From us to you with a little help from Curtis, Happy Valentine’s Day.
From us to you with a little help from Curtis, Happy Valentine’s Day.
We are Pendleton Woolen Mills, and wool is what we do. So here are some amazing wool facts for you, courtesy of us, from our trusty “Wool, A Natural” booklet, a little classroom staple for many years now.
Wool is a Miracle Fiber that Stands the Test of Time
Wool is a natural fiber, growing from the follicles of sheep. In a time of sustainability and environmental consciousness, this renewable resource remains longer-lasting and better looking than anything man-made. Even though advanced processing methods have made wool more versatile and easy care, man has not improved the miracle fiber itself.
Wool is Naturally Resilient and Wrinkle Resistant
This is due to the ability of the fiber to spring back into shape after bending, creasing, or compression. Resilience gives wool its ability to hold a shape, resist wrinkles and withstand wear. This makes wool great for travel. It resists tearing because it’s flexible. Wool can bend back on itself 20,000 times without breaking (cotton only 3200 times before breaking/silk 1800 times/rayon only 75 times). Wool can be stretched or twisted and its cells return to their original position.
Wool is Naturally Comfortable
Wool fibers cannot be packed down. They spring back to shape keeping their open, porous nature. Wool provides the most warmth with the least weight. The air that is trapped inside (about 80% of wool fabric volume) makes wool an excellent insulator to keep the body at its normal temperature year round: warm in winter and cool in summer. Wool is the original outdoor “performance” fiber.
Wool is Naturally Water and Stain Repellent
Wool repels light water, like a rain shower, because of the membrane on the outer scales. In very wet conditions, wool absorbs up to 30% of its own weight without feeling damp. And because of insulation ability, wool “breathes,” allowing the body’s natural moisture to pass through. The hairy surface of wool and its freedom from static make it the easiest of all fabrics to keep clean or to clean after soiling.
Wool Maintains its Luster and Resists Fading
Wool has a permanent natural luster it never loses even after years of hard wear. It absorbs dyes until it is completely saturated so colors stay brilliant in spite of sunshine, perspiration and impurities in the atmosphere. No other fiber can be spun or woven into such a variety of weights, textures, finishes and colors.
Wool is Naturally Flame Retardant
Unless it is in direct contact with flame, wool will extinguish itself. The denser the weave and the greater the fabric weight, the less likely it is even to char because of its smaller oxygen content. Fire departments and insurance companies recommend the use of wool blankets, rugs or coats to put out flames.
We will be bringing you more fun facts about wool this month, because January is an excellent month for keeping warm.
When we opened our store at the Portland International Airport, we partnered with the Port of Portland, which oversees our city’s commerce by river, rail, road and plane. The airport location has given us a wonderful opportunity to share our very-Oregon brand with the rest of the country as it passes through PDX (which is what we call our airport, for you out-of-towners). The Port recognized our association with the Port of Portland 2014 Compass Award at the recent “Tradition of Trade” annual luncheon.
The award recognizes the personal efforts of our company’s president, Mort Bishop, as well as Pendleton’s corporate support and involvement. Said Port Commission Vice President Paul Rosenbaum, “Like the points of a compass, their business partnership and confidence in local operations have helped us navigate and achieve key Port goals such as job creation and environmental stewardship.”
During the award presentation, Mr. Rosenbaum cited Pendleton as one of Oregon’s heritage enterprises, and applauded our focus on building positive relationships with Oregon’s tribal community—the original founders of trade in the Northwest. “Mort and his family have led the Pendleton enterprise for six generations,” said Mr. Rosenbaum. “Pendleton’s rich American heritage and deep roots in the Pacific Northwest is a source of pride for all Oregonians.”
Company president Mort Bishop accepted the Compass Award on behalf of Pendleton Woolen Mills. In his words, “100 years ago, there were over 1,000 woolen mills in this country. Today we operate two of only a handful that survive – Washougal and Pendleton. Our facilities are state of the art, providing American jobs, utilizing sustainable, environmentally-friendly practices, employing world class technology. Pendleton uses some of the world’s finest wool fleeces from right here in Oregon…from generations of the same ranch families for over 100 years. When you buy a Pendleton, you are literally and metaphorically buying the fabric of Oregon.”
More than 500 business leaders, elected officials and community stakeholders attended this year’s Gateway to the Globe luncheon. It was quite an event, and the Compass Award is quite an honor.
