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1932 Olympic Blankets

Ah, Olympic fever. Despite mixed reactions to the USA uniforms (thanks to Lizzie for this post) and some alarming tweets from the press about the hotels, we’re still excited for the official opening of the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. Most fans have been watching the skating and snowboarding, enjoying the games in advance of the opening ceremonies.

Of course, Pendleton has an Olympic connection. In 1932, we won the commission to provide blankets to the Olympics. Here is a photo of the blankets leaving on a train for Los Angeles.

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There are several known colorways for these blankets. In our archives, we have only one, with a very warm color scheme. There are also a light blue and a brights-on-white patterns out there, but we haven’t been able to track down examples. There might even be more. Here is our archival blanket.

WEB_1932 Olympic blanketHere is a close-up of the label.

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That’s a VERY CLOSE close up, isn’t it? Even so, the label is worn enough that you might want the label’s text:

Genuine
OLYMPIAD BLANKET
100% Virgin Wool
1932
PENDLETON WOOLEN MILLS
PORTLAND, OREGON U.S.A.

Olympic fever is nothing new, and Pendleton traded on it with themed displays.

1932_Olympic_Display1In the displays, mannequins wear tasteful blanket coats that look modern. We are not sure if those were sewn and offered for sale by Pendleton, or sewn just for display to encourage consumers to get creative with the blankets. Pendleton did manufacture labeled blanket coats for women over the years, but our first women’s sportswear line debuted in 1949 with our 49′er jacket as the centerpiece.

1932_Olympic_Display2And yes, at $7.95, you can’t beat that price.

It has been a winter of winters here in the US, so as you sit back and enjoy the competition this year, we hope you stay warm. And if you have an example of the other colors of the Pendleton blankets, drop us a line! We would love some color photos.

Children and the Mills

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We are haunted by this beautiful shot of a young girl in the North Carolina mill where she worked. It was taken by Lewis Hines, who took over 5,000 photos of children while working for the National Child Labor Committee in the early 1900s. This photo is part of a feature in the Charlotte Observer about the efforts to identify unnamed subjects of those photos.

Child labor was part of life in early textile mills. Our own founder, Thomas Kay, got his start in Yorkshire mills as a bobbin boy in the 1840s. According to Wikipedia, “A bobbin boy was a boy who worked in a textile mill in the 18th and early 19th centuries. He would bring bobbins to the women at the looms when they called for them, and collected the full bobbins of spun cotton or wool thread. They also would be expected to fix minor problems with the machines. Average pay was about $1.00 a week, with days often beginning at 5:30 am and ending around 7:30 pm six days a week.”

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The boy above is Tony Soccha, a bobbin boy in the Chicopee, Massachusetts mill. And if you would like to know who the pensive little girl is in the photo above,  you can read the full story here.

The Wilderness Collective

This post looks back to this past summer, when we helped outfit The Wilderness Collective for a trip to the Eastern Sierras. For this trip, they rode in on horse, braving rain and rocky trails for the reward of some serious fishing and camping away from the distractions of modern life.

The Wilderness Collective’s tagline is “Legendary Adventures for Men.” The gear is high-end, the aesthetic tends towards the curated, but there is no denying that these adventures are the real thing.

Watch the film below. Don’t you want to go?

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WILDERNESS COLLECTIVE | WC-004 Eastern Sierra

The real stars of the film are the horses. They patiently pick their way across this stunning landscape, shod hooves on sharp rocks, to take the Wilderness Collective into seriously rugged territory. These horses definitely earned their Pendleton saddle blankets.

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You can read more about The Wilderness Collective and see films of their other journeys here.

All Aboard with AMTRAK’s Portland Express

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This beautiful car is part of the new  Portland Express, or, as 1859 magazine calls it, “The most Portland train car ever.”

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With an array of makers’ good that include Pendleton wool slipcovers, typewriters, bottles of Oregon rain, chocolates, papers and more, this is one club car you won’t want to miss. Check out more photos here.

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The Portland Express celebrates the  AMTRAK expansion between Vancouver B.C and Eugene, OR.  Details on booking here.

The Drift Boat Adventure for Kids

Greg Hatten, our drift boat adventurer, has been embarking on a new adventure, besides running the rivers of America in handcrafted wooden drift boats. He’s taken on grandfathering in a big way, with three little ones under two years old in his family.

Greg decided that for Christmas, he’d build his grandkids a rocking boat just like his own boat, at 33% the size. He worked with his boat-building buddy, Roger Fletcher, to make it happen.

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The results? Beautiful.

