A happy Fourth
To all of you from all of us here at Pendleton Woolen Mills. Have the best Independence Day ever!
Backpack by Hold Fast Gear
Welcome to the most visited national park in the United States, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. These misty mountains welcome nine to ten million visitors per year. The park covers more than 800 square miles in Tennessee and North Carolina, making it the largest national park east of the Rockies.
We sent our blanket home to the Great Smokys with one of our #pendle10park explorers. True to their name, the mountains were cloaked with heavy mist, caused by high elevation, 80 inches of rainfall per year, and a multitude of flora; 130 species of trees, over 100 native shrub species, and some 1,600 species of flowering plants.
The Cherokee called the region Shaconage, which translates to “mountains of the blue smoke.”
The park is home to many beautiful waterfalls that also play a part in creating that wonderful haze.
As an International Biosphere Reserve, the Park’s biological diversity is preserved and studied. A staggering 10,00 different species of plants and animals are recorded here, but there may be as many as 9o,000 more species of plant an animal life still to be identified.
With the help of a distance lens, our explorer encountered some of this wildlife, including one of the park’s 1500 black bears.
Elk, which were re-introduced to the park in 2001, are becoming more common. A herd of around 140 ranges on the North Carolina side of the park. Again, we promise that these beautiful shots were taken at a distance.
Great Smoky National Park is open 365 days a year, and park entry is free. Free! Yes, that means you have access to 850 miles of hiking (there is a fee for overnight camping. But it’s worth it to wake up and smell the coffee in a paradise like this.
Many thanks to our #pendle10park explorer, Ben Matthews.
See more of Ben’s work here:
Shop Pendleton’s National Park collection here: Great Smoky
In 2010, Pendleton Woolen Mills introduced our Tribute Series, paying homage to four of the American Mills that thrived during the Golden Age of Trade blankets. Today, we will talk about Racine Woolen Mills, known for their intricate patterns.
In 1865, a Racine company began producing textiles under the name Blake & Company under the leadership of Lucien Blake and John Hart. In 1877, the company incorporated under the name of “Racine Woolen Mills—Blake & Company.” Racine Woolen Mills went on to become the premier producer and marketer of Trade blankets destined for commerce with Native Americans.
Racine was well-established by 1893. Records show employees of 150 skilled weavers and gross sales of $300K, which was an robust amount for the day. Racine’s fringed shawls were produced under the “Badger State” label. These earliest shawls are relatively subdued by today’s standards, mostly plain with an in intricately designed border. Photos of these vintage shawls show the superior drape of the fabric. They were extremely popular with Native American women.
Native American women in Racine’s Ribbon-pattern shawls
Each of the companies in our tribute series has its own trademark specialty. Buell is known for faithful reproduction of Native American weaving patterns. Oregon City is famed for fanciful figural patterns and unexpected, riotous color. Racine Woolen Mills blankets are valued for unexpected, intense colors and intricate patterns. Diamonds, crescent moons, five-pointed stars, ribbon bows, compass roses, combs, waterbugs, pipes and feathers are woven with definition and clarity. The sheared finish of a vintage Racine blanket keeps the designs crisp and the hand smooth.
The famed Racine quality was maintained after production was taken over by another fine weaving mill, Shuler & Benninghofen, a mill that produced blankets for Racine until (approximately) 1915. Racine continued to merchandise and market trade blankets procured from different manufacturers until 1940 or so. They seem to have stopped offering wool trade blankets after that, though they kept on as a wholesaler of other styles of woolen blankets and goods until 1951, when Racine Woolen Mills closed doors for good.
Hidatsa Man by Edward Curtis
According to our friend Barry Friedman in his book Chasing Rainbows, “The last ‘genuine’ Racine blankets were made in the 1930s, when John Hart asked Paul Benninghofen to make one of the old patterns. It was a special favor, because by then Shuler & Benninghofen no longer produced trade blankets and Racine hadn’t contracted to have them made there or anywhere else in years.” The Racine blankets beloved by collectors come from the golden years of 1893-1912, and the Pendleton Mill Tribute blankets are re-creations of blankets from that period.
Racine #7 (available here): Muted colors were rare for Racine. The original blanket was woven for Racine Woolen Mills by Shuler & Benninghofen.