The Thomas Kay Collection should be arriving in your mailbox today via catalog.
This week marked the birthday of Yosemite National Park. Nearly 4 million people a year visit this World heritage site, which spans 761,268 acres and crosses the slopes of the rugged Sierra Nevada mountains in California. With its diverse wildlife, sky-sweeping Sequoias and distinctive rock formations, this wilderness contains some of the most rugged beauty of the American West.
It’s our deepest hope that we can resume enjoying our national treasures soon. In the meantime, Pendleton continues to honor our National parks with a growing collection of distinctive blankets that includes Yellowstone, Badlands, Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Rainier, Acadia, Crater Lake and Glacier.
Each blanket bears the Pendleton label along with a special label depicting an image with an important natural feature specific to each park. All blankets are 100% pure virgin wool and made in the USA.
This is a beautiful time of year to see the western parks. Let’s hope our families can enjoy them soon!
From the sheep to the shelf, Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool® passes strict standards of sustainability and stewardship. That sounds admirable, doesn’t it? But those lofty words would mean nothing at all if Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool® products weren’t soft, richly colored and delightful to touch.
There are many, many products out there claiming to be green. Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool® has been Cradle to Cradle Certified© by MBDC, a respected product and process design firm dedicated to promoting sustainable production. If you’re curious, you can find out more here. The best way to explain it? If you were to take a Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool® blanket and bury it (but please don’t!), it would leave the earth better, not worse, for the addition.
Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool® is an innovation in the Umatilla wool we’ve woven for over a century that uses nontoxic biodegradable dyes. Pendleton is known for the depth and intensity of our colors. Vegetable dyes are not as stable as chemical dyes, and the formula took some tinkering, especially the red spectrum. But with a great deal of trial and a reasonable amount of error, we produced Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool® that we could guarantee for quality.
So maybe you want to wrap yourself up in environmental responsibility this year, or maybe you just want something beautiful, wooly and Pendleton. In either case, we have plenty to show you.
Our washable bed blankets are offered in ten plaids, eight of which are shown below.
You can see all of them here. Love those blanket-stitched edges. These are washable, and get softer with each trip through the spin cycle.
Wool is a perfect choice for top-of-bed. There is a subtlety to the texture, nothing shiny or artificial about it, and the color will remain true forever. You can add accent interest with pillows or…
…maybe the fringed Eco-Wise Wool Lambswool Throw.
This is actually a lambswool/merino blend, and if you know your wools, you’ll appreciate what merino does for the hand. It is soft. The plaids coordinate back to both the plaid and solid bed blankets, or stand on their own in any room of your home.
There are accent pillows, fabric by-the-yard, window panels and more available in Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool®. Give us a visit and see all our colorful ways to be green.
This holiday season, wrap yourself in Pendleton luxury with our beautiful Siskiyou Muffler.
Woven in four exclusive jacquards, these scarves interpret our heritage with contemporary style. We thought you might enjoy knowing the stories behind the patterns; Siskiyou, Harding, Soft Grey Stripe and Ram’s Horn.
The Siskiyou Mountains range across southern Oregon and northern California.Siskiyou means ‘bobtail’ in the language of the region’s Native Americans. Legend has it that as a party of rider crossed the mountains, a bobtail horse went lame and had to be abandoned high in the peaks. The range was known by that name ever after. The Native American horse and footpaths eventually grew into a trade route for early trappers and merchants. Thomas Kay, founder of the Pendleton weaving legacy, sent many goods south on the Siskiyou Trail. This pattern’s geometric points echo the peaks and ravines of the Siskiyou Mountains.
The Harding jacquard, one of Pendleton’s earliest designs, is named for First Lady Florence Harding. This distinctive pattern was commissioned by chiefs of the Cayuse and Umatilla tribes in 1923, when President and First Lady Harding visited the Pacific Northwest to dedicate part of the old Oregon Trail. Pendleton’s weavers modified a Chief Joseph pattern for a fringed shawl for Mrs. Harding. The blanket has been in our line ever since. For our muffler, we’ve taken a tonal approach in shades of tan and cream.
