mexico, celebrants build ofrendas, altars to the deceased, with photos, candles, and the favorite foods of those who have moved on. In Brazil, families visit churches, then visit cemeteries. In Spain, celebrants enjoy festivals and parades throughout certain neighborhoods. Wherever the holiday is observed, the spirits of the departed are welcomed back to this world with specific symbols; calaveras (sugar skulls), masses of stylized flowers, and dressed skeletons.

PWM Day_of_the_Dead_WEB

The roots of the holiday go back more than 3,000 years ago, to the age of the Aztecs and a ritual that celebrated the goddess Mictecacihuatl.  The skulls and flowers symbolized death and rebirth. In the 15th century, Spanish conquistadores were aghast at a ritual that seemed to mock death. In an attempt to make the ceremony more Christian, the Spaniards moved the event to All Saints’ Day, but the symbology remained, growing more fanciful and varied through the generations.

The central figure of our Day of the Dead blanket represents the colorful wooden skull masks or calacas that celebrants wear as they dance to honor their dead relatives. The wooden skulls, decorated sugar skulls and marigolds are placed at gravesites and altars for the departed. The blanket’s bright colors and festive images of flowers and mariachi musicians capture the spirit of the celebration. This blanket inspired a collaboration with GNU and Barrett Christie, which you can see and read about here: Women Who Shred 

PWM Diego_Bear_WEB

We have a related pattern called Sugar Skulls based on one of the elements in the Day of the Dead blanket. It’s used in fabric, an array of bags and Diego the bear. Our patterns capture the spirit of joyful welcome as celebrated by people all over the world during Dia de los Muertos.


A WoodenBoat Adventure: Crater Lake and the Rogue River with Greg Hatten


Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States, and its water is the darkest azure blue I have ever seen anywhere.” So begins Greg’s trip to experience the waterways (but not the lake) of Crater Lake National Park. After you read our post, with its own exclusive photos from Greg’s trip, be sure to read his detailed account (link below).


Greg’s adventures are on his blog here, and they started with a trip to the headwaters of one of his favorite rivers in the West, The Rogue. Mighty rivers start in high places, and the Rogue is no exception. As Greg explains, “The Rogue River gets its start in Crater Lake National Park.  It explodes out of Boundary Spring, then sprints down the valley in a race with the Umpqua River to reach the Pacific Ocean. I hiked the trail up the river toward the headwaters, where it’s so narrow you can jump from one side to the other.”

rogue headwaters

Greg’s trip was nearly a no-go, because he arrived at the launch to discover that a flipped boat hadobstructed the river. But the river took care of the obstruction. “It took the current less than a day to twist the frame and break the back of the metal boat, sending it to the bottom of the river. I couldn’t help but wonder what it would do to my little wooden boat in that spot if I made the slightest mistake.

IMG_0187Here’s a shot of Greg consulting his playbook (yes, he holds it with his feet while he rows). This book holds detailed, color-coded notes about the best way to row the Rogue. One of his notes is, “Never run at less than 1000 CFS.” Of course, this trip was taken at 950 CFS…


Greg and his mates carried on, witnessing a trainwreck at the Slim Picken’s rapid, where an ‘unflippable’ catamarn wiped out. Below, Greg investigates Slim Pickens in his woodenboat, where the fast river “caused problems for the group in front of us, stranding one raft on the rocks and flipping another upside down, ejecting passengers and gear into the fast moving water.”


Here’s a short video of Greg threading the needle at Slim Pickens. Not easy!

You can see another video of his run through Mule Creek, complete with sound effects, at Greg’s blog post.


But it wasn’t all a vicious struggle to make it downriver. Greg camped with our blankets and bedroll, and enjoyed his share of fishing, grilling and good conversation under the stars. After a day on the Rogue River, could there be a better place to lay your head than a Crater Lake National Park Blanket ?


it looks like Greg had some Pendleton Whisky to keep him warm, too.


This is your last Greg Hatten WoodenBoat adventure until January, so enjoy the thrills while you can. And start planning your own adventures for 2016, when our National Park Service celebrates a century of managing and preserving America’s Treasures. These are your parks. Go enjoy them!


Read Greg’s post here: Crater Lake

See Pendleton’s Crater Lake National Park blanket here: Crater Lake Blanket

See Pendleton’s National Park drinkware here: Mugs

See Pendleton’s elbow-patch Trail Shirts here: Trail Shirts

See Pendleton’s National Park bedrolls here: Roll-Up Blankets

See Pendleton’s National Park Towels here: Towels


Rose City ‘Til I Die: Oregon Team, Oregon Blanket, Oregon Pride!

