Yardbird X Pendleton

We just launched!  

Pillows by Yardbird in Pendleton patterns on an outdoor chaise.

We’re excited to show you our newest partnership with Yardbird. This collection seamlessly blends the deeply rooted American heritage designs of Pendleton’s wool blankets and the durability of Sunbrella® outdoor fabrics. Indoors or outdoors, these pillows bring our storied patterns to your home.

The Patterns

Pillows by Yardbird with Pendleton patterns.

Top and Bottom:

Harding – In 1923, President Warren G. Harding and his wife, Florence, visited Oregon’s Blue Mountain Country to dedicate a portion of the Old Oregon Trail. At the ceremony, leaders of the Cayuse and Umatilla Nations presented Mrs. Harding with a newly designed blanket based on the Chief Joseph blanket by Pendleton. In soft colors, the new design represented the First Lady’s sincerity and forthright nature—qualities greatly respected by Native Americans. Named the Harding Robe in 1926, it remains one of the most sought-after patterns manufactured by Pendleton Woolen Mills today.

Middle and Right:

Serape Stripe – Although the serape has its roots in Mexican weaving, Native American tribes in the Southwest began weaving serape-style blankets in the late 19th century. Originally, natural dyes were red or brown; the introduction of aniline dyes and machine-spun yarn gave birth to brilliant hues and finer stripes. Our serape blanket stays true to this classic historic style and can serve as a traditional shawl or decorative throw.

Grand Canyon – Stripe:  The mile-deep geology of Arizona’s Grand Canyon unfolds in a warm ombre of burnt umber, ochre, rust and red against a deep blue background of sky and shadow. This stripe is part of the Pendleton National Park series. Since 1916, Pendleton has offered a series of blankets honoring America’s National Parks with colors and stripes to pay homage to these treasured American landscapes. Since 2006, Pendleton and its partners have raised more than $1.5 million through the sale of Parks merchandise to support the National Park Foundation in its mission to preserve and protect the parks for future generations.

Lower Left:

Tucson – The Tucson area was originally home to the Pima tribe. A Pima legend says that in the beginning there was darkness, from which Creator emerged. He pulled a magic stick from his heart and formed a ball with its resin that grew into the Earth as he sang, “I make the world, and see, the world is finished…let it go, start it forth!” In this pattern, the magical creation stick helps bring the Earth, Stars, Moon and Sun from the darkness.

Learn More

See the Yardbird x Pendleton collection here: Yardbird x Pendleton Pillows

Learn more about Sunbrella fabrics here: Pendleton x Sunbrella

An Adirondack chair with a Pendleton and Yardbird pillow in the Harding pattern.
Blue "Born in Oregon" logo

Harding: A Pattern Through Time

A Sweetheart of a Pattern

In the twenties, thirties and forties, movie theaters were packed with fans of America’s Sweetheart, Mary Pickford (on the left in a fringed Harding shawl). She was the golden child of early American cinema, though her reputation took a big hit when she scandalously cut off her trademark golden braids. She didn’t just act. She produced, wrote, directed and marketed her films, and was one of the co-founders of United Artists. Sadly, the advent of talkies ended her acting career. Apparently, hearing Mary Pickford speak was something like reading the Tweets of your favorite celebrities. Sometimes, silence is golden.

Anita Page is on the right, in a coat that will look familiar to those of you who have watched The Portland Collection video. In that, designer Rachel Turk is slipping on a coat similar to Ms. Page’s.

Side by side photos from the 1920s of Mary Pickford and Anita Page, both in Pendleton Harding blanket garments.

Nothing would make us happier than to have Anita Page’s coat in our possession, so we ventured hopefully down to the archives to have a look:

Photo of a very ragged Harding blanket coat from the Pendleton archives.

Here is one of our oldest archival coats. It’s seen better days, but it’s beautifully made and still inspirational. The length and styling are close. The buttons differ, but buttons are usually replaced on vintage garments. But…Ms. Page’s coat had patch pockets, while ours has slash pockets. The sleeves on her coat are cuffed, while ours are hemmed. Oh well…we’re glad to have our own long Harding coat among the treasures in our archives.

Where did the Harding pattern come from?

In 1923, President Warren G. Harding  and his wife visited the Pacific Northwest to dedicate part of the old Oregon Trail. A presidential visit this far west (in a non-campaign year) was an occasion. The area’s tribal dignitaries, chiefs of the Cayuse and Umatilla tribes, asked Pendleton Woolen Mills to create a unique blanket as a special gift to the First Lady, Florence Harding.

President and First Lady Harding receive a Harding patterned throw from local tribal dignitaries in Oregon.

The weavers modified a Chief Joseph pattern and produced a fringed shawl in shades of white, tan, yellow and red. Mrs. Harding  graciously accepted the blanket, and by all accounts was delighted with her so-very-western gift.

First lady Florence Harding.

If you know your history, you know that Mrs. Harding didn’t always have the easiest time of it. We can only hope her warm Pendleton shawl offered a little comfort as the Harding presidency was rocked by scandal.

Despite that, what came to be known as the Harding pattern has been a steady part of the Pendleton line since the 1920s. We’ve used it in menswear, womenswear, accessories and blankets.

A bed made up with a Pendleton harding blanket.

From season to season, we dip back into Harding history for accessories and apparel. In 2009, a vintage Pendleton Westernwear ad image sparked our designer’s inspiration.

Two men in an advertising image from the 1980s. They are wearing Pendleton sweaters with Harding patterns.

We have no idea what these gentlemen are discussing so intently, or if they called each other the night before to coordinate their outfits. But the 2009 versions of these sweaters were solid hits. If you’re not sure whether you have the old version or the new, check the label. The newer versions will have the word “Pendleton” straight across, rather than at a slant. If “Pendleton” is at a slant, your sweater is vintage. And that is a seriously nice find.

Heritage is everywhere lately, with even the newest brands trying to connect with the past. At Pendleton Woolen Mills, we don’t have to borrow heritage, because we have our own. Thanks for sharing it with us for over a hundred years.

A young Native American woman accepts the gift of a fringed Pendleton shawl in the Harding pattern from a woman in the stands at the Pendleton Round-Up, circa 1920s