Stitch magazine – creating with fabric + thread, and Pendleton, too!

Stitch Magazine

Cover of Stitch Magazine

The latest issue of Stitch has a “Spotlight on Wool,” and Pendleton and our Woolen Mill Store are featured all through it! If you’ve ever had any questions about how to sew with wool, this issue of Stitch has the answers. From the rich history of American wool fabrics, to wool quilting and making your first wool coat, the Spotlight on Wool issue is full of project ideas, information and inspiration.

We’re lucky to have four Portland wool experts featured in this issue.

Susan Beal – “History of Wool in America” & “How Wool Fabric is Made”

Susan is a well-known quilter and crafter, whose recent book, Modern Log Cabin Quilting, features a Pendleton quilt. She is the president of Portland Modern Quilt Guild, and a frequent instructor on Wool Quilting at the Woolen Mill Store.  Her custom baby quilt design using Pendleton Wool is sold at the store. Her articles for this issue draw on her textile expertise, and we are delighted to be featured in both.

Spread in Stitch Magazine featuring the history of Pendleton's mills

Michelle Freedman – “Go-Retro Wool Quilt” project & instructions

Photo of the Go-Retro quilt project

Michelle, a quilt and pattern designer, is a graduate of Parsons The New School for Design. She loves vintage hand sewing, which inspires her modern quilt designs. She works in the Embroidery Dept at Pendleton Woolen Mill Store, teaches craft classes at the store & sews projects for us. Michelle’s Go-Retro Quilt was inspired by a 1950s Temporama coffee cup.

Pendleton Eco-Wise Wool fabrics and a vintage coffee cup

She recognized that the Eco-Wise wool color palette matched the cup’s colors. Michelle says the Eco-Wise sews like butter and swears by the ease of using wool for sewing projects, especially this darling quilt which is on its way back to the store soon for display.

Linda Turner Griepentrog – “Sewing Wool Coating”

Linda is a Contributing Editor of Stitch, and owner of G Wiz Creative Services. This article provides great information on which coating wool is best suited for your coat project, like how to match weight with weave. All the pictured wools are Pendleton.

Pendleton apparel fabrics

Linda’s Sew-and-Go Poncho on pg. 50 uses our Royal Blue Melton and Squash Eco-Wise fabrics.

Photo of the Sew n Go poncho project

Daniela Caine – “Northwest Modern Laptop Cover” project & instructions

Daniela is a fantastic pattern designer who designed this laptop cover in Pendleton jacquard and leather.

Photo of the laptop cover project

She also designed this adorable kid’s coat using our Walking Rock fabric.

Front and back views of a child's coat, modeled by an adorable little girl

Daniela’s expertise extends to quilting as well as pattern making, and she is published in Susan Beal’s Modern Log Cabin Quilting.

We are so proud of our designers and their terrific projects that showcase our Pendleton textiles. Stitch is available in our store, so stop by and get yours. As you read through the magazine, keep an eye out for the Pendleton Woolen Mill Store ad, with fabrics that will be featured on the store’s blog next week. And don’t forget the Fall Fabric Sale starting 9/4/2012 – that will be our largest fabric sale event of the year!

Made in USA label with eagle for Pendleton

PENDLETON’S WASHOUGAL MILL: 100 Years of Weaving in America

Washougal Industry

A vintage photo of Pendleton's Washougal, Washington mill.

The looms continue weaving in Washougal, Washington, as the mill celebrates 100 years as a key part of Pendleton Woolen Mills’ operations. Running three shifts a day, the mill’s 190 employees keep the dye house, looms and sewing rooms humming to produce the virgin wool fabric used in Pendleton products.

Washougal sits on the banks of the Columbia River at the entry to the scenic Columbia River Gorge. Pendleton was already operating a mill in Pendleton, Oregon, when the company acquired the Washougal mill in 1912.  The additional mill gave Pendleton the ability to weave a wider variety of fabrics. Sir Pendleton worsted and Umatilla woolen fabric are both woven in Washougal, as well as fabrics for the women’s line. “The Washougal community helped fund the startup of this mill and has supported Pendleton ever since,” said Charlie Bishop, VP of Mill Operations. In turn, the mill has been a major employer in this small Washington town since it opened.


Fabric weaving was once a major industry in the United States, with more than 800 mills in operation. Today only a handful of those mills remain. At 100 years young, the Washougal mill is thriving as a world-class facility with state-of-the-art technology and machinery. In recent decades Pendleton has added dye house computer technology, wider looms to allow for the production of king-sized blankets, additional finishing equipment, more napping machines and a team sewing system to help the Washougal mill meet the tremendous demand for made in the USA textiles. The mill has worked hard to develop environmentally friendly and compliant processes.

