Pendleton Sweaters–an alternative to the blanket for outdoor dining

Dining Out Warmly

Look, we are the first to extol the virtues of BYOB (Bring Your Own Blanket) dining in these unusual times, when many of us find ourselves dining out in January while REALLY dining out–outside! And for that very purpose, we are huge fans of our Roll-Up blanket: nylon-backed Pendleton wool with sturdy built-in straps and carrying handle. (You can see it by clicking here: Roll-Up Blanket). But we also want you to consider a hardy wool sweater. It’s an actual garment, meaning you can move your arms easily, and stand up and sit down without a lot of rearrangement. You’ll also look amazing.

Pendleton Sweaters

In lambswool, merino, Shetland and alpaca, our sweaters provide warmth in a distinctly Pendleton way. Patterns drawn from our blankets are translated into knits by isolating and enlarging key motifs, like the dramatic Rock Point medallion, or the familiar cross from the Harding pattern. Use of these patterns can be subtle, for borders or Fair Isle type designs, or big, bold, and beautiful. Varying weights, lengths, collars, sleeve styles—even the stitch patterns used—mean there’s a sweater for any kind of weather. When the days get shorter, the evening temperatures drop, especially when the skies are clear. A wool sweater chases away the chill.

Dude, may we suggest?

Pendleton Westerley Cardigan

We are going to claim it: the most famous sweater in pop culture is the Pendleton Westerley Cardigan. It was originally part of Pendleton’s western line, and gained an enduring fan base when worn by Jeff Bridges as The Dude in “The Big Lebowski.” 

But the Westerley is more than the Dude’s sweater. It’s durable and warm enough to be considered outerwear, and the pattern has staying power. In fact, it uses one of the oldest patterns there is: A meander or meandros, also called the “Greek fret” or “Greek key.” We change up the original colorway from year-to-year, just as we did from the beginning. Investigation of Pendleton line lists from the seventies reveal at lease eight different color combinations. See what’s going on with the Westerley here: The Original Westerley Cardigan

And for her? Of course, a woman can wear any Westerley she wants to (and so can a man). We have a Westerley that’s cut longer, with a top and bottom zip, that’s been a bestseller since its introduction. Here it is in one of those cool alternate colorways we’ve been talking about. It’s also available in the traditional tan and brown. See it here: Long Westerley

A model sits on a barstool, wearing a Long Westerley Cardigan by Pendleton

Fisherman’s Sweaters

Sweaters are knitted in the traditional Aran style have had a resurgence, thanks to the sweater worn by Chris Evans in the movie “Knives Out.” Both the movie and the sweater were so popular that the Alamo Drafthouse movie theater started hosting “sweaters only” viewings of the “Knives Out” movie. Is this the next Westerley?

A wool fisherman's sweater with a cabled stitch design by Pendleton.

Aran stitches create the designs found in cabled Fisherman’s sweaters. Why would a fisherman wear a wool sweater? For a lot of reasons! Wool can absorb about 30% of its weight in water before feeling wet, making these sweaters ideal for fishermen. Aran stitches are said to have symbolic meanings: 

Cables: Fishermen’s ropes

Blackberry: Nature, or the Holy Trinity

Moss: Abundance and growth

Honeycomb: Luck and a bountiful catch

Lattice or Basket: Another omen of a good catch

Ladder of Life, Tree of Life: Stages of life, or a pilgrimage

Plaited or braided: Interwoven strands of a long, shared life

Diamonds: The shape of a mesh fishing net, success and wealth.

The patterns varied from knitter to knitter, and the sweaters were so distinctive when bodies of fishermen washed up on the beach after an accident at sea, the sweaters helped families identify them. That’s ghoulish and interesting, and a testament to the Aran knitters.  See the Pendleton versions here:

Fisherman’s Sweater, pullover Fisherman’s Sweater, Cardigan

There are so many options. We’ve only scratched the surface of Pendleton’s sweater offerings. So head over to Pendleton-usa.com to see what we have for men and women, and what we have on sale right now! Because your friends are waiting for your company outside and under the stars, and a warm wool sweater is one way to join them…safely.

