At the gateway to the Columbia River is Pendleton’s Washougal Mill. Buildings both old and new are shaded by a silver oak, standing when Lewis & Clark made their journey west. Please enjoy our anniversary celebration, with generations of mill workers, Pendleton’s founding family, and city and tribal dignitaries.
Posts from the ‘Made in the USA’ Category
We’re pleased to announce the opening of our first store at the Portland International Airport. This location will showcase Pendleton’s heritage for travelers from all over the country and the world. Doors will open on Saturday, August 4th, with a grand opening celebration planned for Thursday, Aug. 9th at 10 a.m.
The new store’s expresses Pendleton’s ‘green’ sensibilities. Upcycled fixtures and shelving made from reclaimed barn wood work alongside gears salvaged from our mill. Various vintage carts, wagons and display pieces add to the aura of industrial heritage. “We took an Industrial Chic approach to the design,” says Robin Crowell, Retail Division Manager for Pendleton. “You’ll see replica mill-style lighting and various elements of a working mill interior, galvanized pipe, specially designed wool fabric for fitting room curtains along with distinctive wallpaper and stained concrete floors throughout . . . all taking the sensibilities of the mill and translating it into a dynamic retail setting.”
This dynamic translates into an exclusive merchandising mix, with Menswear and Womenswear in an extensive assortment of iconic Pendleton plaids and patterns. A rich collection of blankets will include plaid and tartan throws and National Park blankets, and the Native American-inspired jacquard Trade blankets for which Pendleton is so well-known. Beginning in September, shoppers will find The Portland Collection for Fall 2012. This collection offers a fresh perspective on Pendleton’s iconic textiles as seen through the eyes of three independent and talented Portland designers. To mark the grand opening, Pendleton will host a ribbon cutting and an American Indian blessing along with store specials throughout the weekend.
For now, we invite you to enjoy a slideshow tour of the store in progress. You will see a lot of Shelley Prael in these images. The slideshow starts with her scrubbing away a century of wear on the gears that eventually grace the store’s walls. Shelley also designed and created the dressing room wallpaper, a collage of vintage ads from Pendleton’s past. As Pendleton’s visual director, she has been hands-on through the creation of this exciting, unique space. We want to extend our heartfelt thanks to Shelley for her vision and hard work in bringing our new store to its opening day!
Timblerline Lodge, Oregon’s most historic and beautiful ski lodge, celebrates its 75th anniversary in 2012. Pendleton Woolen Mills will help Friends of Timberline celebrate the anniversary with an elegant blanket that bears a special commemorative label.
Timberline Lodge was constructed on the south slope of Mount Hood in Oregon by the Works Progress Administration. Better known as the WPA, this government agency employed millions of workers during the Great Depression with projects that improved the country’s infrastructure. Timberline Lodge was an experiment; a chance for both skilled and unskilled workers to contribute to a project that went beyond basic public works like housing and roads.
The looms continue weaving in Washougal, Washington, as the mill celebrates 100 years as a key part of Pendleton Woolen Mills’ operations. Running three shifts a day, the mill’s 190 employees keep the dye house, looms and sewing rooms humming to produce the virgin wool fabric used in Pendleton products.
Washougal sits on the banks of the Columbia River at the entry to the scenic Columbia River Gorge. Pendleton was already operating a mill in Pendleton, Oregon, when the company acquired the Washougal mill in 1912. The additional mill gave Pendleton the ability to weave a wider variety of fabrics. Sir Pendleton worsted and Umatilla woolen fabric are both woven in Washougal, as well as fabrics for the women’s line. “The Washougal community helped fund the startup of this mill and has supported Pendleton ever since,” said Charlie Bishop, VP of Mill Operations. In turn, the mill has been a major employer in this small Washington town since it opened.
As an American company with strong roots in the West, Pendleton Woolen Mills seeks to make blankets that are meaningful as well as beautiful. Four blankets in particular deserve recognition on this important holiday.
The Brave Star blanket celebrates the patriotism of Native Americans who have defended our country in battles since the 19th century. The design, based on the American flag, marries modern asymmetry and vintage Americana. The unique striations reflect a time when dyes were made from plants.
