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Posts from the ‘Pendleton blankets’ 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


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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Mill Tribute Blankets by Pendleton: The Buell Manufacturing Company of St. Joseph, Missouri

In 2010, Pendleton Woolen Mills introduced our Tribute Series, paying homage to the American mills that thrived during the Golden Age of Native American Trade blankets. 


In the early part of the 20th century, Pendleton Woolen Mills was one of five major mills weaving Trade blankets. The Buell Manufacturing Company of St. Joseph, Missouri, incorporated in 1877. St. Joseph was the gateway to a booming Wild West, thanks to homesteading and the Gold Rush. The Buell mill, operated by Norman Buell, his son George, and another partner named John Lemon, was well-run and successful.


According to the county records of 1904, the Buell Manufacturing employed 175 workers and used more than a million pounds of wool a year. Buell products were sold in every state of the Union (45, to be exact).  Buell products included far more than their Trade blankets. Their colorful designs were only a fraction of the products woven by Buell from 1877 to 1912. Since the Pendleton mill opened in 1909, we were only competitors for three seasons.

buellcoverAccording to our friend Barry Friedman in his book Chasing Rainbows, “The blankets produced by Buell Manufacturing are without question the truest copies of Navajo and Pueblo Indian designs.” The original Buell blanket designs were given tribal names in keeping with America’s romantic view of the west during those years. We’ve included the original names strictly for your information. Please keep in mind that the Buell designs often bore little-to-no resemblance to the weavings of that particular tribe.  Our re-weavings of these blankets are simply named for the original manufacturer, with the number of the blanket in the series.

Buell #6available here ) was originally called the “Choctaw” or the “Spider and Hawk” design.


Buell #5 available here was called the “Winnebago.” Though Buell has a darker palette than many of the other mills producing blankets back in the day, this blanket is an eye-popper.


Buell #4 (retired) was called the “Ojibwa.” Dale Chihuly has one of the originals in his incredible collection of Trade blankets. The banded design of diamonds, stripes, stars and that central sawtooth band is just gorgeous.


Buell #3 (retired) features a rare pictorial element–bands of Thunderbirds. Buell blankets were generally without any type of representational figures. This banded pattern was known as the “Comanche.”


Buell #2  (retired) is called the “Zuni” pattern in the Buell catalog, but is actually a copy of a Hopi manta according to Barry Friedman (who knows pretty much everything there is to know about Trade blankets).


Buell #1 (retired) is named “Aztec” in the original Buell catalog. It was offered in at least four different color combinations. An example in this coloration is also part of the fabled Chihuly collection of Native American Trade blankets. This blanket was a bestseller in our first year of the Tribute series.


Buell blankets are among the most rare and most sought after by collectors today. This mill actually accomplished a major commercial weaving innovation–the incorporation of a third color in a weaving line. This was beyond the capabilities of Pendleton Woolen Mills at the time, so we tip our hat to the Buell Manufacturing Company of St. Joseph, Missouri.


Pendleton on The Voice with Pharrell and Sawyer Fredericks

It was exciting to see our blankets on NBC’s The Voice, as stage dressing during a finale performance by Pharrell Williams and his protege Sawyer Fredericks.


Yes, there among the beanbag chairs and the super-chill tambourine girls swaying gently to the “Summer Breeze,” you can see our blankets; Heroic Chief, Mountain Majesty, and Compass Stripe.




Sawyer is an Americana musician. Our American-made blankets bring just the right American vibe for him. From what we understand, the blankets were given as gifts to the crew after filming wrapped.


You can watch the performance here:

And the big moment here:

Because, guess what? SAWYER WON! But that’s not even the most exciting part.

When our UK partners tweeted a link to this Instagram:

The man himself retweeted it!


Yes, a good day around Pendleton Woolen Mills. You can follow us on Twitter @pendletonwm. And as always, you can get your blankets at


So, this is fun. Bloomberg Business Week ushers in Summer with Pendleton.


This Bloomberg Business Week feature on summer fashion is a lot of fun to watch. The heels are high and the models are smoking hot. Okay, we don’t really buy her playing soccer in those shoes, but the music somehow makes it all plausible.

Watch the video here:


That’s our Glacier National Park Blanket, of course.


Read the full story here: source

If that doesn’t get you ready for summer sports and champagne picnics, we don’t know what will.


Our Grateful Nation

Ed. note: We are reposting this previous entry this Memorial Day. Please note that the Grateful Nation Vest is currently available, thanks to the efforts of veterans like Chris Winters. Our respect and thanks to the men and women who have served in all branches of our military. 

We have been making our Grateful Nation blanket for most of a decade, and for part of that time, we also made a Grateful Nation Vest. It honored veterans in two ways; by visually commemorating each of this century’s service ribbons, and by donations  to The Fisher House Foundation. The Fisher House Foundation provides residences near military and VA medical centers for families of ill or wounded veterans and service members. A portion of the sale of each blanket goes to the Fisher House Foundation, as well. 