Shelter Bay – Where it All Comes Together

Bed with Shelter bay Pendleton blanket. Blanket is brown with navy, tan and red stripes, and large tan central cross, with smaller crossed in corners.

Introducing Shelter Bay

One of our more popular 2019 blanket introductions is Shelter Bay (see more information here: Shelter Bay).

Shelter Bay

Shelter Bay sits in the upper corner of the Pacific Northwest, where the North Fork of the Skagit River empties into Washington State’s Puget Sound. This place of teeming waters and temperate weather invites wanderers to experience the great outdoors; camping by the shore, paddling a kayak, sitting by a campfire telling stories that drift up into the starry night sky. An earthtone background lit by luminous directional crosses represents the balanced, harmonious meeting of ocean, bay, land and sky in Shelter Bay.

This blanket is a unique combination of two popular designs. The first is the motif adapted from our San Miguel blanket (click to see it here: San Miguel). We enlarged the cross, and used it on a heathered ground that’s a derived from our popular Yakima Camp Blankets (see them here: Camp blankets). These attractive utilitarian blankets were based on the ombre-striped bedrolls used by cattle hands and shepherds. During the day, they were rolled tightly and fastened to saddles or packs. At night, they were unrolled for sleeping under the stars.

two beds in a log building by a window. Beds are covered with Pendleton Yakima Camp blankets, one green with stripes, one red with stripes.

Camp Blankets

Our camp blankets were originally woven from spare mill goods, and their heathered beauty was almost accidental, as it was derived from mill waste–yarn leftovers. Now, the blankets are part of the regular mill production schedule, and are woven according to an exacting weaver’s recipe. What’s that? A recipe is a specific combinations of yarns that produces a specific textile. Everything about the yarn, down to the sheep from which it originates, factors into the final result.

Our heathered blankets are popular, and we’ve been using them as inspiration in more than just the camp blanket line. Last year, we debuted the Olympic National Park Blanket in a grey heather with stripes. Like the Camp blankets, this one is the same on both sides.

But as the upper right corner of the photo below shows you, Shelter Bay is a little fancier. It’s woven on a jacquard loom, and the reverse is tan with earth-tone crosses. This gives you two dramatically different looks in one beautiful blanket.

Shelter_Bay_Blanket

Accessories and more

Shelter Bay is more than just a beautiful bedding group. We adapted the design for an accessories group. Some of the pieces use the stripe, others use the cross, and some use both. See what’s available at our website: Shelter Bay Accessories

Pendleton bag, scar and hat sitting on a wooden table against a shiplap background.

And if that’s still not enough Shelter Bay for you, check out this beautiful cardigan sweater. It’s a lambswool blend, and has cool forearm patches.

man wearing brown pendleton cardigan standing in front of lake

See it here: Shelter Bay Cardigan

The weather has changed, and you’re ready for wool. That’s a favorite time of year around here, so we want to wish you a happy Fall from Pendleton.

 

Happy Birthday to The Big Lebowski – wearing the Westerley sweater for 20 years, Dude

The Big Lebowski” turns twenty this year, and Dude, we still love it.

The Big Lebowski

Two decades ago, this Coen brothers film was released to low to middling success, but quietly grew into a cult favorite. No one can pinpoint the exact reason why. Was it Donny’s clueless questions? Walter’s chin-strap beard? The German nihilists? The dream sequence scored by Kenny Rogers and the First Edition?

A movie poster for "The Big Lebowski."

Well, it was probably a grand confluence of all of these important factors, plus the masterful turn taken by Jeff Bridges as The Dude. He staggers in and out of trouble, wearing alternately sweats, shorts, pajama pants, a bathrobe, a purple t-shirt and a battered Westerley cardigan.

Jeff Bridges as Jeff Lebowski, AKA "The Dude," sits at the bolwing alley bar with a white Russian in front of him.

Jeff Bridges wore his own clothes for this role, and though there were two sweaters hand-knitted as back-ups, he preferred wearing his personal Pendleton Westerley.