Racine #6 (available here): Tomahawks, Bows and Arrows
Racine #5 (retired): Banded Diamonds
Racine #4 (retired): A dizzying array of color, sawteeth and stars
Racine#3 (retired, with a limited number available here): Crescent Moon and Shining Star
Racine #2 (retired): Pipe and Feather – the other elements are two Navajo weaving combs, and an arrow under the pipe
Racine #1 (retired): Class Y in the Racine catalog, “Yuma” in the Shuler & Benninghofen catalog
Racine Woolen Mills has an interesting intersection with Pendleton’s history. In 1905, Racine Woolen Mills was furiously negotiating to buy a struggling mill in Pendleton, Oregon, with plans to increase trade blanket production by 300 percent. Those negotiations proved fruitless, and the Pendleton mill went silent in 1908. In 1909, Fanny Kay Bishop organized her three sons to take it over and transform it into the company we know today.
If Racine Woolen Mills had purchased the mill, who knows what the Pendleton story would have been?
There are many, many products out there claiming to be green. From the sheep to the shelf, Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool® passes strict standards of sustainability and stewardship, verified and certified. This means that if you were to take a Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool® blanket and bury it, it would leave the earth better, not worse, for the addition. That’s a nice way to explain it, but we make blankets for you to use, not to bury. Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool® products are designed to be delightful to touch, easy to care for and beautifully colored. And they are woven in the USA of 100% virgin wool.
Let’s start with our newest throws for 2016. The Wool Herringbone throw is a classic herringbone weave that has enough pattern and texture to be interesting, but works well with any of our solids, stripes or plaids.
Also, we have bed blankets in the beautiful ombre plaids you think of when you think of Pendleton.
Be sure to check out the classic plaids, stripes and checks, too.
These new block plaids coordinate with the stripes, and they are just begging to be thrown over the arm of your sofa.
The block plaid throws coordinate back to our one-color Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool® bed blankets. Here are some of our solids and heathers.
Wool is a perfect choice for top-of-bed. There is a subtlety to the texture, nothing shiny or artificial about it, and the colors will remain true forever. Go warm with with traditional plaids, rustic with stripes and heathers, or keep it contemporary with checks. We have you and your bed totally covered.
So give us a visit and see all our colorful ways to be green.
Did you know that Pendleton holds a World Record? Well, now you know! It’s for a blanket, of course.
We think it’s fitting that the oldest and largest U.S. blanket manufacturer would make the world’s longest seamless wool blanket.
432 feet of seamlessly woven fabric equal to approximately 1 ½ football fields in length. The blanket measured 331,800 sq inches, 2,303 sq feet (more square footage than the average house in Portland, Oregon). The blanket required the fleece from over 50 sheep to produce.
380 pounds – so heavy, the blanket was rolled onto a giant spool and transported via forklift.
This is a Northwest effort; the yarn for the blanket was dyed, carded and spun at Pendleton’s Washougal, Washington mill. The 82% pure virgin wool/18% cotton blanket was woven in our Pendleton, Oregon mill. The blanket was washed, felted and bound in Pendleton’s Washougal, WA mill. Pendleton’s jacquard looms, which were used to weave The Largest/Longest Seamless Blanket required 778 minutes to weave. Typically the looms weave one blanket in 12 minutes.
The pattern is an archival design (since retired) that was part of our Heritage line. This is one of Pendleton’s oldest designs, dating back to the early 1900s.
It came to be called the Geronimo pattern after a photo of Chief Geronimo, who was photographed wrapped in a blanket in this pattern.
Chief Geronimo was of the Bedonkohe band of the Chiricahua Apache tribe. His bravery and heroism are legendary. Photo courtesy Barry Friedman
An extremely rare photo of Chief Geronimo and his followers waiting for battle. The Chief stands, unarmed, in front of the mounted warrior. Photo by C. S. Fly, March 1886
The World’s Longest Blanket visited the World Forestry Center in Portland, Oregon, and the Home & Garden Show. It was eventually cut and sewn into specially labeled throws with black felt binding. The proceeds of this sale went to charity. One of the throws is currently hanging in our Heritage hallway, if you’re ever in the neighborhood and would like to see one.
And that’s the story of our world record!
Ed. note: in honor of Valentine’s Day, we bring you a repost on our “Love me” blanket with Curtis Kulig. Enjoy!
