National Park Week and Hurley – Pendleton for Spring and Summer 2019

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April brings us National Park Week, when we celebrate America’s Treasures! The festivities will kick off on April 20th, when all entrance fees will be waived. Other events are planned, so see what’s going on in your favorite park and join in.

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There has never been a better time to celebrate and support the work of the National Park Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to preserving and protecting America’s public lands and monuments for future generations.

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We worked with Hurley this year on a special capsule that honors both the Badlands National Park and Acadia National Park. This is part of our ongoing support of America’s national parks through sales of our park blankets and National Park collaborations.

See the collection here: Hurley and Pendleton

Read more about National Park Week here: National Park Week

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Sunrise Eagle for the softest naps and night times.

Is a new baby in the future for you or someone you love? If you’re looking for an heirloom baby blanket to welcome a little one, consider Sunrise Eagle.

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This child-sized blanket is made in the USA in our Pacific Northwest mills, and features soft virgin wool, bright colors, and a stirring story about the “super eagle,” Thunderbird.

Sunrise Eagle

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Thunderbird is important to many tribes and nations. He is often a messenger and a protector who brings the power of storms and the renewal that follows. In Navajo culture, some legends say Thunderbird’s eyes are made of the sun. When Thunderbird sleeps, night comes. When Thunderbird wakes, sunrise begins. Southwest symbols for rain, sun, storms are governed by Thunderbird’s mighty wingspan and voice of thunder. He watches over the world with eyes that hold the sun.

There is also a hooded towel in this pattern, for after-bath snuggles. (see it here)

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And while you’re at it, maybe Mom and Dad want a little Sunrise Eagle of their own?

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Cardigan

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Men’s tee

In a towel, in a blanket, or in your arms, however you wrap them, babies are wonderful. Here’s to some sleep-filled nights for the new addition.

Retiring Pendleton Blankets for 2019

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Every year, we retire some of our blanket designs to make room for more. This year, we have some beautiful blankets saying good-bye. You’ll find neutral geometric designs that have become so popular, like Beargrass Mountain and Santa Clara. You’ll also find the bold and colorful geometric designs for which we are so well-known, like Arrow Revival and Eagle Gift. Baby blankets, knitted throws, collaborations and so much more—take a look! Go here to see the full selection: Retiring for 2019

Below are some favorites that you won’t want to miss, all woven and manufactured in the USA in Pendleton’s Pacific Northwest mills.

Neutral Geometrics

Compass Point

This contemporary pattern also comes in a throw that features a central Greek cross. Shee it here: Compass Point Throw

Compass point

North, South, East, West; these are the Cardinal Directions, immortal points on the compass. In this contemporary pattern, each arm of the Greek cross reaches toward one of Earth’s Four Corners, pointing the way to wealth, knowledge and relaxation. Sailors traveled North on high waves to fish the icy waters, South to breathe the balmy air of the Tropics, East to load their ships with profitable trade goods and West to encounter new lands, new dangers, new opportunities. The compass points guide every ship’s journey, showing a path to adventure.

Santa Clara

Subtle hues that echo adobe architecture make this blanket versatile.

Santa Clara

In 1777, Franciscan padres established Santa Clara Mission in California’s fertile Santa Clara valley. It was supported through the labors of the Tamyen, Ohlone and Costanoan peoples. When the mission system ended, Santa Clara Mission continued to serve as a place of worship. The church was destroyed three times, but has always been rebuilt. In 1926, the current structure was constructed with the distinctive architecture and subtle stucco hues echoed in this design.  Today, Mission Santa Clara de Asís serves as the chapel on Santa Clara University campus.

Colorful Geometrics

Southern Highlands

This pattern has been a hit in our Baggu collaboration!

Southern Highlands

Southern Highlands celebrates the traditional craft of wool coverlet weaving as practiced by the women of the Appalachian region of the Southeastern United States. Appalachians settled in remote hills and valleys, and survived by hunting, gathering and small-scale agriculture. Their rustic cabins were filled with objects made from materials at hand.  For coverlets, women grew flax and cotton on the same property where sheep were raised for wool. Hand-carded and spun, with dyestuffs derived from walnut shells, indigo and other colored flora, coverlets were hand-loomed in the four-harness overshot method. Traditional colors were blue, red and green, woven on a white or cream warp. Patterns range from circles to intricate geometric eye-dazzlers. The woven coverlet inspired great artistry in Appalachian weavers. Today, their work is admired and preserved in museums and collections across the country.

Hacienda

It’s hard to say farewell to this one; Hacienda is a popular blanket that has been in the line for a decade.