Pendleton Woolen Mills is proud to honor the Portland Timbers with a limited-edition blanket. The edition of 1,975 reflects the Timbers’ beginnings in 1975 as part of the North American Soccer League. Now part of Major League Soccer, the Timbers are cheered on by the Timbers Army, a European-style rooting section that sets the standard for team support in the MLS.

timbers blanket by pendleton

The blanket’s designer, Laura Jost, used her bird’s eye view from the Timbers Army section as inspiration for a stylized representation of the beautiful game. The goalkeepers hang back as two teams converge on the heart of the Rose City, while flags wave, drums pound, colored smoke is released for each goal, and Timber Joey brandishes his chainsaw. Above it all, chant leaders lead the Timbers Army in their battle cry: Rose City ‘Til I Die.


This hometown blanket will be available for preorder through our Pendleton Home Store and on our site starting today, October 8th. The actual blankets will arrive in plenty of time to be wrapped for gift-giving.


This is your blanket for your team, with a design chosen by Timbers fans. A portion of sales will support Fields for All, a nonprofit alliance between the Timbers, Pendleton Woolen Mills and many more, devoted to creating safe, healthy playing surfaces for underserved communities. You can read about the unveiling of a field here: Fields for All Unveiling in Gresham, Oregon.

We asked Laura Jost, the blanket’s designer, to tell us a little about herself, and to describe her inspiration for this beautiful blanket.

Laura, can you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born in Portland and lived all over rural Oregon. My birthday is 9/18, usually very close to Pendleton Round-Up, so my cake usually had a frosting cowgirl or the like. I still love riding horses and the kids love that I am excellent at catching frogs. I moved back to Portland in 1995.

What drew you to the idea of designing a Pendleton blanket?

Pendleton is a brand that is very near to my heart. I drive past the mill and/or stop in every time I visit my parents. My mother instilled my love of Pendleton wools. I received my first blanket in grade school and I still have it: the Glacier National Park blanket. There is Pendleton wool in most rooms of my home; the kids each have a blanket, the throws and pillows in my living room, the blanket on our bed, our beach towels. They are works of art to me.

What’s your design background?

I don’t have a formal design background, but I was raised learning to sew, knit, and garden and I was always artistic: drawing, writing, painting, singing, dancing. I am technically a stay-at-home mom, though I don’t do much staying at home. I volunteer in various capacities at school, and I’m a freelance writer, regularly published in NW Kids Magazine. I love to work with fabric, customizing and sewing clothing for my family. I’m what most people call a jack-of-all-trades.

And now we come to the Portland Timbers. Tell us what the Timbers mean to you.

I have always been drawn to rooting for the “good guys” and that’s exactly what the Timbers feel like for me. The stadium experience just reinforces my love for the game. My husband teases me because I cheer for the players like I’m their mother. I love the camaraderie in the Army. I love the cheering to the very end, cheering even for the misses/good tries. I love the emotional high-fives and hugs when we score. I love watching the Timbers’ kids with their fathers out on the field at the end of the game. I love the celebration in it all. I love waking up the next morning a little hoarse. I just love it!

 When I saw the contest, I was at home sick for several days and did the preliminary layout and drawing to keep my mind busy while I was recovering. I wanted it to look like a Timbers match: the wild flags in the air, the sound of the drums, the colored goal smoke, the field, the players, the Army, the heart of the city and the love I have for Portland: even the little rosettes came to represent the chant leaders and Joey.

 When I looked at it, I saw a wild night of cheering on the home team at the top of your lungs, but it could never compare to innate beauty of a Pendleton, so my entry became just another paper on the counter. I almost didn’t send it in, but my son saw the drawing on the table just before the deadline and gasped, “Mommy, it’s so beautiful!” So, I had to send it in.

 I never thought in a million years I’d hear back from anyone! The fan voting was excruciating. I spent the last day hiding out with the kids as much as possible and when I saw the final numbers, I just couldn’t believe it. It’s still a little hard for me to believe. When I think about seeing a blanket in person, my stomach jumps!


Ours too, Laura, ours too.

Remember, order soon. We expect the edition to sell out quickly, so please don’t wait. Order here: Timbers Blanket


Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People

Tilikum_Crossing_Jan_2015_wiki_free use

September saw the opening of Portland’s Tilikum Crossing, the newest of Portland’s bridges. This one is special for a few reaasons. First, it’s a pedestrian/transit bridge that is only open to pedestrians, the MAX light rail line, buses, bicycles and emergency vehicles. Second, it is named in honor of the people who inhabited this area long before the Jacksons, Hawthornes and Morrisons. Tilikum is a Chinook jargon word that means “people, tribe or family.” It was chosen to honor the Multnomah, Cascade, Clackamas, and other Chinookan peoples who have been here as long as 14,000 years ago.

The name was chosen through an initial round of popular vote, with the final name being chosen by a Trimet committee. The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde were part of the bridge’s dedication, and donated artwork by Chinook artist Greg A. Robinson. The three pieces are collectively titled, “We Have Always Lived Here.”

Two basalt pillars stand at the east and west ends of the bridge. The bronze medallion, five feet in diameter, hangs at the eastern side of the bridge, facing north.  According to the tribe. “The basalt carvings depict Tayi, or headmen, with their people, and the medallion shows Morning Star and her children in the center, which is a reference to the heavens, and Coyote and the first humans on the outer ring, referencing the Earth.”