Curtis Kulig has left his signature mark all over the world. He’s achieved star status in the art scene, yet remains “SoHo’s most unexpected nice guy,” according to the New York Times. What else could you expect from a Midwesterner who has made his way in New York City based on one ubiquitous phrase:
We are pleased to offer Curtis Kulig’s collaborative blanket with Pendleton Woolen Mills. Kulig brings his two-word manifesto to life in black and cream. Titled ‘Hermann,’ the design takes its inspiration from famed psychologist Hermann Rorschach to offer what Kulig calls “a bit of Love therapy.”
The title is spot-on, as Kulig’s art relies on the response of the beholder. “love me” might be two simple words, but the response is always complicated. Is it a request, a demand, a plea? Is it made in the spirit of humility, desperation or celebration?
Said Kulig, “My dear friend Lindsey Thornburg asked me if I’d like to work with Pendleton and that’s what started the conversation. They are an amazing brand, truly American, and the craftsmanship that goes into every piece is incredible. I’m really honored to design a one of a kind blanket for them.”
The Curtis Kulig “Love Me” Hermann Blanket is produced in Pendleton’s original mill in Pendleton, Oregon. A patch and certificate authenticate the blanket as part of a very limited series. It’s tied with ribbon that bears Curtis Kulig’s signature mark:
This combines for a meaningful presentation, which is available at pendleton-usa.com.
Bring your Pendleton blanket and find a spot while it’s still dark. Watch the sky turn from black to deep blue as you listen to the calls of waking birds. Hear the rustle of ocean air as it raises waves to lap against the shoreline and skims through the forests of this peaceful paradise. Look to the distance, where the sky meets the Atlantic, and wait for the first rosy rays to brighten the horizon.
This is how you welcome daylight at Acadia National Park.
Acadia National Park is our easternmost national park. Its 47,000 acres reserve most of Mount Desert Island off the Atlantic Coast. Cadillac Mountain, named for French explorer Antoine Laumet de La Mothe, sieur de Cadillac, rises on the eastern side of the island. Its granite summit catches the first daylight in the continental United States each New Year’s Day.
Acadia National Park is part of the area known as the “Dawn land” by its original inhabitants, the Wabaniki people. A confederacy of five First Nations and Native American nations, the Wabaniki includes the Abenaki, Maliseet, Mi’maq, Passamaquoddy and Penobscot people. Ten thousand years before Mount Desert was sighted by Samuel de Champlain, these Algonquian-speaking natives lived in settlements along the Eastern seaboard.
Acadia’s Atlantic coast is a wonderland of ancient, lichen-covered boulders and rugged shoreline. President Woodrow Wilson established it as Sieur de Monts National Monument on July 8, 1916. On February 26, 1919, it was named Lafayette National Park. The name was changed to Acadia on January 19, 1929, to honor the former French colony of Acadia.
George W. Dorr is called the “father of Acadia National Park,” but its financial benefactor was definitely John D. Rockefeller, Jr. He paid to develop over 50 miles of gravel carriage trails, with features that include 17 granite bridges and two historic gate lodges that remain today. Along the paths are many cut granite “coping stones,” which act as rustic guardrails, and are known as “Rockefeller’s teeth.” The Rockefellers helped greatly with the reconstruction of the park after the wildfires of 1947, which destroyed over 10,000 acres.
Today, as one of the most-visited parks in the country, Acadia welcomes hikers and bicyclists to its trails. Forty different species of mammalian wildlife call Acadia home, including (from the small to the large) red and grey squirrels, chipmunks, white-tailed deer, beaver, porcupine, muskrat, foxes, coyotes, bobcats, black bear and moose. Acadia National Park is aided in preservation efforts by the Friends of Acadia, which has worked to create a private endowment that will maintain the current 44 mile carriage trail system in perpetuity.
Acadia National Park is waiting to welcome you, and the dawn, every morning.
Photos by our intrepid #pendle10parks explorers:
Nikolai Karlov – @nikarlov (shots 3, 4, 5 & 6)
David Okoniewski – @oakcanoeski (shots 1 & 2)
Here in the midst of a cold and rainy Oregon winter, Oregonians are always looking for joy. We found it in these engagement photos of Sarah and Jeffrey, who were married in 2015.
The happy couple had their photos taken on Mt. Hood. Fittingly, they are is wrapped in a Pendleton blanket woven for Friends of Timberline. This nonprofit group is dedicated to the preservation and conservation of the historic Timberline Lodge (you can read more about the lodge’s fascinating history–and it is fascinating–here).
We want to say thank-you and congratulations to Sarah and Jeffrey, who were kind enough to share their photos with us. The blanket’s striking monogram was done by a friend of the bride’s mother to commemorate the day of their wedding.