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Timeless geometric shapes give universal appeal to the nine-element design in this USA-made wool blanket. The stripes, crosses, triangles and diamond motifs in this pattern are interpretations of the symbols common in many early Navajo blankets. Crosses represent completeness and the four directions: North, West, South and East. Arrows signify movement, power and life force. Like traditional Navajo designs, this pattern continues to the edges of the blanket to prevent evil spirits from being trapped within.

Pictorial Blankets

Buffalo Wilderness

The great Plains Bison is the star of this blanket, one of many we’ve woven to celebrate the buffalo. You can see more retired examples here: Buffalo blankets

Buffalo Wilderness

This design honors a time when millions of bison roamed North America’s grassy plains. Today our National Parks protect the last remaining wild herds. One of the largest herds of free-ranging wild buffalo lives in Yellowstone National Park. It’ thought to be the only place in the United States where bison have lived continuously since prehistoric times. You can also see herds in Badlands, Grand Teton, Theodore Roosevelt and Wind Cave National Parks.

Full Moon Lodge

This design plays on the luminous combination of blue and orange. Learn more about the artist behind the blanket here: Starr Hardridge

Full Moon Lodge

A USA-made wool blanket created in partnership with artist Starr Hardridge. This design illustrates the relationship between humankind, Mother Nature and the creator of the universe whose medicine is love. It acknowledges our place between the sun and the full moon. Part of our Legendary Collection, this design honors stories and symbols of Native American cultures.

So get them while they’re here—they are saying good-bye soon!

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Photo by Kristen Frasca

http://www.kristenfrasca.com/

https://www.instagram.com/kristenfrasca/

 

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Running Wild and Scenic with Greg Hatten and OPB

Editor’s note: Our friend and brand ambassador, Greg Hatten, will be featured on Oregon Field Guide this Thursday, March 7th. Greg was part of a wild and scenic river trip led by Jeremy Starr. Enjoy his words about what’s behind the episode, and be sure to tune in! “Oregon Field Guide” airs Thursday evenings at 8:30 p.m. and repeats Sundays at 1:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. In the Mountain Time zone of Eastern Oregon, the program airs at 9:30 p.m. Thursdays, and at 7:30 p.m. Sundays. Enjoy!

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There are 209 rivers in the United States protected by the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. Oregon has 58 of those which, when added together, equal almost 2,000 miles of protected, scenic river.

The Rogue River was one of the original eight rivers inducted into the program and is one of my favorites in the state of Oregon. We run it at least once a year – me and the band of rowers I run with. Our group of river runners is diverse and highly skilled in the arts of rowing, problem solving, outdoor adventure, camping, knot tying, open-fire cooking, fly fishing, river rescue and other handy skills.

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(see blanket here)

A few months ago, on the 50th Anniversary of that legislation, we invited Oregon Public Broadcasting to join us on a tribute trip as we tipped our hats and raised our glasses to the river runners who came before us on the Rogue and charted a course we are privileged to follow every Fall.

For this trip I was privileged to row a replica boat with a design that originated in the early 1940’s – on loan from Roger Fletcher who helped build the boat that’s a perfect twin of the original double-ender on display under the shelter behind Paradise Lodge on the Wild and Scenic Rogue. Rowing a boat with such a history on this tribute trip was pretty amazing.  (I returned it to Roger after the trip in the same shape as when I picked it up – whew).

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 As we wrapped our hands around the worn handles of our oars and pushed off from Graves Creek on an early morning last October, we were immediately swept into that “other” world of white water, jagged rocks, technical rapids, steep green mountains, and a connection with history. Our boats became time machines once again and took us back to an era where the boats were wood, the bears patrolled the river banks and otters barked at intruders. These wild and scenic rivers plunge us into a wilderness which seems as untouched and raw today as I imagine them one hundred years ago.

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Since the winds of the west blew us together fifteen years ago, our group has rowed thousands of river miles and several thousands rapids. There is a rhythm to our routine which is second nature and familiar even though it can be months between trips.

The Oregon Field Guide crew of three had their own rhythm, having shot thousands of hours of outdoor footage together. Their heavy cameras and assorted gear was as weathered as our own river gear and showed the signs of being dragged up mountains, down rivers, and through forests all over the Pacific Northwest.

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Both groups meshed well together from the very beginning. We shared a mission on this trip to connect people to the Rogue River and celebrate its history. We wanted to pay homage to the river runners of the Rogue even before there was a Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. We hoped to take viewers back to a time of wood boats and wilderness where they could smell the campfires and feel the dew at first light on the river.