Cue Chris Winters, a Puyallup tribal member and veteran who understood that we were no longer making the vest, but wanted to know if we had fabric available. He sent photos of his own vest.


Said Chris, “I am on a Tribal committee and we not only wear Pendleton vests for ceremonies. ..we gift your native blankets to guests, elders, and returning warriors.” Chris is very involved in IUPAT, a Washington State organization that offers outreach, support and training for Native veterans. This group marches in local parades honoring servicemen in their Grateful Nation vests, decorated with the medals earned by veterans who have served our country.


The role of Native Americans in our military cannot be understated. Books have been written and movies made about Native Code Talkers in both World Wars. The percentage of Native Americans serving in the military is higher than any other minority group in America.

We thought you’d enjoy seeing the vest worn in Tacoma, Washington area parades and ceremonies by Native veterans who have served our country well. 

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And thanks, Chris, for reaching out. Chris-in-his-vest

Here’s the blanket in the  IUPAT office.

office blanket display

More information below on the meaning of each service ribbon stripe.

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 authentically colored stripe represents a service ribbon awarded to veterans of historical conflicts in which our country has engaged:

  • World War II Asiatic Pacific Campaign
  • World War II Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign
  • Korean Service
  • US Vietnam Service
  • Southwest Asia Service (Gulf War)
  • War on Terrorism

A portion of every blanket’s sale goes to support the Fisher House Foundation and its mission to support the families of veterans. As their website states:

Fisher House Foundation is best known for the network of comfort homes built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers nationwide and in Europe.   Fisher Houses are beautiful homes, donated to the military and Department of Veterans Affairs.  These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful time – during the hospitalization for a combat injury, illness or disease… Since 1990, the foundation has saved military, veterans and their families an estimated $200 million in out of pocket costs for lodging and transportation.

Made in the USA label

Dear Mom, Happy Mother’s Day from @pendletonwm on Instagram

Dear Mom,

We realize you’ve been doing this mom thing for a long time. From the very beginning, even.


We want you to realize that we appreciate everything you do.


Like teaching us the basics, including fingers and toes:

Another day for being thankful. @mama_jbird #HeroicChiefBlanket #thanksgiving #pendleton #family #pendletonblankets #madeinUSA

A photo posted by Pendleton Woolen Mills (@pendletonwm) on


And tucking us in at night, even though we are wriggling little minions:


And getting us ready for our first day of school:


And making special holidays for us, including muddy trips to the pumpkin patch:


And helping us build and properly accessorize our first snowman:


And creating family traditions that involve silly pajamas:


and great stuff to eat:

Baking cookies on this lazy Sunday. #happyholidays #winter #cookies #baking #pendleton #plaid #tartan #lazysunday @butterandbloom

A photo posted by Pendleton Woolen Mills (@pendletonwm) on


We appreciate the fact that your most favorite part of the day is probably our least favorite part of the day:

Nap time with #pendelton. Photo by @thelilpeeps #sleepy #naptime #roadtrip #baby #pendletonblankets #pendletonroadtrip #pendletonwm

A photo posted by Pendleton Woolen Mills (@pendletonwm) on


And that sometimes, you have to take a little time for yourself.

Stay in this #weekend with #pendleton #regram from @alliemtaylor #staycation @stumptowncoffee #pendletonblankets #madeinUSA

A photo posted by Pendleton Woolen Mills (@pendletonwm) on


We appreciate all of that.


So for Mother’s Day, we hope you have a little peace and quiet:

Here's to a great start for your week! photo by @samubinas #pendleton #TwinRockThrow #madeinUSA #pendletonblankets #officestyle

A photo posted by Pendleton Woolen Mills (@pendletonwm) on


A time for solitude:


A space for creativity:


And a lot of love, to you, from us.


Because most of all, we appreciate the love.

Happy Mother’s Day.

Pendleton Woolen Mills launches Portland Timbers blanket design contest

(Source) | The Backcut

The winning design will be sold in both Timbers and Pendleton stores.


Pendleton/Timbers Blanket Design Contest

The Portland Timbers have partnered with the iconic Pendleton Woolen Mills to launch a special design contest where fans can create their own Timbers centric designed blanket, with the winning design being sold at both Timbers and Pendleton retail locations. Proceeds from the sale of this one-of-a-kind designed blanket will benefit the “Fields For All” initiative which helps build youth soccer fields and futsal courts each year in the greater Portland area.

The contest will work in two parts. During the initial entry period, anyone can submit a design. From that initial pool of entries, two finalists will be selected and posted on the Timbers Facebook page, with voting beginning on Monday, June 8, 2015 and ending on Friday, June 12, 2015. The design with the most votes will be created into a blanket. 

How do I enter?

Access the entry form here. Use the template provided to create your design and then submit your entry either via mail or email to:

Portland Timbers Pendleton Blanket Promotion
Providence Park
1844 SW Morrison
Portland, OR 97205

Submit electronic form to: Please enter “Pendleton Blanket Promotion” in the subject line. Electronic entries must be no larger than 8 MBs and be submitted as a pdf, jpeg, gif or eps file.