“Few major U.S. manufacturers weave their own fabric in America,” said Bishop, a fifth generation member of the family that founded and operates Pendleton Woolen Mills. “Because we oversee every aspect of the process, including buying the wool, we can trace back every piece we make. It allows us to maintain a standard unmatched in the industry.” Its roots may be historic, but the Washougal mill is a 300,000-square-foot model of modern efficiency. “Mill owners come from around the world to tour it,” said Bishop. “Pendleton continues to lead the world in weaving techniques, dyeing processes, and fabric finishing.”

Washougal’s Historic Bell

The Washougal mill traditionally marks important occasions by ringing a historic brass bell that sits above the boiler room. The bell was cast in 1865 in Boston, Massachusetts, at the famous Revere Foundry, founded by Revolutionary War hero Paul Revere. The bell saw service at Davis & Furber in North Andover, Massachusetts, until 1865, when it was sent by sailing ship around the horn and up to Brownsville, Oregon, the site of another Pendleton mill.

A young Clarence Morton Bishop worked at the Brownsville mill at the time. According to the Pendleton’s current president, Clarence Morton Bishop III, “There may be some letters in the Pendleton archives where the original CM Bishop laments the bell tolling him out of bed as a young boy.” Brownsville closed in 1918. The bell was given to Clarence Morton Bishop, perhaps as a souvenir of all those early mornings. He moved it to the Washougal mill, officially dedicating it in a ceremony on June 30, 1938. It still hangs there today.

The historic bell at the Washougal Mill.

“To me, sitting atop the boiler room and machine shop, that bell is the centerpiece of our mill,” said Charlie Bishop. Although the bell no longer rings out at 6:45 and 12:15 to remind workers to return to work, it still tolls on special occasions. In May 2012, the bell rang to mark the retirement of Thang Nguyen after 35 years of service. The bell will also ring in August 2012 to mark one hundred years of community and American-made quality at the Washougal Mill. To commemorate this historic milestone, Pendleton Woolen Mills, the City of Washougal, Two Rivers Heritage Museum, and Washougal Town Square are hosting a community celebration Aug. 3rd and 4th at the Mill, the Museum and in the surrounding community.


Friday, August 3:

Dedication Ceremony, 100 Year Celebration Cake Cutting, Pendleton Woolen Mills, 10 – 10:30 a.m.

  • The Blessing –  a blessing of thanks and of continued prosperity by Native American Elder Buzz Nelson
  • The Generation of Family Celebration – Honoring the multi-generations of families who have worked at the Washougal Mill, including community  families with 3 generations or more of employees, the Bishop Family (now in its 6th generation of Pendleton Woolen Mills ownership since 1863) and the Washougal family including Mayor Sean Guard.
  • Ringing of the Historic Bell* and Cutting of the 100 Year Celebration Cake (with free servings all day at the Washougal Mill Outlet Store)

Pendleton Mill Tours, mornings at 9:00 and 11:00 a.m., and afternoons at 1:30  and 3:00 pm.  Tour the Pendleton Mill to experience both the 103 years of history and the state-of-the-art looms that weave Pendleton’s famous woolen fabrics

Washougal Days Beer & Wine Garden, 5 – 11 p.m. music from 6 p.m.  Continue the celebration with music and food for everyone.  Adults 21 and over can enjoy the outdoor beer & wine garden.  Hosted by the City of Washougal.  Admission charge.

Washougal Mill Outlet Store, open 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. with specials throughout the store in addition to free cake.  Mill tours at 9 am, 10 am, 11 am and 1:30 pm.  2 Pendleton Way, Washougal, WA.  For tours: call 360-835-1118 or 800-568-2480.

 Papa’s Ice Cream,  open for the celebration from 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.

HEARTH Restaurant,  open for the celebration from 4 p.m. to close with live entertainment in the square.

Saturday, August 4:

Heritage Days 5K Run/Walk, 9 a.m. Start the day with this fun run/walk event sponsored by the Camas Lions Club and the Washougal Lions Club. Admission is free; donations accepted.

Kids & Kritters Parade,  Pendleton Fields, 20th and A Streets, 10 a.m.  Kids (and their parents & grandparents) and “Kritters” of all shapes and sizes are welcome to join the parade. Come a few minutes ahead to get a number and position in line.

 Two Rivers Heritage Museum, 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Camas Washougal Historical Society will host its annual Heritage Day celebration and fund raiser at TwoRiversMuseum which includes free admission to the museum, craft booths, blacksmithing demonstration and mountain men setting up a camp with black powder demonstrations. Museum tours include collection of antique sewing baskets and quilts, old tools, blacksmith forge, a horse drawn sleigh and a doctor’s buggy. Enter to win prizes, including a Pendleton Blanket.

