Pendleton Blankets Tell Stories
This month, as the Pendleton Round-Up approaches, we want to highlight some of the blankets that are so important to our company history. These are jacquard blankets, also known as Trade blankets, for their key role in early trading post transactions. These geometric patterns take their name from the jacquard looms on which they’re woven.
The story of Oregon is also our story. Our weaving legacy’s founder, Thomas Kay, arrived in Oregon in 1863, the same year it was recognized as a state. Here are some distinctively Pendleton blankets that celebrate Oregon’s landmarks, landscapes, and history.
The Oregon Blankets
In 1834, stories of the Western frontier drew a Massachusetts inventor named Nathaniel Wyeth to the Oregon territories. The Wyeth Trail did not lead its namesake to fame and fortune, but his path endured to become part of the Oregon Trail’s 2,170 miles. With a balanced pattern of peaks, this pattern shows a perilous trail passing through dry plains, fertile valleys, and pristine rivers, surrounded on both sides by the beautiful mountain ranges of Oregon.
Wyeth Trail is available in twin, Queen, and King. See it here in Oxford (shown) and the original Wheat: Wyeth Trail
The towering face of Smith Rock overlooks a bend in Oregon’s Crooked River, challenging climbers from around the world to scale its heights. Considered by many to be the birthplace of American sport climbing, Smith Rock State Park offers several thousand climbs, many of them bolted, in its 650 acres of high peaks, deep river canyons, and hiking trails like Misery Ridge. This pattern, based on a traditional nine-element blanket, alternates the park’s peaks with the many paths traveled by hikers and climbers.
Smith Rock is available in twin, Queen, and King sizes. (King shown). In the twin size, it is a perfect nine element pattern, one of the oldest and most popular types of Trade blankets. See your options here: Smith Rock
Agate, a banded form of chalcedony, formed billions of years ago in volcanic pockets. In the cooler seasons of the year, storms and waves dislodge agates from gravel beds along the Oregon shoreline. Beachcombers and rock hounds search for stones that range in color from inky black, to vivid fire tones, to rare and valuable blues, to soft greys and misty pinks. In this pattern, striated stones emerge from a sandy background to glow softly under Oregon’s gentle skies.
Agate Beach has a whipstitch binding. It is available in Twin, and a beautiful wool throw. See it here: Agate Beach
Siskiyou is said to be Chinook Jargon for a bob-tailed horse, lost on a trip over this 100-mile mountain range on the Oregon/California border. When Native riders set out to find the horse, they gave range and pass this enduring name. In this pattern, the Siskiyou Mountains are flanked by the two watersheds they divide; the Rogue and Klamath rivers. Repeating peaks represent the diverse flora, which spans coastal to Cascadian with Coast Redwood, Alaska Yellow-Cedar and Pacific Silver Fir.
Siskyou is available in our original twin/robe size only. See it here: Siskiyou
The central motif of this pattern represents Bridge Creek, a sometimes calm, sometimes tempestuous waterway that runs through the center of Mitchell, Oregon. This tiny town once held a thriving business district with rollicking saloons known as “Tiger Town,” and a hillside residential area known as “Piety Hill.” Today, Mitchell welcomes travelers to geological landmarks in Eastern Oregon; the John Day Fossil Beds and the Painted Hills, both represented by complex bands of patterns.
Bridge Creek is available in our original twin/robe size. See it here: Bridge Creek
In Oregon’s Western Cascades, Pilot Rock rises thousands of feet above the Rogue and Shasta Valleys. The area’s original Native American inhabitants, the Takelma, called it Tan-ts’at-seniphtha, or Stone Standing Up. In its shadow, the Takelma (“those along the river”) built villages of semi-subterranean homes. Netting, hunting and foraging allowed the Takelma to live harmoniously along the Rogue River. Arrows represent salmon swimming into nets, and large baskets overflow with abundant acorns and camas.
Pilot Rock is a classic nine element pattern. It is available in our original twin/robe size. See it here: Pilot Rock
In central Oregon, Diamond Peak shows the marks of time. Rising to 8,748 feet, it was carved by glaciers into a range of mountainous subfeatures: Mount Yoran, Lakeview Mountain, and dramatic cinder cones. This slumbering shield volcano has not erupted in 10,000 years, making it dormant, perhaps extinct. The pattern’s peaks and valleys echo the landscape, part of the Pacific Crest Trail and ancestral territory of many Oregon tribes, including the Klamath, Modoc and Yahooskin peoples.
Diamond Peak is available in our original twin/robe size. See it here: Diamond Peak
Another Western Story
Pendleton, Oregon is a true Western town. It is known for the Round-Up, of course, but it is also home to the original Pendleton Woolen Mill, where we weave these famed blankets. If you’re planning a trip, please pay us a visit. You can take a mill tour (information here: Pendleton Mill Tours) as you partake everything that the city of Pendleton offers. We would love to see you.