Soft Grey Stripe
Navajo rugs and blankets are beautiful works of art, with early examples bringing hundreds of thousands of dollars at auction. Chinle Navajo weaving is named for the town where weaver Mary Cabot Wheelwright developed this unique style. Her goal was to revive traditional weaving methods and the use of vegetal dyes. Our Soft Grey Stripe weaves distinctive geometrics in subtle hues of charcoal, graphite and sand, translating the Navajo Chinle tradition into a distinctly modern jacquard pattern.
Never turn your back on a ram. A stylized ram’s head with curling horns pays tribute to the mighty ram in this pattern from the Pendleton archives. We talk a lot about lambs when we talk about wool, but there would be no lambs without rams, would there? This jacquard pattern has dynamic loops and curls with a navy and green coloration that hearkens back to Black Watch Tartan.
The Pendleton blend of history, tradition and fashion is present is each of these beautiful mufflers. Best of all, they’re made in the USA. Available at http://www.pendleton-usa.com.
Fannie Kay Bishop is beloved figure in the history of Pendleton Woolen Mills. She was daughter to Thomas Kay and wife to Charles P. Bishop, with whom she had three sons who would open the first official Pendleton Woolen Mills in Oregon. She was also a progressive thinker who gently chided her son Clarence in 1914, “…for your own happiness I would be glad if you had a loving, capable wife…a woman that would appreciate you and be your equal in every way.”
Fannie Kay was an immigrant who came to America, the land of opportunity, at a very young age. She was born on November 29, 1857, in Shipley, Yorkshire, England, the first of ten children born to Thomas and Ann Kay. She emigrated in 1860, after her father had found work in NJ and before he came west to found the family dynasty of Pendleton Woolen Mills. Fannie characterized herself as a “true tomboy” who spent her childhood climbing trees, stilt-walking, sledding and watching Union soldiers march and drill. Fannie also accompanied her father to the mill, watching him work and learning at his knee as he managed various mills across the country.
She came to work at the old Brownsville, Oregon, mill at age fifteen, after Thomas Kay was hired to resurrect it. She was passionately interested in wool processing and manufacture, questioning her father, observing operations and eavesdropping on her father’s conversations with the mill hands he invited to the family home. “I spent all my spare time in what to me was the fascinating pursuit of learning all about the woolen mill,” she said years later.
In 1874, she began keeping company with Charles P. Bishop, the son of her school’s principal. They married in 1876 and had their first son, Clarence, in 1878. He was followed by Royal in 1881 and Chauncey in 1882. With her guidance and encouragement, these young men opened Pendleton Woolen Mills in 1909.
The correspondence between Fannie Kay Bishop in her sons, preserved nearly in full in the Pendleton archives, is full of loving encouragement, sound advice, and practical business sense. In a letter dated September 10, 1910, she wrote, “The only thing needed for any success is confidence, harmony and patience with one another. Without that there is no use to struggle on as there can be nothing but ultimate failure.”
One of the more interesting aspects of Fannie Kay Bishop’s history was her political campaign for the state legislature in the early 20th century. Although women were not allowed to vote in national elections until 1920, a few progressive states passed women’s suffrage earlier; Montana in 1914, Washington in 1910 and Oregon in 1912. In 1922, Fannie Kay Bishop threw her hat in the ring with the following campaign position card:
We apologize for the hard to read text, but it is as follows:
I am respectfully submitting to you my candidacy for nomination as one of the four representatives from Marion County, feeling that I can render public service that you require. My long life in Marion County is an open book, on the pages of which I have endeavored to write achievements worthy of our County and State. Your attention is respectfully called to the pamphlet containing the statements of Republican candidates for details concerning my platform. I will faithfully endeavor, when elected, to voice the expressed desire of my constituents, to advocate legislation for a businesslike consolidation of administrative branches of the State government and for tax reduction, and will favor such measures as comment themselves as being for the public welfare.
FANNIE KAY BISHOP
Fannie Kay Bishop didn’t win office in Marion County, but she was a pioneer in many ways. As a truly modern woman, her passionate participation in the political process was balanced with her call for “confidence, harmony and patience.” She’s a proud part of the Pendleton legacy.
We recently held a preview showcase for next year’s Pendleton Home line at the Ace Hotel in NYC. We hope you like what you see…new colors, throws based on historic weaves from our rich company history, and familiar favorites like the National Park Series blankets.
And of course, more spa towels, because everyone loves the spa towels!
Enjoy! We are definitely worth the trip.