Original History

You may know it as The Dude’s cardigan or the Big Lebowski sweater, but we debuted the Westerley cardigan in 1974 as part of our High Grade Westernwear line.

The Westerley drew inspiration from beautiful Cowichan sweaters that are hand-knit by Pacific Northwest tribes. Our version was machine-knitted by Winona Knitting Mills of Minnesota, a two-facility company owned by the Woodworth family. Winona Mills was one of the very few USA knitting mills who offered a 2gg knit, a term meaning only two knit stitches per inch. A 2gg sweater is heavy enough to work as outerwear. As the long-time leader of our menswear division expressed it, “You could wear it in a monsoon, and you’d stay warm.”

The vintage Westerley was knit in 3gg, and it was almost as impressive as the 2gg for thickness and warmth. The Westerley was one cozy sweater. We offered it in the western, outdoor and casual lines for over ten years. Over its run of production, the zip front, ring zipper pull and shawl collar stayed the same, as did the Greek key-inspired pattern. Archival visits show that the Westerley’s color variations are surprisingly wide.

A collage of six photos of vintage Westerley cardignas in a variety of color combinations.

The sweater went out of production in the 1980s, but found the limelight in the early 2000s, thanks to an obscure movie that didn’t stay obscure.

The First Revivals

Pendleton’s first run at reproducing the “Big Lebowski sweater” came in the Fall of 2011. The Dude Cardigan was not an exact replica. It had the weight and coloration of the original Westerley, with a slightly different knit pattern and a leather zipper pull. This homage sweater generated an enormous amount of publicity, especially because the sweater worn by Jeff Bridges in the movie was going to auction that same year. The provenance of the auction sweater came into question and it was withdrawn from auction. Pendleton’s version sold out almost immediately.

A man in a "Dude" sweater, the first remake of the Westerley. A collage of two photos--one is an ad run by Pendleton in the 1980s that features the tan, red and black version of the Westerley. Next to it is a Pendleton promo photo of a man wearing a remake of this version, leaning against a fence.

In Fall 2013, we brought back the sweater in the original 3gg knit under the Westerley name. We went to the archives, and settled on two versions: a cream with red and black pattern, and a desert brown version with navy and gold pattern.

We offered the Westerley in another archival coloration in charcoal and blue early in the fall of 2014.  These were all great Westerleys. They were beautifully made and selling well to fans of traditional menswear. We stand behind these Westerleys! But this was not the sweater the Achievers wanted, and the Achievers would not be denied.

The Original Westerley Returns

We went back to the archives and studied the movie to capture the coloration as best we could for the version known as The Original Westerley.

The Pendleton Westerley cardigan in tan and brown.

This is 100% lambswool in 3gg knit, and it’s ready to take you through your next monsoon, or maybe to your next Lebowskifest. We restored the original stitch pattern to the placket, and attached a small bowling pin keychain. We think it really pulls the sweater together.

A man sits in a rocking chair on the porch of an oder home, holding a book and wearing a Pendleton Westerley cardigan sweater.

The Dude abides. And so does his sweater. Come see us in our stores, or order online before they’re gone. And on 3/6/2018, the actual date of the movie’s release, the sweater is 20% off. We never do this! So get yours now–here.

Shop the Westerley Sweater

Jeff Bridges relaxes in his kitchen, wearing pajama pants, purple T-shirt, moccasins and his Westerley sweater and holding a phone receiver in his hand.

Because some things just get better with age.

 

 

 

GQ: “Jeff Bridges will be “The Dude’ Now and Forever” (thanks to his sweater)

The Dude Himself

This week,  GQ.com is featuring everyone’s favorite Dude, Jeff Bridges.  He’s wearing a banquet of sweaters, a feast of sweaters, or maybe it’s a flock of sweaters.

Of course the standout is the Westerley Cardigan.

Jeff Bridges in his kitchen, from GQ.com

Photo courtesy GQ.com

We think you should go read this. But that’s just our opinion. And if you are reading this blog post between 9/22/201 and 9/25/2017, you can save 25% off the Westerley with the code “FAMILY”.