If you’re interested in the Friends of Timberline blanket, please call the gift shop at 503-272-4436. We are always happy to monogram your blankets through our Woolen Mill Store.
It’s going to be a wonderful year to travel our National Parks, thanks to the centennial of the National Park Service. To inspire your own travels, we have a guest blogger from Germany, Eva Maria Kindler. Eva tells the story of her love affair with a vintage Range Rover, and how a side trip from her family’s vacation to America’s wilderness areas resulted in some beautiful inspiration.
Today, I am giving you a free pass to my feelings. A story about true love and a passion that I am losing my head over. It’s, of course, about a car.
Only love makes a few thousand dollars annually at the repair shop and seven gallons per 60 miles tolerable (I know, this might not be much for an average American car, but for us Germans that’s A LOT).
But I have a few rational points in my defense, or you may call it self-delusion:
I bought it for only $1,000 and a bottle of Tanqueray Gin from the owner of Chelsea Farmers Club in Berlin, a quirky British Concept Store. Besides, the carbon footprint of this old car gets better every day.
In fact, it’s about something else: (under)statement, British lifestyle and the successful and credible synthesis of Salon and agricultural utility-vehicle. The Range Rover Classic (RRC). Many praises are sung of the Range Rover Classic as the first, true SUV on this planet. I am not dwelling on that. It’s simply a cool ride.
It has character: attractive, comfy, with plenty of room (again, for a British car) and a survivor. Perfect for pulling out bushes in the garden, which I’ve done several times. By the way, my car is from 1994, but looks 20 years older. Only a car is allowed to do that.
This year, I was up for something crazy. That is, taking out the door mats to see what was underneath. Long story short: it was painful and costly. But the whole six weeks in car rehab were all worth it. The RRC came back fresh and strong in a beautiful matte-green finish (it took me 2 months and 5 cans of spray paint to find the right tone).
While the car was having its face lift, we took a six-week family road trip throughout the American Northwest and the Rocky Mountains. We had a lot of time to think about the inner beautification of the car. The roof lining was hanging down. So we asked ourselves the question, how, from a design perspective, the iconic British fits together with something truly American. Or: do American patterns go with a British National Monument? Of course!
So we took a little detour to Pendleton Woolen Mills and bought 7yd 2ft of heavy wool fabric and took it back to Germany.
Typically, the fabric suitable for the roof and door lining is as thick as a t-shirt. We took a wool blanket to our local saddlery and asked them to do the job. What can I say! They did a great job. The result is better than we expected. We call it the Range Rover Classic Pendleton Edition.
Tomorrow, I am taking the car back to the repair shop. There are new things to be fixed. I drive the car to the garage, and jog back. Doing something for the Carbon Footprint!
Original post here: The Waldfrieden State
Dia de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is celebrated on October 31st and November 1st and 2nd. In Mexico, celebrants build ofrendas, altars to the deceased, with photos, candles, and the favorite foods of those who have moved on. In Brazil, families visit churches, then visit cemeteries. In Spain, celebrants enjoy festivals and parades throughout certain neighborhoods. Wherever the holiday is observed, the spirits of the departed are welcomed back to this world with specific symbols; calaveras (sugar skulls), masses of stylized flowers, and dressed skeletons.
The roots of the holiday go back more than 3,000 years ago, to the age of the Aztecs and a ritual that celebrated the goddess Mictecacihuatl. The skulls and flowers symbolized death and rebirth. In the 15th century, Spanish conquistadores were aghast at a ritual that seemed to mock death. In an attempt to make the ceremony more Christian, the Spaniards moved the event to All Saints’ Day, but the symbology remained, growing more fanciful and varied through the generations.
The central figure of our Day of the Dead blanket represents the colorful wooden skull masks or calacas that celebrants wear as they dance to honor their dead relatives. The wooden skulls, decorated sugar skulls and marigolds are placed at gravesites and altars for the departed. The blanket’s bright colors and festive images of flowers and mariachi musicians capture the spirit of the celebration. This blanket inspired a collaboration with GNU and Barrett Christie, which you can see and read about here: Women Who Shred
We have a related pattern called Sugar Skulls based on one of the elements in the Day of the Dead blanket. It’s used in fabric, an array of bags and Diego the bear. Our patterns capture the spirit of joyful welcome as celebrated by people all over the world during Dia de los Muertos.