Posts tagged ‘pendleton woolen mills’
We’ve talked about wool quite a bit this month. We’ve talked about wool’s properties, history, and even the way it has influenced our language. Wool is the fiber of civilization for so many reasons. One of the most basic is that wool is nature’s first line of defense against the elements. In the age of tech-fibers and synthetics, it’s interesting to read this testimonial from Stephen. He’s a sportsman, model, and wool apparel enthusiast who wrote to tell us exactly how wool saved his life. This is his story.
My name is Stephen and I am a 25 year old model living in New York City. I work as a captain at the Manhattan Yacht Club and hold a 100 ton Coast Guard captains license. In my free time I rock climb, cross country ski and mountain bike, all within the city limits of Manhattan. I have a great respect for wool, since I owe it my life.
Last January I was Cross Country Skiing up in New York’s Adirondack Park. It was sometime during the first polar vortex and I was home spending some time with my family. Our property is connected to one of the largest pieces of public land in the country and we had a fresh blanket of powder, so I decided to go for a solo ski out through my back woods to the lake. After making my way through a half mile of frozen swamp, passing by the beaver dams, the old fallen oaks and hitting the estuary of Dunhams Bay Brook, I was nearly to the main part of Lake George. It was cold. When I say cold, it was record cold, somewhere around negative 30 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of this, I chose to wear wool knee socks, a thick wool sweater and a wool cap layered into my clothing.
I remember the sky being as blue as I had ever seen it and the trees a crisp evergreen as I skied my way onto the main part of the lake. I had been going over water of the estuary for over an hour and assumed that the lake would be just as safe. I was about 100 feet or so from shore when I heard it. CRACK. I looked down and there was black water where white ice once held me. I knew I was going in and there was nothing to be done about it. I immediately went into shock and had no sensation of the actual temperatures that I was being submitted to. I wanted to avoid hyperventilation so I took slow and calculated breaths.
What did I need to do to survive? I attempted to pull myself out of the hole, but the ice kept breaking under my weight. I was able to slide both poles and remove one ski before my hands had lost all feeling. The ice was too thick to chop through and too thin to support me, so, with one ski on, it became clear that I would have to do a series pulling myself up and breaking through the ice to make it back to shore.
I kept my focus on breathing. I have to thank yoga for teaching me to breathe because that is likely one of the first reasons I was able to make it to shore alive. I continued pushing my way to the nearest dock and ignoring the slow break down that my body was experiencing. One push at a time, that is all that mattered. The next push. By the time I got to the dock of the summer home, the right side of my body (which still had a ski attached) was spent and numb. My left side had retained some energy because my leg was able to kick, which kept whatever warmth I had more into that side. I slung my right arm like a rope around the dock post and then the left, and using every last (and I mean every last) bit of energy that I had, pulled myself from the freezing waters.
I was not out of the woods just yet. My right leg was still stuck because of the ski attached. Instead of panicking, I took a few more breaths and calmly found a way to free my right leg from the water. I was not able to take the ski off so I ripped off the whole boot with it and ran up to the deserted summer home (Lake George is a summer colony in upstate New York so the homes are all empty and no one is around for miles). With my still-booted left foot, I desperately tried to kick down the glass door, but that door was solid. I looked around and saw another home further down the lake. This one had an old style windowpane on their green door and I was able to punch through on my first go.
The house was not winterized, so the pipes were frozen solid. No hot water. I found some lighters but my fingers were useless at this point so it would seem that I would need to find another way to warm up. Not to mention I was also bleeding now from breaking in. All over the house there were the plastic bins. I began to tear them open to look for a blanket, a quilt, anything. The last bin I opened had a quilt in it, in which I quickly wrapped myself.
My adrenaline was ebbing and I was starting to wonder about my fate. I still didn’t have a working phone and I didn’t have a means to thoroughly warm myself. As I attempted to use my frozen fingers to light some newspaper, I saw out of the corner of my eye, a 1970s phone sitting on a stack of dusty phone books underneath a desk. I picked it up… and there was a dial tone. I found out later that the phone was not in service but lucky me, you can always call 911.
When the rescuers came to save me, I was bleeding, shivering desperately and had no feeling in most of my body. My fingers would not regain the ability to feel for 4 months. I had never been this cold in all my life and later when my friend had come to pick me up at the hospital, the doctors told me that the wool keeps you warm even when it gets wet, unlike cotton which would have been like having sheets of ice directly on your body. If I were not wearing wool socks I likely would have had frostbite in my legs and needed an amputation. If I were not wearing a wool sweater, my heart would have likely failed. Ever since learning this, I have been throwing away my cotton clothing and replacing it with wool.
If wool saved my life there is a chance it could save someone else’s too.
Stephen kept his cool and stayed calm. His survival was in part due to wool, but it was also his quick thinking, excellent physical condition, and determination to live that saved him. That, and a good old-fashioned land line. And he wants you all to know that the beanie and shirt he’s wearing in the photo above are absolutely made of wool!
Stay warm, and stay woolly.