Five myths about wool, debunked

Have you heard about wool?

Ever decided not to buy a wool item because it was itchy or dry clean only? Good news: Thanks to fabric innovations, wool is better than ever, and some old myths about wool aren’t true anymore. Read on to learn the truth about wool.

A young woman and a husky dog stand ni a field of tall grass.

Myth #1: Wool is scratchy.

Admittedly, some wool is softer than others. Rough, scratchy wool exists, but so does silky, fluffy wool that feels wonderful next to your skin. It all depends on quality, the type of sheep, and how the wool is spun. Some of the nicest, softest wool is superfine merino.

A woman sits at a table with a latte and a pair of mittens.

Merino wool (from merino sheep) is famous for being smooth and luxurious. The fibers are very fine—thinner than human hair! It is wonderful woven or in knitted accessories, like the mittens above.

But quality matters: The best merino is virgin wool (not recycled) from healthy, happy sheep (yes, that makes a difference!). Finally, wool is softer when it’s worsted. That means the fibers are long, smooth and parallel, rather than fibers of different sizes in different directions.

For Pendleton’s softest wool, try our 5th Avenue throws. They’re woven of superfine virgin merino and incredible to snuggle up with!

A baby reads a book with mom.

And men should try our Sir Pendleton wool shirts, made of worsted merino for a refined feel. A mile of yarn goes into each one! These aren’t the itchy wool shirts of the past.

A man takes a break from splitting wood to kiss his yellow lab dog.

Myth #2: Putting wool in the washing machine ruins it.

This is true of some wool, but not all. Many people have accidentally shrunk wool sweaters in the washer, not knowing that heat and agitation cause felting. The spin cycle mats the wool fibers together, bonding them. This video explains:

Thankfully, some wool can go in your washing machine! Our Eco-Wise Wool blankets and throws undergo an anti-felting treatment, so not only are they washable, but they get softer with every wash. This treatment prevents the fibers from locking together and felting. Now you don’t have to run to the dry cleaner whenever your wool blanket needs refreshing!

Myth #3: 100% pure wool is better than wool blends.

In some cases, it’s true—a sweater that’s 100% merino wool will be nicer than one that’s mostly acrylic or polyester with only 5% wool.

A woman stands in a shop holding a toy stuffed lamb.

Wool sweaters are cozy and comfortable and a lot less likely to pill or fuzz. And a high wool content makes for a wonderfully warm blanket that naturally keeps the heat in on cold nights. But sometimes 100% wool isn’t ideal. Wool socks are more comfortable with a little stretch, so nylon or spandex is often added.

a baby sits on a Pendleton child's blanket.

Pendleton baby blankets are mostly pure virgin wool with a bit of cotton to keep them soft and fluffy (they’re also napped for a cozy feel).

A baby sits on a Pendleton blanket.

Myth #4: Wool is heavy and bulky.

This depends on the breed of sheep. For example, wool from Icelandic sheep is rugged and coarse, often used to make carpet. In contrast, wool from the Rambouillet breed—a relative of merino sheep—is very fine, perfect for soft, silky clothing. Fabric innovations have made wool lighter, like Pendleton’s Wool-Lin fabric. It’s pure virgin wool that feels like linen but doesn’t wrinkle nearly as easily. (Perfect for spring suiting.)

Myth #5: Pendleton only makes wool blankets.

grace_adams_10_2015_home_f15-7While Pendleton is perhaps best known for our first product, wool blankets, we began to branch out into apparel in 1927 with our first men’s shirts. Our line has grown to include wool sweaters, shirts, blazers, skirts, accessories and much more. We also use other natural fibers, such as silk and cotton, for comfortable, quality clothing year-round.

So there you have it! Any other questions about wool? Ask us in the comments below!

Thanks to the wonderful Grace Adams for her Brand Ambassador photography.

See more of her work here: Grace Adams Photography   

And follow her on Instagram here: @grace_adams