Making Room on the Loom: Retiring blankets for 2020

Retiring blankets for 2020

Pendleton has been telling stories with our blankets since the first blanket mill opened in 1909. Each year, certain Pendleton blanket designs are retired. These designs are all available at pendleton-usa.com in limited quantities. Is one of these stories yours?

PAINTED HILLS

Pendleton Painted Hills blanket

Rising from the dry plains of Eastern Oregon, bare earth undulates in folds of scarlet, ochre, and yellow. These are the Painted Hills, whose brilliant stripes inspired this design and were created by oxidized mineral deposits in layers of volcanic ash. Adventurers who want to take a road trip into the past can see the hills, visit the nearby John Day Fossil beds and explore the ghost towns of this remote part of Oregon’s landscape.

Learn more here: Painted Hills Blanket

BIGHORN

Pendleton Bighorn blanket

Straddling the borders between Wyoming and Montana, Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is home to spectacular canyons, clear blue waterways and countless wildlife. In 1825, the Bighorn River called famed mountain man Jim Bridger to build a raft of driftwood and ride it through the foaming rapids. Part of the river was dammed to create Bighorn Lake, but the spectacular canyon it carved remains, named for the Bighorn sheep that travel its rocky, treacherous paths. Located in Montana and Wyoming, about one third of the park unit is located on the Crow Indian Reservation. One quarter of the Pryor Mountains Wild Horse Range lies within the Bighorn Canyon Recreation Area.

Learn more here: Bighorn blanket

TURQUOISE RIDGE

Pendleton Turquoise Ridge blanket

Turquoise is known as the “fallen sky stone.” Prized for its beauty in colors that range from white to aqua to deepest green, turquoise has been used for amulets, beads, jewelry, carvings and more for ten thousand years. Legends of the Navajo, Hopi, Pueblo and Apache nations mention turquoise. In one legend, a tremendous drought brought great suffering to the People of the Earth. When the skies finally opened and shed rain on the People, they rose up to sing, dance and shed tears of joy. Their grateful tears mixed with the rain and seeped into Mother Earth to become Sky Stone.

Learn more here: Turquoise Ridge blanket

BUTTERFLY

Pendleton Butterfly blanket - front view

Sitting Bull challenged us all “to put our minds together and see what life we can make for our children.” Sitting Bull College and the American Indian College Fund memorialize his efforts and echo his belief that education can transform the future. We honor Sitting Bull’s legacy with flower and butterfly designs similar to those on his regalia.  A caterpillar’s transition to butterfly mirrors the transformative power of education—a fitting remembrance for such a visionary leader.  Created exclusively for the American Indian College Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps fund scholarships for Native American students and tribal colleges. Your purchase helps support their honorable mission.

Learn more here: Butterfly blanket

Pendleton Butterfly blanket-reverse view

 

Pendleton label with bald eagle: "Pendleton since 1863 Highest Quality Made in the USA."

Heroic Blankets for Independence Day

A young woman stands in front of a mountain, wrapped in a Pendleton Brave Star blanket. Her long blond hair and the blanket are blowing in the wind.

Happy Fourth of July!

Today is the day to celebrate America and her heroes, especially those who proudly served to defend our country. Here are some of our patriotic made-in-the-USA blankets. Click the names to see more information.

Brave Star

Pendleton Brave Star wool blanket in red white and blue

This contemporary interpretation of the American flag is a celebration of the patriotism of Native Americans. In 1875 Indian scouts carried messages from fort to fort in the West. Native American soldiers saw action with Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders in Cuba. And soldiers from many tribes battled in World War II, Korea, Vietnam, the Persian Gulf and Iraq. Five Native Americans have been awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery “above and beyond the call of duty.” The design marries modern asymmetry and vintage Americana. The unique striations, using pulled out yarns, reflect an era when dyes were made from plants.

 

Wildland Heroes

The Pendleton Wildland Heroes blanket.

The scent of smoke fills the air. An orange glow lights the horizon. Mother Nature is on alert, and Wildland Firefighters stand ready to defend her. These brave men and women hold the line against fire’s destruction with team effort; digging lines, running hoses, saving structures when they can. In Pendleton’s tribute to Wildland Firefighting, bands of deep forest alternate with lines of flame, lighting trees endangered by flame. A portion of this blanket’s sales help the Wildland Firefighter Foundation, which supports families and injured firefighters in times of need.

 

Grateful Nation

The Pendleton Grateful Nation blanket.

The Grateful Nation blanket  honors the sacrifice of brave men and women who have defended freedom throughout the history of the United States of America. Each authentically colored stripe represents a service ribbon awarded to veterans of historical conflicts in which our country has engaged:

  • World War II Asiatic Pacific Campaign
  • World War II Europe-Africa-Middle East Campaign
  • Korean Service
  • US Vietnam Service
  • Southwest Asia Service (Gulf War)
  • War on Terrorism

A portion of every blanket’s sale goes to support the Fisher House Foundation and its mission to support the families of veterans. As their website states:

Fisher House Foundation is best known for the network of comfort homes built on the grounds of major military and VA medical centers nationwide and in Europe.   Fisher Houses are beautiful homes, donated to the military and Department of Veterans Affairs.  These homes enable family members to be close to a loved one at the most stressful time – during the hospitalization for a combat injury, illness or disease… Since 1990, the foundation has saved military, veterans and their families an estimated $200 million in out of pocket costs for lodging and transportation.