Equestrian Demonstrations, Pendleton Woolen Mills, 1 – 2 p.m.   This event will include presentation of the US Flag and National Anthem, equestrian drill teams and pony cart demonstrations.

Washougal Days Beer & Wine Garden, ReflectionPlaza, 5 – 11 p.m., with music from 6 p.m.  Continue the celebration with music and food for everyone.  Adults 21 and over can enjoy the outdoor beer & wine garden.

The Pendleton Mill Store at Washougal, Washington.

Washougal Mill Outlet Store and Mill Tours, open 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.  with specials throughout the store and tours at the mill next door. The mill is open to the public for tours year-round. Visitors can see (and hear) the entire process that transforms giant bales of scoured wool into Pendleton’s “Warranted to Be” textiles. To learn more about public tours, visit  The mill is located at 2 Pendleton Way, Washougal, WA, 98671.

Crossroads: Where it All Comes Together

Vintage Excitement

When an especially unique vintage Pendleton garment comes through our design areas, it can cause a stir. It’s like a new baby. People from other divisions come to visit, photos circulate in email, and everyone asks a lot of questions. What was it called? When was it made? And most importantly, what will we do with it?

A jacquard coat that came to the sewing room of the Men’s division was no exception. The Crossroads pattern was bold and dramatic, and the coloration was unique. Menswear decided to bring it back, so Fabric Design got to work redesigning and coloring the pattern. Womenswear and Home saw the possibilities…and that’s how a corporate jacquard is born.

Pendleton products that use the Crossrads pattern; a vest, blanket and sweater

What’s a “corporate jacquard”?

At Pendleton, a corporate jacquard is interpreted across Home, Women’s and Men’s offerings. Most items carry a hangtag that tells the pattern’s story, like this one for Crossroads:

The Crossroads design reflects First Nations teachings and the power of the four directions – the number “four” is sacred among many Native American tribes. East represents the physical body, the realm of the Warrior. West represents the heart and the path of the Visionary. North is the region of the mind and the wisdom of the Teacher. South represents the spirit, enlightenment and the realm of the Healer. Balance and harmony are achieved where the directions meet at the center of the Medicine Wheel. Crosses in this jacquard pattern symbolize the crossroads where the paths meet – the place where an individual becomes whole.

The Home offerings  are done in grey and tan with dark red accents. There is furniture and more. The blanket  is extraordinarily beautiful, and the centered cross element makes for a dramatic wool sham. The knit merino wool throw and oversized, feather-filled knit merino pillow  are new styles for Pendleton this year.

The Pendleton Corssroads blankets  and pillows

Womenswear works the contemporary Navajo-inspired trend in a traditional duster coat in a generously sized version of Crossroads. We used the same scale and color in the Riata Vest, and the pattern explodes in the knit Wildwood Wrap Cardigan.  A smaller-scale woven version in both blue/black and black/tan adds some drape and swing to the Crossroads separates; a skirt, jacket  and poncho.

Women's clothing that uses the crossroads pattern

Menswear has the pattern throughout the line, including a shawl collar cardigan, hats, mufflers, bags  (like this Weekender, coming to later this fall) and some outstanding outerwear.

Men's products that use the Crossroads patttern

But the true piece de resistance is the new version of the original coat . We changed the design a little, sleeked it up. It’s a piece of the past, reworked for now. This will be available at our website  starting 10/01/11.

Men's coat in crossroads pattern

Everything Crossroads can be found here with more to come as the weather gets colder…oh, wait.

You want to see the original coat?

Well here it is. It’s at least thirty years old, maybe forty. And since it’s a Pendleton, it still looks amazing.

Vintage men's coat in the Crossroads pattern by Pendleton

And that’s one beautiful baby…

What’s Brewing Around Here? Pendleton Perks, That’s What.

A photo of the Pendleton Perks customer loyalty reward card, with the words, "Introducing Pendleton Perks"

A new way to save

You have a wallet full of them, but you’ll want to hold on to ours. Your Pendleton Perks card offers even more buzz than your local coffeehouse.

It’s pretty simple. When you purchase $100 in merchandise from our retail shops, we’ll give you a stamp. These little stamps will eventually earn you $50.00 to redeem the next time you shop.

Sign up already!

We’ll be running double stamp events and special appreciation events, so what are you waiting for?

Pendleton Perks: It’s not just for lattes anymore.

Another photo of the Pendleton Perks card, with the words, "It's easy. For every $100 purchase, you'll receive a stamp on your Pendleton Perks card. COllect 10 stamps and you'll receive a $50 gift card to use on your next visit."

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