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(see blanket here)

So when I was asked the question, with a microphone in my face and the camera’s rolling, “Why is it so important to keep these wild places wild?” imagine my disappointment when I opened my mouth and nothing came out. I froze. In my big moment to drive the point home and talk about why these rivers should be protected I stumbled and stuttered and could not form a complete sentence with all the points rattling around in my head.

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photo by Dave Zielinski

I wanted to talk about how small and vulnerable we all feel when faced with the challenge of rowing a difficult rapid in such a wild and remote place. I meant to compare the vulnerability of our boats to our wild rivers and remind people that if you take your eye off the ball for even a second when rowing a boat you will lose it. Same with these wild rivers. Take your eye off the river and someone will be there to exploit it with a casino, a helicopter, a dam, a tram, mining rights, and any number of things that would compromise its character and make it less wild.

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photo by Dave Zielinski

These wild and scenic rivers are beautiful, natural, rugged, and incredible reminders of how spectacular the wilderness can be when it is undeveloped. We need these wild places as sanctuaries to visit and connect with nature in a state of raw and wild beauty. Selfishly, we want these rivers to stay wild and scenic so we can challenge our skills as river runners and outdoor enthusiasts in an environment that is primitive and demanding.

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We want to be able to pass this gift of unspoiled wilderness along to our children’s children – so we will continue to keep our eye on the ball to preserve our boats and our rivers just like the river stewards who came before us. When the Oregon Field Guide camera was rolling I was unable to find the words, but am quite sure the pictures and video will have a far greater impact than anything I could’ve said anyway.

You’ll have to watch the program to find out!

Greg Hatten

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Willow Inspiration – soft, flexible, and surprisingly sturdy

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It’s been a long, late winter, and we are ready for Spring with cotton, silk, and patterns that remind us of growth and harmony.

Willow Inspiration

Weaving baskets from willow has long been associated with tribes of the American Southwest. Basketry among Native American’s varies by region because of the materials available. In the Northeast, weavers work with sweet grass or ash splints. In the Southeast, baskets are made with bundled pine needles or rivercane. Northwestern tribes use the abundant cedar bark, spruce roots, and grasses of the region. Tribes of the Southwest use sumac or willow wood.

This is a living art form, very much in practice. This video portrays a contemporary basket maker, Margaret Acosta. In the museum shots, watch for a vintage Pendleton blanket on the wall!

 

Willow Basket Blankets

Our Willow Basket cotton blankets, inspired by the intricate beauty of handcrafted baskets, are woven  for us in Germany from 100% certified organic cotton. Why Germany? Well, we are masters weavers of wool. For cotton blankets, we turned to the experts in Germany to find the quality we wanted.

Ultrasoft, lightweight and woven of the finest yarns, our cotton blankets are made with the same quality and care as our world-class wool. This exclusive pattern is woven in soft hues to match any room. Machine-washable organic cotton is certified socially and environmentally responsible by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). See them here: Willow Basket Blanket

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If you love the Willow Basket pattern, you can also check out Mojave Twill and Yuma Star, two more beautiful organic cotton blanket patterns.

Silk gets Willowy

The lacy woven patterns of willow baskets also inspired a silk fabric for our Women’s line this spring – Willow Creek.

 

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See it here: Willow Creek

 

A Gift to Honor: Pendleton Blankets and U.S. Presidents

In honor of Presents’ Day, please enjoy this guest post by Pendleton’s Archivist and Historian, Richard Hobbs. Mr. Hobbs wishes to thank Verna Ashton for her research assistance for this article.

 

“Gifting to politicians is basically about status and respect.”

— Robert Christnacht

 

At Pendleton Woolen Mills, “robe” is both a noun and a verb.  And, it’s no accident.

Giving a Pendleton blanket to a family member, friend, or distinguished person—for example, a U. S. President—is a powerful symbol that carries a wealth of history and tradition.  “It is the ultimate in showing respect,” notes Bob Christnacht, EVP Sales and Marketing.

Pendleton has been producing beautiful wool blankets for Native Americans (and others, of course) since 1909.  Two of the distinctive features of the company’s culture interwoven throughout its history are our alliance with Native American tribes, and our unwavering commitment to making premium quality merchandise.

For tribal members, the custom of “robing” may be used to mark an important event, to Honor a dignitary, or to recognize a significant achievement in one’s life.  At the most elemental level, it represents a gift that has life-sustaining properties.  The custom attracted media attention in 2016 at the White House-sponsored National Congress of American Indians when President of the Congress, Brian Cladoosby, emphasized, “To blanket is to remember those we honor, those we lost, and those who are going to build our futures.”