When is the deadline?

All entries must be received by Friday, May 29 by 5 p.m. PST.


In addition to having your artwork replicated on a Pendleton Woolen Mills blanket, the winner will also receive four (4) tickets to a Timbers match, four (4) pre-game VIP hospitality passes, a $250 Pendleton Woolen Mills Gift Card, and a commemorative version of the Pendleton blanket that he/she designed.

Design Notes

All entries will be judged based on originality, creativity and the ability to express the Portland Timbers brand in a positive manner. Permissible methods to create the design include, but are not be limited to, pencil, inks, paints, crayons, and computer-aided designs. The artwork will be scanned, so 3-D elements such as fabric, clay, textures, etc., are not appropriate. Due to weaving limitations, the design can only have (2) two colors in a horizontal line. Up to 12 colors can be used in one design. (See entry form for a visual example).

About Pendleton Woolen Mills
Founded in 1863, Pendleton has been a family-owned business for 150 years, and for 104 of those years, they’ve been weaving world class woolens in their Northwest Mills. Today the company owns and operates seven (7) facilities, manages 75 Pendleton retail stores and publishes apparel and home direct mail catalogs.

Gearing up for National Tartan Day!

Monday, April 6th is National Tartan Day. Some of our readers live, breathe, eat and sleep tartans. They are steeped in their clan histories. They know the difference between the ancient, dress, hunting and standard versions of their clan’s tartan. But other readers aren’t quite sure of what exactly makes a tartan a tartan. How does a tartan differ from any other plaid?

We say it best with the title of one of our most popular Pinterest boards: All tartans are plaids, but not all plaids are tartans. A tartan looks like a plaid, but it is so much more than that.  A tartan is a statement of identity. Tartans were originally regional designs, worn as “plaids,” pieces of fabric worn slung over the shoulder. Scotland’s warriors wore their plaids with pride to announce their family affiliations and political loyalties.

The Dress Act of 1746 was enacted to prohibit the wearing of the plaid, as part of colonial suppression of the Highlands: That from and after the first day of August, One thousand, seven hundred and forty-six, no man or boy within that part of Britain called Scotland, other than such as shall be employed as Officers and Soldiers in His Majesty’s Forces, shall, on any pretext whatever, wear or put on the clothes commonly called Highland clothes (that is to say) the Plaid, Philabeg, or little Kilt, Trowse, Shoulder-belts, or any part whatever of what peculiarly belongs to the Highland Garb; and that no tartan or party-coloured plaid of stuff shall be used for Great Coats or upper coats, and if any such person shall presume after the said first day of August, to wear or put on the aforesaid garment or any part of them, every such person so offending … For the first offence,shall be liable to be imprisoned for 6 months, and on the second offence, to be transported to any of His Majesty’s plantations beyond the seas, there to remain for the space of seven years.

That’s right, tartans were illegal; inflammatory and subversive.

In 1782, the Dress Act was repealed through the following proclamation: Listen Men. This is bringing before all the Sons of the Gael, the King and Parliament of Britain have forever abolished the act against the Highland Dress; which came down to the Clans from the beginning of the world to the year 1746. This must bring great joy to every Highland Heart. You are no longer bound down to the unmanly dress of the Lowlander. This is declaring to every Man, young and old, simple and gentle, that they may after this put on and wear the Truis, the Little Kilt, the Coat, and the Striped Hose, as also the Belted Plaid, without fear of the Law of the Realm or the spite of the enemies.

When the Dress Act was repealed in 1782, tartans were no longer worn as ordinary Highland dress. They were adopted as the official national dress of Scotland. Tartan grew from regional plaid to warrior garb to a badge of kinship.  These patterns are a visual illustration of the bond between personal and political freedom.

We’re not tartan experts at Pendleton, just fabric experts. When we we use these designs, we do it with respect for the history of the design we’re using. Our designers refer to rare reference books stored under archival conditions in our design department (please don’t ask to see them because they will not hold up to visitors, we have to say no). We also use modern tartans, like Canada’s Maple Leaf, and our own Pendleton Hunting Tartan, registered with the Scottish Tartan Society in 1999.

Tartans have been part of the Pendleton offering since our earliest days, beginning with our motor robes. We call them that because we originally wove them to cover the laps of motorists in the earliest days of the automobile.


We’ve been making tartan shirts, Topsters, motoring caps and robes for men since the 1920s.


Women have always been part of the Pendleton tartan action, as well.


Today, tartans have taken fashion by storm, because these patterns are timeless, we return to them.


If you’re wanting to add tartan, but you’re not sure where to start, try Blackwatch tartan, the tartan that designed to look black from a distance.

This is also known at the Government or 42nd tartan, developed to wear by the Black Watch, one of the early Highland Independent Companies. From a distance, the pattern reads black. It’s the stealth tartan. Around here, we call it Highland Camo, and though it’s one one of our perennial bestsellers, it’s a challenge to photograph for a catalog. But we do, as you cansee if you pay us a visit at We have tartan items galore for women, men, and home.

Remember, Monday is the big day.


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