We are loving this feature of our pullover on LONNY, as worn by the beautiful Joy Bryant of “Parenthood.” She takes readers on a home tour and talk about what’s next, so be sure to check it out. She’s wearing our ivory cashmere sweater, which features a very subtle tonal version of our Chief Joseph design. It’s on sale now at pendleton-usa and it comes in four colors.
Welcome to Caturday, courtesy of the @pendletonwm Instagram.
When we put this post together, we realized that four of the shots are of the same kitty! #Skogkatt is photogenic, as seen here on one of the special blankets we’ve done for the Ace Hotel.
A cat isn’t usually much for camping, but can totally enjoy one of our Yakima Camp blankets.
This pretty Blue has a transfixing gaze, and a Journey West blanket as a background.
Here’s Skogkatt again, looking very mid-century.
We wonder if this cat’s people selected this Basket Dance blanket in part because it coordinates so perfectly with this tabby.
Inquisitive tri-color on a Chief Joseph blanket.
Another Chief Joseph, another tri-color. This is very nap-inspiring, yes?
Tri-color kitten, and one of the special throws we did for One King’s Lane.
#Skogkatt returns, having taken over the crafting basket. You can learn about our fabrics and other craft supplies at our Woolen Mill Store.
That’s all we have for #caturday. We would like to point out that the #pendledogs are winning, on Instagram. We thought cats ruled the internet?
More fun facts about wool from another one of our old Education & Testing Department pieces:
Wool has been an integral part of human life and culture. One of its nicknames is the fiber of civilization.
The sheep industry began in central Asia over 10,000 years ago.
Wool-spinning began in 3500 BC. The first sheep were black; white sheep were a genetic exception that became highly prized because they produce dyeable fiber. Today, black sheep are the genetic exception.
In biblical times, wool was used to collect water; a fleece was left out overnight in the desert to draw dew, to be wrung out the next morning.
Wool fiber has overlapping scales. When heat, moisture and pressure are applied, the scales interlock into an irreversible tangle, as you may have discovered if you ever accidentally washed and dried your favorite wool sweater. This is called “felting.”
Wool was probably first used in felted form as lining for helmets and armor, padding for sandals, cushions for riding horses and camels, and as durable, portable housing for nomadic peoples.
For Asian nomads, wool was so important that in the fourth century, the Chinese called their territory “the land of felt.”
Today, felt is used in felt-tip pens, industrial applications, garments and heavy-duty wool blankets.
The Politics of Wool:
Spain recognized the commercial value of wool, making it a capital offense to export merino sheep.
England’s first great industry was wool. In the Middle Ages, it was the natrion’s largest export resource, with every European country relying on England for wool.
Germany eventually broke England’s hold on the wool market in 1765, when a Spanish king sent 92 rams and 128 ewes to Germany. By the turn of that century, Germany was flooding England’s wool market.
The Medici family of Florence, Italy built their wealth on the wool trade. Their banking industry allowed them the financial ease to offer patronage to artists like Dante, da Vinci and Michelangelo.
Australia’s economy is based on wool and sheep. The first sheep arrived in Australia in 1788 on an English ship full of convicts.
The American Revolution was in part ignited by a stiff tariff imposed to restrict American wool trade to England.
“Dyed in the wool” means genuine and permanent.
To “fleece him” means to swindle him.
To “pull the wool over his eyes” is to fool him.
“Shoddy” is also a wool reference. The term meant re-used wool in Civil War times, and became associated with inferior workmanship.
A “spinster” was an unmarried woman who earned her keep by spinning wool.
A “wolf in sheep’s clothing” is a predator disguised with gentleness.
A “bellwether” is the lead sheep in a flock, and is used to note a change or new direction.
More fun facts about the properties of wool will be coming your way this month, because January is a wonderful month for staying warm, and wool does that so well.
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.
A beautiful Husky on a Chief Joseph blanket.
Just hanging out with the people.
Loki the wolf dog is one of our favorites. He lives a rugged outdoor lifestyle with his person.
Here’s a charming smile for you.
Looking dapper in a kerchief, this blue-eyed beauty takes modeling very seriously.
A Golden fashion statement.
He looks a little guilty, as if he can’t quite believe his luck.
A Labradoodle on a Pendleton Chimayo throw.
Shy is a wee pup now, but we know she’s going to grow up to be big dog.
Same with Foster, who is enamored of his Pendleton scrap toy.
We love going new places, even when they are old places, like “To Sir With Love,” or Petula Clark’s “Downtown.”
The early sixties were a time when the hair got taller, the eyeliner went on thicker, the skirts got shorter and music was pretty wonderful. This editorial captures it perfectly with the Prettiots wearing our Pendleton socks, plaid shirt dress, and Park Stripe pullover.
Thanks for taking us along for the ride, girls.
It’s time to say hello to Father Winter!
He is all decked out in Chimayo fabric, which will certainly keep him warm as he treks across the world bringing presents. This collector’s dream carries Native American-inspired baskets and his own little tree. He would look most festive displayed with our snowglobes.
Father Winter is a Pendleton Holiday tradition.
Available at http://www.pendleton-usa.com.