For nearly a century, various tribes have occasionally honored a visiting President (and sometimes First Lady) with one of Pendleton’s fine “Warranted To Be …” blankets.  “Gifting to politicians,” says Christnacht, “is basically about status and respect.”

For Pendleton, the custom began in 1923 when local tribes presented President Warren G. and Mrs. Florence Harding with the special “Harding” shawl, named in honor of the First Lady, at the dedication of the Oregon Trail marker in Meacham, Oregon.  Presidents and First Ladies robed since then include Calvin Coolidge (1925; he was also adopted into the Osage tribe), Herbert Hoover (1930), Eleanor Roosevelt (1941), Harry Truman (1950), Dwight Eisenhower (1954), Barbara Bush (1992), Bill Clinton (2000), George Bush, Sr. (2005), Laura Bush (2005), Barack Obama (2016) and Michelle Obama (2016).

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First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt accepts a Pendleton blanket (about 1941).

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President Harry Truman receives a “Chief Joseph” blanket while on tour in Pendleton, Oregon, 1950.

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President Dwight Eisenhower accepts a “Harding” blanket during the dedication  ceremony for McNary Dam in eastern Oregon, 1954

 

Clinton

President Bill Clinton shows off the “White Buffalo Calf Woman” blanket he received at the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument in Nebraska, 2000.

 

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President Barack Obama is wrapped in a custom tribal robe, woven for the Swinomish Tribe, at the Tribal Nations Conference in Washington, D.C., 2016.

 

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First Lady Michelle Obama is robed with a “Chief Joseph” blanket at Santa Fe Indian School, 2016

Serape Blankets and a Valentine Giveaway

Ah, the serape. Just looking at it makes you happy. This blanket reads modern, but it’s been around for a long time. Colorful, sturdy and functional, this blanket shawl was part of life in the traditional Mexican home, where it could serve as clothing, bedding and shelter. Colorful, versatile and fun; no wonder it’s a Pendleton customer favorite.

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The serape’s roots are in the Mexican weaving tradition, but it is now common to both Spanish and Native American textiles. It’s known by many names throughout Mexico, including chamarro, cobiga, and gaban. It can be woven of a variety of materials and patterns but is generally lighter in weight. Different regions use different palettes, from the elegant neutrals of the Mexican highlands to the bold gradients of Coahuila.

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Here’s a photo of a Native family in a historic Babbitt Brothers wagon with a serape peeking over the edge. This was taken in the Southwest, where the Babbitts plied (and still ply) their trade.

Pendleton’s serapes are woven of 82% wool/18% cotton in bands of gradient colors to achieve that beautiful eye-popping dimensional effect.

This is your perfect spring and summer blanket, just waiting to be invited along wherever you go. And this week (2/14/19 through 2/17/19) we are giving one away on Instagram! So go enter!

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P.S. Serape stripes are not just for blankets!

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While you’re visiting www.pendleton-usa.com , Be sure to check out our serape stripe beach towels, the Pendleton and Tommy Bahama collaboration, and our men’s popover hoodie in a special heavy cotton chamois that’s brushed on both sides for ultimate comfort.

 

Thistle for Spring

Why thistle?

There are two stories behind Pendleton’s affinity with thistle. One is about the thistle’s long-ago part in getting fleece ready for weaving.

The process of carding wool cleans, mixes and smooths fibers as part of the transformation of fleece into yarn. The word “carding,” from the Latin carduus, means thistle or teasel. In weaving’s earliest days, dried teasels and thistles were used to pick raw wool as the first step in carding.

Once wool was spun and woven, handheld combs called “teasel crosses” were used to ‘full’ woven goods to raise the nap. You can see one here: teasel cross  So you can understand our love for a plant that was an actual tool for wool processing!

Tartans & Pendleton

The thistle stands fair and tall, with a nectar-filled flower that is well-protected. This duality of nectar and spike befits the national bloom of Scotland, home to the tartans for which Pendleton Woolen Mills is renowned. Our affinity for tartans is so strong that Pendleton used thistle-patterned buttons on many items of tartan womenswear in the 1950s through the 1970s.

You can see those buttons and learn about the vintage skirt that inspired our modern Thistle pattern in this video. It features some of our favorite designers talking about adapting vintage inspiration to modern designs.