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The boats are carefully hand-built in the same way as the full-size drift boats for which Greg is so well-known. That is a lot of measuring, cutting, shaping, joining, sanding, staining and sealing. As Greg told us, “I only know how to build boats one way.”

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Greg also adapted the classic children’s poem, “Winkin, Blinkin & Nod” by Eugene Field to reflect his passion for drift boating (and Pendleton blankets, it seems). He published copies for each of the grandkids, and the books and boat were quite the hits.

So please enjoy these photos of Greg’s grandkids enjoying their new boat. Information on the rocking boat and book can be found at the Rocking Boat website.

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Father Winter for Holiday 2014

With the first day of winter just around the corner, it’s only fitting that we say hello to this year’s Father Winter. Resplendent in a robe of Feather Storm wool fabric, he carries a dream catcher. His natural feathers and fur trims are gathered by the craftsman who makes him for us here in the USA.

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He looks beautiful displayed with one of our snow globes.

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Hope your season is fun and full of the special things that make it happy.

Portland’s Pittock Mansion

Portland’s beautiful Pittock Mansion is open for holiday tours, and as usual, Pendleton products help adorn it. Henry Pittock’s bedroom is done in a northwest theme with the Chief Joseph blanket in sage on the bed.

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The Pittock Mansion is a piece of Portland’s history. Guest can tour the grounds and enjoy panoramic views in every direction. So come take a tour! Details here.

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The Pendleton Tartan Party Begins Today!

Every year, Pendleton hosts a Tartan Party in each of our stores. These are spirited, fun events. We celebrate with fantastic discounts, free shipping of gifts across the USA, and refreshments. We send home a commemorative plaid ornament with everyone we can.

Some of our customers are modern descendants of a specific clan or sept, and they wear their tartans with pride. And some of our fans just know a great plaid when they see one. Some customers wonder what the difference is between a tartan and a plaid.

Well, all tartans are plaids, but not all plaids are tartans.

Tartans were originally regional designs, worn as “plaids,” pieces of fabric worn slung over the shoulder. Scotland’s warriors wore their plaids with pride. The Dress Act of 1746 was passed to bring the warrior class under control, and their plaids were banned. That’s right, tartans were illegal; inflammatory and subversive.

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.  This may explain the passion of modern tartan researchers and enthusiasts. 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 use these designs in blankets, jackets, shirts, skirts or coffee cups, we do it with respect. Our designers refer to rare reference books stored under archival conditions in our design department…and please don’t ask to see them because they will not hold up to visitors, so 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.

We do different things with different tartans every year, but Black Watch Tartan is almost always present in our women’s, men’s and home lines.

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This is also known as the Government or 42nd tartan. It was developed to wear by the Black Watch, one of the early Highland Independent Companies. From a distance, the pattern reads as dark as night, so it is the stealth tartan, the ninja of tartans. It’s also one of our perennial bestsellers.

You see tartans all the time, but believe us, there’s more to these plaids than you might know. So put on your plaid and come see us for the Tartan Party, going on December 5th through 8th in Pendleton Retail Stores and Outlets.

Three Corn Maidens

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The Three Corn Maidens blanket is part of our series for the American Indian College Fund. The Three Corn Maidens design tells the story of the Pueblo people’s belief that just as the sun gives life to the corn, the Corn Maidens bring the power of life to the people. The blanket was designed by Isleta Pueblo artist Mary Beth Jiron as a celebration of her acceptance into the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Jiron attributes the concept to visions she had and the desire to tell a story from her own culture in which corn is the staff of life and often the center of ceremony. Three Corn Maidens is the second design in the American Indian College Fund’s series of student-designed blankets. The Three Corn Maidens design won first place in the student blanket contest.

If you’d like to support that AICF through a blanket, you can see all the designs here. Since 1995, Pendleton Woolen Mill’s support of the American Indian College Fund (the Fund) has helped more than 400 students pursue their dreams of obtaining a college degree through the Pendleton Woolen Mills Tribal College Scholarship Program, which provides scholarships to American Indian students attending tribal colleges and universities (TCUs) in Washington and Montana, and the Pendleton Endowment Tribal Scholars Program, which provides scholarships in perpetuity to Native students attending TCUs throughout the United States.

“We are always inspired by the individual stories of struggle and triumph of the students who receive the scholarships,” said Robert Christnacht, Pendleton Home Division Manager. “Pendleton is honored to be able to contribute to the long-term growth of the tribal college system through the American Indian College Fund.”

 

Lou Doillon via Garance Doré

Here’s Lou Doillon perched on her Chief Joseph blanket from fashion photographer, illustrator, and writer Garance Doré. Beautiful!

Lou courtesy Garance Doré

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