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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

Our Grateful Nation

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.

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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.

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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’re bringing back the Grateful nation vest this next fall, in 2014. 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.

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Click below for more information about the blanket and the meaning of each service ribbon stripe. Read more

The Turnabout: Pendleton’s Reversible Skirt for 2013

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 “Give it a whirl….it’s Reversible! It’s the Turnabout, with a gay way of whirling when you walk.”  Pendleton’s Turnabout debuted in 1953, and along with the poodle skirt, it was THE skirt craze of the 1950s. Every teenaged girl coveted one. Our customers have shared their stories with remarks like, “None of the others on the block ever forgave my parents for buying me my reversible skirt, because after that, ALL the girls had to have one.” But parents didn’t do all the buying. Summer jobs, babysitting money, berry picking; you did what you had to, to have a Pendleton Turnabout. Perhaps no other garment in fashion history has inspired so much teenage industry.

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Carly Weasel Child, our new Calgary Stampede Indian Princess

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Here at Pendleton, we have been proud to support the rein of Amber Big Plume, the Calgary Stampede Indian princess for 2013. We are just as excited about Carly Weasel Child, the 2014 Princess. That’s her, posed before the Canadian Rockies in a coat made from our Canyon Diablo blanket. From the Siksika Nation, Carly is currently attending Siksika College. Her eventual goal is a  Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications, to prepare for a future career in journalism or public relations.

Carly is a jingle dancer. Her Blackfoot name, Papainhkkiakii, means“Dream Singing Woman”.  As the 2014 Indian Princess, Carly continues a family legacy, being the fourth young woman in her family to serve as royalty. She says of being princess, “It’s an incredible honor to carry the title of Calgary Stampede Indian Princess and have this opportunity to make a positive impact for my community.  I have always admired the strong women who have served as Indian Princess before me and I am so excited to share the beauty and importance of the First Nation’s culture during my year. I look forward to greeting visitors from around the world to Indian Village during the 2014 Calgary Stampede – the Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth!”

Below, please enjoy some shots of the Pendleton blanket-draped stage, Amber Big Plume saying good-bye, and more shots of Carly in her new role. Our favorite shot is of both women wrapped in their blankets, gifts from Pendleton to celebrate their roles as representatives of the five tribes of Treaty 7, the Indian Village and the Calgary Stampede.

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