Thistle for Spring

We took our Thistle inspiration into Spring with lighter weight wool, for a versatile layer that keeps you just the right amount of warm during transitional weather. It’s a lined dress-up-or-down jacket with a flattering neckline, cozy cuffs, neck and hem, and those all-important pockets. The fabric is woven in our own USA mills.

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We love the colors. Check it out here: Thistle Bomber Jacket  

New for Spring 2019 – Spirit Seeker

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Another beautiful blanket for Spring 2018 has arrived at the website!

Spirit Seeker

The Spirit Seeker blanket is predominantly woven in indigo and cream. Accent colors of lime green, orange and fuchsia are used sparingly in complex bands of arrows and flowers. It’s a beautiful arrangement of line and color!

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The blanket’s reverse lets the accent colors shine.

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Spirit Seeker:

The quest for knowledge leads the spiritual seeker on many paths. In Australia, bush people go on ritual wanderings known as walkabouts. The Babongo people of Africa have a rebirthing ritual that includes a journey to find spiritual truth.  Native Americans from many different tribes go on vision quests, rites of passage that include fasting, prayer, and a solitary journey to find life’s purpose. Spirit Seeker celebrates Spirit Seekers and their journeys with multi-directional arrows bordering a medallion, the central truth reached by multiple paths.

Perfect for Spring, perfectly Pendleton.

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Pendleton Fabric Expertise – A Story of Generations

Pendleton textiles are renowned for their quality, beauty and craftsmanship. Where did we learn to make fabric like this? Our expertise is generational, earned over a century of weaving in America.

The Beginning

The company known today as Pendleton Woolen Mills actually had its genesis in one mill; the Thomas Kay Woolen Mill in Salem, Oregon, founded by Thomas Kay, a master weaver from England.

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Thomas Kay brought extensive knowledge to his own mill, after a career that started in his childhood as a bobbin boy, and grew into management of large mills in the UK and the US before he finally opened his own. He specialized in fabrics for tailoring, and produced the first bolt of worsted wool west of the Mississippi.

The Next Generation

His daughter, Fannie Kay, became her father’s protégé in her teen years. She learned weaving and mill management at her father’s side. Fannie Kay became Fannie Bishop upon her marriage to Charles P. Bishop, a prominent Salem merchant. Their three sons opened the Pendleton Woolen Mill in Pendleton, Oregon, in 1909. That mill is still running today! The Kay/Bishop history extends through today’s Pendleton. The Bishop family still owns and operates Pendleton Woolen Mills. And Pendleton’s fabric expertise grows each year, as we challenge ourselves to do more with wool.

Today’s Mills

Fabric weaving was once a major industry in the United States, with more than 800 mills in operation. Today only a handful of those mills remain.  Our facilities in Pendleton, Oregon, and Washougal, Washington, are two of the very few woolen mills still operating in North America.

Pendleton, Oregon

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The Pendleton, Oregon mill opened in 1909, taking over a defunct wool-scouring plant on the banks of the Columbia River and transforming it into a full mill under the direction of Clarence, Roy and Chauncey Bishop. The location had been scouted by Fannie Kay Bishop, who encouraged her sons to make use of the existing building, the nearby Columbia River, and the supply of high quality wool fleece available from local sheep ranchers.

The company’s original products were wool blankets for Native American customers. Today, the Pendleton mill is open for tours. Travelers can watch those world-famous blankets being woven on two-story looms.

Washougal, Washington

Our Washougal facility sits on the banks of the Columbia River at the entry to the scenic Columbia River Gorge. The Washougal community helped fund the startup of this mill in 1912, and it has been a major employer in this small Washington town ever since.

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The additional mill gave Pendleton the ability to weave a wider variety of fabrics.

AirLoom Merino (found in our Sir Pendleton shirts) and Umatilla woolen fabric (found in so many of our flannel shirt styles) are both woven in Washougal, as well as fabrics for the women’s line.

Its roots may be historic, but the Washougal mill is a 300,000-square-foot model of modern efficiency. Mill owners come from around the world to tour it, and to learn about Pendleton’s weaving techniques, dyeing processes, and fabric finishing.

The Fabrics

Pendleton Woolen Mills has maintained the quality and craftsmanship of its textiles through decade upon decade of manufacturing in its own facilities. This allows us to maintain quality control from start to finish, from fleece to fashion. Our state-of-the-art computer dyeing technology controls water, dyes, heat, and more. Carding machines, looms and finishing processes are also computer-controlled, allowing for minute adjustments to guarantee uniformity of weave, weight and hand.

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We can perfect it because we control it, and it shows in our fabrics. We will be exploring some of those special fabrics in the months to come. We hope you’ll follow along.

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