The latest issue of Stitch has a “Spotlight on Wool,” and Pendleton and our Woolen Mill Store are featured all through it! If you’ve ever had any questions about how to sew with wool, this issue of Stitch has the answers. From the rich history of American wool fabrics, to wool quilting and making your first wool coat, the Spotlight on Wool issue is full of project ideas, information and inspiration.
We’re lucky to have four Portland wool experts featured in this issue:
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.
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!
We take a lot of calls at Pendleton from people hoping to learn the value, the year, or sometimes just the name of a particular garment. We can’t help with the value, we try to help with the year, and we can almost always come up with the name. When a man calls and asks about a jacket, he’s usually trying to figure whether it’s a Topster or a Topsman, two very popular jackets from Pendleton’s past.
On Friday May 25th, the OSU design students will put on their eighth annual runway show. Student collections for Spring will be shown to peers, faculty and family, as well as representatives from Oregon apparel companies.
Last year, the star of the show was Amanda Grisham, who was also selected as one of Portland Monthly’s ”Fifty Most Influential Portlanders.”
Amanda’s collection featured Pendleton fabrics from Pendleton’s Woolen Mill Store. She went on to win Portland Fashion Week’s Catapult: Emerging Designers Competition.
On Friday night, all eyes will be watching to see who Oregon’s next rising star might be. You can read more here, but for now, enjoy a look at Amanda’s work from 2011. We are probably just as proud of it as she is.
On Wednesday, March 21, Greg Hatten and company left Springfield, Oregon to start a Grand Adventure; the recreation of a historically significant trip on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon in boats that “linked” Oregon to the history of river running through that National Park.
The March 10th edition of Vancouver’s The Columbian profiled Pendleton’s Washougal, Washington mill. Reporter Cami Joner examines the key to Washougal’s longevity, remarking that “…The busy Washougal mill is evidence that textile manufacturing is not dead in America.” Read the full article here, and stay tuned for more as Washougal approaches its 100th anniversary of producing fine Pendleton textiles right here in the USA.
Photo by Zachary Kaufman, courtesy of The Columbian, copyright 2012
Pendleton’s Legendary Blankets are admired and treasured for their intricate, intriguing patterns and excellent quality. These original designs are inspired by Native American art, legends, belief, ceremonies and heroes. Native artists such as Lillian Pitt, Terry Whetstone and Joseph Chamberlain have designed for the series. Every design is exclusive, and each blanket has a commemorative label telling the design story. All blankets are napped, felt-bound and made with pure virgin wool in the USA.
The 2012 Spring legendary blanket is based on an original design by Chickasaw artist Dustin Mater. The blanket is rich with symbolism common to several tribes of the Mississippian/Muskegon culture of the southeastern United States. Mater’s design represents the annual rebirth of the Earth through the spring rains.
This weekend (starting March 3rd, 2012), collectors will have a chance to purchase Pendleton’s Vintage Collection Blankets at 20% off during the Retired Blanket Sale.
These blankets were introduced in 2008 to offer the aged allure of a vintage wool blanket to boutique customers and collectors.
Our 2008 wholesale catalog copy described the blankets: “At first glance, these lovely blankets seems to have been discovered in the hacienda of a beloved grandmother. But they are newly woven in our own Northwest woolen mills. The blankets reflect both our reverence for Pendleton history and the wealth of design inspiration in our design archives. We have given these fresh interpretations a luxurious finish with the rich patina of age – a fitting tribute to our heritage. The stonewashed, distressed surface lends the feeling of a well-loved and well cared for heirloom. The colors are softly muted and the hand is sumptuously soft.”
What these beautiful words can’t describe is the hard work, experimentation and sheer number of blankets that went into refining the “aging” of a Pendleton Vintage Collection blanket.
“We burned through so many of them!” says Robert Christnacht, the head of the Pendleton Home Division. “We wove and finished the blankets in our mills, minus any labels. Then we sent them to an outside commercial laundry, where they were washed and shrunk down to the right dimensions. It was a huge job to get the process right, because we wanted to take out a certain amount of color and we needed the right appearance and hand. Time after time, we’d pull a load of wool mush out of the machine. We’d have to start over.”
Barrett Christie is an accomplished athlete who has won more medals in the Winter X Games than any other female competitor. She competed in the 1998 Winter Olympics as part of the first US women’s snowboarding team. She oversees the design of women’s snowboards for Gnu Snowboards, including the Gnu Barrett Christy Pro Model, the most enduring women’s pro model snowboard on the market.
When Barrett needed an eye-catching graphic that still looked like a serious snowboard, she approached Pendleton. The result is our newest co-branding effort; a limited edition snowboard from GNU, featuring a graphic based on our Day of the Dead blanket. Every board comes with a specially labeled Day of the Dead blanket.
Life in the Pacific Northwest is very, very busy for Barrett. She’s a serious competitor and product developer, as well as a mom. But she recently found a little time to talk to us about the new design.
Karen: I’m sure you’re always looking for inspiration. What initially drew you to Pendleton?
Barrett: My husband I have a collection of Pendleton blankets we’ve won as prizes at the Mt. Baker Slalom. We’ve won a lot of races, so we’ve won a lot of blankets.