Long time Pendleton fans might know that Thomas Kay was an English weaver who came to Oregon in 1863 to found the business that became Pendleton Woolen Mills. You can still tour Thomas Kay’s mill today, at the Willamette Heritage Center in Salem, Oregon.
A wonderful time to visit the center is the annual Sheep to Shawl event. Each year in early June, the Center hosts the proud owners of sheep, goats, alpacas, llamas and yes, bunnies. Children shyly or boldly approach the animals, offering grass and exclaiming at the coats, eyes, hooves and odors, while their parents shop for handicrafts and exotic yarns.
One of the more popular exhibits is the sheep shearing. This skill requires so much strength. It’s true, the sheep aren’t usually excited about their haircuts, but they are so much more comfortable afterwards.
Tours of the old mill run regularly. These are offered year-round, so don’t wait for Sheep to Shawl to go if you’re curious. The gigantic old looms, carts of spools and spindles, even the original time cards are still there. It’s a place to linger, to immerse yourself in a time long past.
Pendleton is still busy weaving in the USA. We have two union mills in Pendleton, Oregon and Washougal, Washington, and those are state-of-the-art, modern facilities kept very busy producing the textiles for our blankets and apparel. The Thomas Kay Woolen Mill is a different kind of mill; a little dusty, a lot nostalgic, and full of a history that continues today in Pendleton Woolen Mills. Go see it, but until you can, here’s a slideshow.
Pendleton Woolen Mills has woven a special blanket for the Girl Scouts’ 100 year celebration. “We are extremely honored to have been chosen to weave this blanket to help celebrate and raise funds for the Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington,” says Robert Christnacht, manager of Pendleton’s Home Division and father to two former Girl Scouts.
Each custom blanket will have a commemorative label signed by Girl Scout alumna and former Governor of Oregon Barbara Roberts. The design, initiated by Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington, features the official anniversary logo at the blanket’s center.
Twenty-three scholars at the White Clay Language Immersion School worked hard for their new school uniforms: coats made of Pendleton’s “Big Thunder” wool. Students and their parents fundraised with bake sales, raffles and silent auctions. They didn’t just buy the fabric; students actually helped design and sew the coats.
The White Clay Immersion school was founded in 2003 under the guidance and direction of Dr. Lynette Chandler. It’s located in the Aaniiih Nakoda (Fort Belknap) College Cultural Center in Harlem, Montana. The school’s mission is to revitalize the White Clay language.
Dr. Chandler is an enrolled member of the A´aninin tribe. She has helped raise the amount of White Clay speakers from only eight to several hundred, bringing the language back from the edge of extinction.
For the students, the advantages are more than cultural. Students who learn their daily lessons in White Clay test high on standardized tests, due to the demands of learning a complex language.
This year, Dr. Chandler was selected as the Indian Educator of the year by the Montana Indian Education Association. Her inspiring story can be read here in “Circle of Hope,” the bulletin of the American Indian College Fund.
The story is just as clearly read in the proud faces of her young scholars.
Dear Friends at Pendleton;
Our first day on the Colorado started with a river rat breakfast, a ranger briefing of the do’s and dont’s of the Grand Canyon National Park, and a final equipment check before pushing off from Lee’s Ferry in the late morning sun on a beautiful March day in the canyon.
The oars flexed light and the boat rode high as the afternoon wind picked up. After less than ten miles of sluggish rowing, we pulled into our targeted campsite. I eased the 1962 replica Portola to shore, tied up to a sand stake, “unwedged” the yellow dry bag from the side hatch of the boat, grabbed three oars and trudged up the steep bank to our first campsite on the 24 day adventure.
I would be crashing in “canvas and wool” each night – a nod to the natural material of the ‘62 trip we were so carefully trying to replicate. A wool camp blanket from Pendleton and a David Ellis bed roll of canvas would be my mattress and comforter for this trip (with an occasional canvas tent for foul weather and photo ops). The natural fiber of cotton and wool seems more “authentic” and consistent with the spirit and intent of this adventure.