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