As part of the opening ceremony for the bridge, The Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde commissioned a limited edition blanket from Pendleton Woolen Mills, incorporating the stunning artwork by Mr. Robinson.


Each blanket bore this special patch.


As we understand it, most of the commemorative blankets were given as gifts, and a small amount were sold on Tilikum Crossing’s opening day. We are so honored to have been asked to participate in this event.  Below, enjoy some shots from the bridge’s dedication, including those of the artist being wrapped in another Grand Ronde blanket, and some beautiful closeups of his work. Photos courtesy of Trimet.

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Greg Hatten’s Woodenboat Adventures: Rainier National Park’s Waterways

As we’ve mentioned before on this blog, 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. For this trip, he invited along Seth Patterson, an avid sportsman and photographer who happens to work at Pendleton.


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, 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. Greg’s 2014 recreation of this journey is part of his larger commitment to our National Parks.

But this trip to Rainier National Park did not involve the Portola, as Greg explains his his blog post:

This park is special to me. I’ve admired it from a distance and experienced it up close.  I’ve hiked the trails, skied the slopes, climbed the mountain, slept up at cold Camp Muir, and enjoyed the cozy warmth of Paradise Lodge.  As familiar as I am with Rainier, I’ve never explored the waterways. Since it’s impossible to put a handcrafted wood drift boat into the trickling streams of the park in the early stages of their life cycles, I did my initial exploring by boot instead of by boat.

I picked the Cowlitz for my river experience. It’s the largest river of the six and named for the Native American Indian tribe that still calls this area “home.” I hiked up the path to the glacier that gives it life and then, just outside the park boundary, I fished it – with a favorite fly-fishing friend on his favorite stretch of that river.


There was a time when Rick LeBlanc and I chased steelhead all over the Pacific Northwest – once even riding a historic old canyon train in the very Northeast corner of Oregon to catch wild winter steelhead as we struggled to keep the eyes of our fly rods from icing shut. Rick is a fisherman’s fisherman. Though it had been years since we were together on a river we wasted no time in picking up exactly where we left off – a brothers’ bond of rivers, fish, flimsy rods and fancy flies. 


Yes, that’s our blanket under that fancy flyGreg’s Parks t-shirt is here and his Ranger Plaid Trail Shirt is here.


And wouldn’t your camp coffee taste great from this mug?

You can read the rest of Greg’s post at his Woodenboat Adventure blog. It’s a thrilling ride with a satisfying conclusion, and wonderful photography of its own. We had so many terrific shots to choose from that we decided not to duplicate. Over at his blog, you can click on Greg’s photos to see the larger versions of each photo. It’s the next best thing to having your own fly fishing adventure in Rainier National Park.


We’re looking forward to Greg’s next trip! Who knows where these wooden boats will take us?


Read the full post: Greg Hatten at Rainier National Park

See Pendleton’s Rainier National Park gear: Rainier National Park

Photography: Many thanks to the mighty Seth Patterson


Star Wars and Pendleton Blankets Unveiled for Force Friday

It was a wild party last night, as this shot from our friend Carrie shows.

10603789_10203657373675476_4087456737516796336_nOne of the highlights was the showing of our unveiling video. Give it a watch!

The unveiling that mattered was the blankets, of course. These works of art were designed by Derek Roberts, the gifted artist behind our incredibly popular NIKE N7 blanket. He’s a lifelong fan of Star Wars, and NIKE was kind enough to allow us to work with him on a project near and dear to his heart.

Here are the details. 1977 is a year that forever changed our perception of space, adventure and heroism. In commemoration, Pendleton has woven each blanket in a limited edition, hand-numbered series of 1,977. Each design is available as a single blanket, or as part of a matched-number set of four for the ultimate Star Wars collector.


A New Hope

Inspired by the iconic Star Wars poster. Luke Skywalker begins a journey that will change the galaxy, along with Han Solo, Princess Leia, and Darth Vader.


The Empire Strikes Back

Darth Vader and the storm troopers have regrouped after the destruction of the Death Star, with Darth Vader leading the hunt for Luke Skywalker.

3Return of the Jedi

Powering into light speed, Luke Skywalker heads a mission to rescue Han Solo from the clutches of Jabba the Hutt, and face Darth Vader one last time.

4The Force Awakens

If you dare, gaze upon a new Star Wars character from the dark side, with exclusive imagery from the newest chapter in the Star Wars saga.

All4The Ultimate Collector’s Set

Purchase a matched-number set of all four blankets. Available only through preorder and for a limited time.

You should preorder soon, as sets and singles are selling briskly for #ForceFriday. Single blankets will deliver 11/25/2015. Matched sets for the Ultimate Star Wars collector will deliver 10/31/2015.

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 cause 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.


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. But these have re-emerged through his art, becoming the basis for his inspired work.

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.

image courtesy of the Blart Museum

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.

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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Romance in the Wild and the “Love Me” Blanket


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.


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.


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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