 

The Few, The Proud

Pendleton Marines blanket featuring the logo of the USMC, red white and blue

The official emblem of the United States Marine Corps, woven in a wool blanket to honor the valor and loyalty of the Marines. The Eagle, Globe, and Anchor is the official emblem of the United States Marine Corps. Each element signifies the Marine Corps mission and legacy. The anchor reflects the naval tradition of the Marines as part of the Department of the Navy. The globe represents readiness to serve in any part of the world. The bald eagle, symbol of America, holds a ribbon in its beak that reads “Semper Fidelis,” or “Always Faithful,” a reference to the unending valor and loyalty of the Corps. Dyed, woven and hand-finished in America for quality that’s second to none.

 

Bighorn

The Pendleton Bighorn blanket.

Straddling the borders between Wyoming and Montana, Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area is home to spectacular canyons, clear blue waterways and countless wildlife. This woven-in-USA pattern was inspired by the colors, history and vast landscape of this special region. In 1825, the Bighorn River called famed mountain man Jim Bridger to build a raft of driftwood and ride it through the foaming rapids. Part of the river was dammed to create Bighorn Lake, but the spectacular canyon it carved remains, named for the Bighorn sheep that travel its rocky, treacherous paths. Located in Montana and Wyoming, about one third of the park unit is located on the Crow Indian Reservation. One quarter of the Pryor Mountains Wild Horse Range lies within the Bighorn Canyon Recreation Area.

 

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The Weavers Series by Pendleton

Collections and Series Blankets

If you collect Pendleton blankets, you are probably aware of our blanket series releases. From the College Fund blankets to the Legendary Collection to the Heritage Collection, we seek out designs that tell a story, both as individual blankets and as grouped collections. Heritage blankets are recreations from our archives. Legendary blankets often showcase designs by contemporary Native American artists. And in the past, we have had the Mill Tribute Series and the Vintage Blanket collection (both retired).

Weavers Series Blankets

The Pendleton Weavers Series is a unique new group of collectible blankets based on weavings by contemporary Native American fiber artists. The original weavings are found in markets or trading posts in the American Southwest by our design team, which selects beautiful examples of handwoven art to translate into Pendleton blankets. The weavers have been excited by this opportunity, which celebrates the tremendous talent, skill and creativity of Native American artists. The series will continue in 2019.

Pendleton Weavers Series blanket number one, from a work by Rosalyn Begay.

Roselyn Begay

The inspiration for this series came from an original work by Roselyn Begay, a Navajo/Dine weaver who lives near Chinle, Arizona. She has been weaving for over fifty years. Her work is available at trading posts and markets in Sedona, Teec Nos Pos, and Ganado. Some of her earliest memories are of watching her mother at the loom. At age five, her mother began teaching Roselyn the art of Navajo weaving.

It began as a 12 x 12 inch table piece, but this design made a gorgeous blanket with unique and subtle colors. It was featured in a VOGUE magazine fashion editorial in 2017.

The Weavers Series blanket in a VOGUE editorial feature.

Mary Henderson

Mary Henderson is a Navajo weaver from Sanostee, New Mexico. Mary has spent 43 years weaving with her mother, aunt, sister-in-law and cousin-sister, teaching and inspiring each other as they work. Her original weavings can be found at the Toadlena Trading Post in New Mexico. She is proud to carry on the traditions of her mother and grandmother, who taught Mary to weave when she was twelve years old.

Pendleton Weavers Series #2, by mary Henderson, a black and white blanket.

Black & White simplicity

Black and white blankets are some of Pendleton’s strongest and most popular designs. They are faithful to their traditional design roots while looking sophisticated in modern decor settings.

Six black and white Pendleton blankets, displayed on a wall mounted rack.

See the Weavers Blankets here: Pendleton Weavers Series

All blankets shown in this post are woven and manufactured in the USA.

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More Wool Fun Facts for January

PlaidSheep

 

More fun facts about wool from another one of our old Education & Testing Department pieces:

Wool History:

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.

Two sheep stand in a field, looking at the camera.

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.

a Shetland sheep

Wool Language:

“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. 

Pendleton Heritage Umatilla Wool — VIDEO with Cameron Krebs

Two men (Cameron Krebs and his father) stand in a flock of sheep. The younger man is holding his toddler-aged daughter in his arms.

Wool is What We Do

We are Pendleton Woolen Mills, and wool is what we do. Just watch and listen to Cameron Krebs, a wool grower from Umatilla County, talking about his family’s generations as wool providers to Pendleton Woolen Mills.

Properties of Wool

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. And thanks to the Krebs family for their participation in this video!

Cameron Krebs, a Pendleton wool grower, holds his duahgter in his arms and stands with his mother and father, looking at a flock of sheep grazing in a cottonwood grove.